Do you remember when you were young and got "the talk" from your mom or another adult? No matter who talked you or where they decided to do it, you probably remember the whole thing with crystal clarity — learning about how you'd get your period, what it would feel like, and how, even if it felt strange or unpleasant, it was a natural part of life.
Or maybe you didn't get it from an adult — maybe you got it at school, or from an older sibling, or from reading "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," after lights out. Whatever way it happened, you were prepared for what was coming.
But why is there no "talk" between mothers and daughters (or aunts and nieces) about menopause?
Much like puberty, menopause is a huge hormonal shift — though one that that signals the end of our childbearing years, rather than the start. For some, it's relatively easy; for others, the severity of symptoms, the confusion, and the maelstrom of feelings can hit like sixteen-wheeler truck. It can cause a cascade of "second puberty" symptoms (acne, sexual issues, mood swings, to name a few)...so why didn't anyone tell us what to expect as we entered our middle years?
Many of us learned about it the hard way and entered into it blindly, with little to no information about what was happening to our bodies and minds. We pieced together advice from friends and magazine articles, and hoped our doctors could guide us through it.
When we started Adulted, our mission was for our generation to be the last to whisper about menopause. No more guessing, myths, and fears.
So in that spirit, we asked our readers, members of our Hot Spot community, and people like you what they wish they learned before it hit:
"What do you would want to tell our daughters about menopause?"
."..that I'd still be dealing with it at 10 years and counting." - Sherill B., via Stripes - Midlife & Menopause Community
"...that it can begin before the age of 40, and that it can take a lot of effort to convince your primary care provider that it really is happening (and obtain the appropriate care/support/treatment). And night sweats 😩" - Nova F., via Stripes - Midlife & Menopause Community
"... that's it's not always dramatic. Sometimes it's a non-event. There's a lot of grifting and pseudoscience around it so stick to scientifically-backed sources of information." - @leelacorman
"...if you have symptoms and if your doctor isn't listening or hearing you, then you need to find a new doctor." - S. Mae, via Stripes - Midlife & Menopause Community
"You are the only one who lives in this body. You know it more than anyone ever will. ALL of your feelings are valid, so if you feel that something is off, you are right!" - Petra H, via Stripes - Midlife & Menopause Community
"I think too many women are falsely convinced that HRT is unsafe when that's only the case in limited circumstances." - @LisaBorders
"I've had so many issues since my hysterectomy at 43. My takeaway for my daughters is if something feels weird, check your hormones." - @dalybeauty
"The rage you feel during perimenopause is real. My gyno dissuaded me from HRT so I got via mail order after reading a magazine article. It changed my life. -@hitormissjudy
"it's NOT the end of being a woman. In fact, it's only part of it. Find support, go Golden Girls with your friends and keep on living your life!!" - Renee C. via Stripes - Midlife & Menopause Community
Let's keep the conversation going.
Tell us what you want the next generation of young people to know about menopause on The Hot Spot or join our FB group.
By Lindsay Goldwert
Lindsay is an author, journalist, and the content director of Adulted and Stripes.
Photo by Albert Rafael/Pexels