Wasn’t it just wonderful? There were so many changes occurring all at the same time.
Remember your first period? Did you think, “Oh God! Am I going to have to put up with this mess for the rest of my life?” Wasn’t it inconvenient to have to have pads or tampons on hand all the time? And didn’t your periods interfere with your fun at times?
Oh, and let’s not forget the acne that mortified you every time you needed to look your best.
What about hair growth. Suddenly, you had to constantly groom the hair on your legs, in your armpits, and in your crotch. The upkeep never seemed to end.
Of course, there were also the interesting emotional changes: mood swings, irritability, even depression. Do you remember thinking that no one understood you?
And what did puberty do for your interpersonal relationships, especially with your parents? Did they think your puberty was a breeze? I’ll be that some aspects of your puberty were worse for them than they were for you!
Don’t you sometimes look back on all the chaos your puberty created and wonder how you and your family ever got through it?
Well, I know the answer. You all got through it because your parents knew what puberty was ahead of time. They were prepared for it. They were patient with it. And, despite the fact that you thought no one understood you, they probably understood you better than you understood yourself.
Even if you were clueless and clumsy, your parents stayed the course. Not only that. All of society knew how to recognize puberty and give you a little slack. There was a collective consciousness that paved the way for you and made it as easy for you as possible. Everyone talked about puberty. People shared experiences about puberty. There were special services and community events that targeted puberty.
Can you imagine what your puberty would have been like if nary a sole had known what puberty entailed?
What would have happened if your parents hadn’t understood? What if they had no clue about puberty? How do you think things would have turned out?
Well fast forward to peri-menopause. Instead of being 13, you’re 50. And guess what? You’re going to experience all that awkward physical, emotional, and social chaos all over again!
And that’s because menopause is puberty in reverse.
When you think about it that way, it makes perfect sense. Puberty is the “On” switch to your reproductive life. Menopause is the “Off” switch. It’s all the same stuff at opposite ends of the reproductive portion of your life.
Puberty is when your periods begin; menopause is when they end.
Puberty is when you begin producing estrogen; menopause is when you stop producing estrogen.
Puberty marks the time when you can start getting pregnant; menopause marks the time when you can no longer get pregnant.
Puberty is when you have a growth spurt; menopause is when you start to shrink.
Puberty and menopause are opposites in many ways. But, Mother Nature is both magical and mystical. There are many aspects of puberty and menopause that mimic one another even though they’re at opposite ends of the reproductive spectrum.
Both involve all sorts of physical changes … with your breasts, vagina, skin, hair, and weight.
Both entail similar emotional changes … with your mood, sense of calm, level of patience (or lack thereof).
Both are fraught with social conflicts … with your parents, your children, your husband.
Puberty and menopause are similar in ways that seem quite logical.
But there’s one striking difference between the two that is completely illogical: Most people are clueless about menopause! Women, men, and children are all unprepared, uneducated, and uncomfortable with menopause.
How can that be? How can puberty be so familiar and socially acceptable and menopause be so elusive and socially shunned?
It just doesn’t’ make sense.
Can you imagine how different your menopause would be if you were prepared for it, educated about it, and comfortable with it?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your family expected it and embraced it with the same patience and support they embraced your puberty?
How can it be that the same process, going in opposite directions, causes people to react so differently?
We need to reverse this.
Just as Mother Nature has created menopause as puberty in reverse, we need to reverse our hang-ups about menopause and embrace it as puberty’s older Sister. Not the evil older sister. Not the wicked step-sister. Just the loving, caring, nurturing older sister. Isn’t that what every pubertal girl deserves?