A – Z Challenge……. M is for……


menopause – a state that in spite of my advancing years I’ve not reached yet.

I’m the only one of my friends, including some years younger,  still carting  “hardware” around in my handbag.

When I was a teenager we referred to the “hardware” in code as either minties for tampons or sandwiches for pads. (“Do you have any spare minties?”).   I was not allowed to use tampons, and I did not want to spend my pocket money on a necessity, so I obeyed my mother until I wore her down with the “all my friends are using tampons”  argument.

So, initially it was the awful “sanitary belt” and pads for me – you had to wear really tight undies to keep those pads straight!  I was pretty excited when Sanitary Panties made it to our middle-of-nowhere-town’s supermarket!  These “special” panties came with a big waterproof zone and attachments to hook the pad into.   I remember most things being Modess then and I was given a booklet like one of these  – maybe the 1970 edition unless there was an unlisted one between 1964 and then.

In those days the  “supplies”  were hidden in some dark recess of the store and when you got to the checkout they were whisked quickly into a brown paper bag.  If the packer was a male the checkout chick would do it to avoid the embarrassment of  him having to touch them – and  you were grateful for that if the boy was in your class at school!

If I complained about any of the messy issues my mother would tell me of life in her girl’s boarding school where they were given re-usable “rags”.  Once used they were put into a bucket to soak and would then be washed and redistributed!!

The average age of menopause  is 51 years (though the range is 40-60).    Later this month I will be 54.  As female family history is an indicator I asked my mother when she thought she might have finished with the entire girlie thing.  She told me where she was living when she thinks that happened.  I said “jeez mum, that would’ve made you 60 years old!”.       I really hope her memory is wrong!!



28 responses

  1. Odd you should pick this for M. I was at the gym today and the cleaning lady was asking me all about her symptoms and if they could be caused by Menopause. I had to admit…I really have no idea. I really need ot get more educated!

  2. God, I remember those those belts! Uncomfortable during a most uncomfortable time!

    I believe beginning and ending times are hereditary. Mother began early (10 y.o.) as did I, but she doesn’t quite remember when the madness stopped, maybe 55-57, so I have a few years left. So stupid for me to wait, as I’ve made it obvious that I will not be making any use of any lady plumbing, thanks for the thought.

  3. Oh, this post brings back so many memories, most of them bad, lol! Those belts and the pads with the long “strings” were the worst. I remember turning red when my brother asked why a girl would wear a jockstrap. The Modess pads came with those little bags for disposing of them, which I think would still come in handy: wrapping a used pad in its old packaging really doesn’t do it.

    At 55 I’m now at the on-and-off stage. My period comes back usually when I’m getting ready to travel somewhere or attend a big event that requires dressing up, and it returns with a vengeance—on my flight to New York, I had to carry almost a whole box of tampons and pads, and it was a misery to change in an airplane restroom. Now that I don’t have to go anywhere, I’m off, of course. It’ll be a relief if it’s off for good, but I’m willing to bet as soon as I need to travel or dress up….!

  4. Ooo, dear, I remember those pads like surf boards!

    After various medical issues to do with my lady parts, I was very glad indeed to get rid of them at the age of 45 when I smugly distributed my supplies amongst girlfriends. I found that conventional HRT made me ill, but have found Femarelle to be brilliant for the hormonal symptoms; I occasionally get the odd hot flush (or ‘power surge’ as I call them) which pokes through the defences, but it’s mostly brilliant.

  5. Oh, I remember sanitary belts. I used them with home made cloth pads until I changed to tampons. Ugh, memories! I’m so glad I’m now past menopause and all that fuss is just a memory.

  6. “Growing up and linking it” (the name of one of those booklets)…WTF! LOL! I reckon I have entered the menopause zone, and I am very happy about it if that is the case. I have been taking the flaxseed and it does seem to have helped some. I am also taking royal jelly on days I feel blah-ish.
    I feel for you, if it does not come till 60. I will be so very glad to be rid of periods. And the worry of getting pregnant. Such a hassle.

  7. LOL! Great topic! And I applaud the two guys who were brave enough to read….even if just a little!

    Ah, the good old days. Holy crap, what a pain in the arse!!! I certainly didn’t miss any of my “equipment” once I had it all removed in 2004. Nine fibroid tumors and adenomyositis and ovarian blood cysts. (that’s what they told me after. I said “yeah, that’s what it felt like”)
    Lol about pads and belts and “becoming a woman”. Nowadays girls only have to have 4 periods a year. I hope this doesn’t cause problems that no one has found out about yet…but for now, enjoy these days, girls!

    • LOL! Yes! Kudos to the men, it’s not easy to talk about, but women sure do appreciate guys who have the cajones to stay around for the discussion.

  8. I’m 52 and, like you, am about the only one I know who still hauls around hardware. These days I haul it around all the time because I can’t afford to be caught without it. There’s no one left to bum a spare from!!

  9. I was hoping that M would stand for M—–l and you’d tell the story of how we met and ate brunch with Homey and Cranky. Oh well, I guess menopause is cool.

  10. Mom was telling us all about her physical issues again this weekend (*sigh*) and she worked it out that she wasn’t completely finished with her menopause until her late 50s. (*double sigh*)

    But I guess one good thing is that she also says she did not have big problems with hot flashes and all that. And I *know* she’s never been one to suffer in silence.

  11. Love this post. I dunno, I think that my (*tries to think of appropriate term for mixed company) womanly ways keep me feeling young and vital. Remember when we were teens and it first started? Oh, the horror! But I was surrounded by strong women who made me feel proud to be part of the “club”, LOL

  12. Emjay, you just brought back some memories. My sisters and I used to write to the feminine hygiene companies for their booklets. I clicked on the link you provided and saw one of the ones we had.

  13. Good luck in reaching menopause, I have made it almost a full year 3 times and than you guessed it off to the hardware store for supplies. Ugh! I am the only one in my family to take so long, most were changed by 45 my mother and grandmother both at 37 so here I am 56 and still wondering hey when is it going to be my time? This post is great.

  14. Good grief! Reusable rags…. Just the thought. Am I glad that I could quit the pads rather quickly and go over to tampons. Because the first years of my period I was bleeding like a slaughtered pig, and the pads weren’t able to keep that contained.

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