People don’t talk or write very much about the menopause. Is it still a bit taboo? Of course we can name it now, and refer to it in passing, but we do seem reluctant to dwell on it in public. After all, if you get a group of women of a certain age together, they are very likely to talk about it – and laugh a lot too – which suggests there are things bottled up.
Of course rather than being taboo, it might be just that menopause bores most people. There isn’t much for men to relate to – they might get drawn into childbirth and child rearing, but they have a vested interest in getting that right – what stake do they have in the end of a reproductive life? Younger women are too busy coping with being reproductive (or trying not to be reproductive) – on the approach, menopause just looks like a heaven-sent rest.
And a heaven-sent rest it remains, until it hits you. And then rest certainly seems to be impossible. All night long, first ragingly hot, then freezing cold: there is no duvet made by man that can handle the nightly temperature range of a menopausal woman. In the middle of the working day, you suddenly absolutely have to tear off the sweater you had huddled into moments before. The evening is punctuated by similar frantic efforts to disrobe, to the unsympathetic amusement of watching family. And then the mood swings, by turns sentimental, raging, bored and demoralised. Not a serene middle age – as I hoped – nor particularly dignified.
It makes me feel old, reaching menopause. I have always said that old is good – now I am going to have to live by my words.