No More Whispers – by Margaret Hart
Have you noticed any new commercials on television for products to help women through a certain phase in life? For someone who typically tunes out commercials, this one made me turn up the volume.
I find it interesting that personal subjects women have talked about for many years among their closest girlfriends—but which were almost taboo to speak about publicly, let alone see on television—have in the last 10 years or more become mainstream. And in some circles, almost a badge of honor to brag about.
I remember shortly after high school graduation when one of my closest girlfriends married her high school sweetheart and they tried to have a baby. She struggled, but eventually, with some medical assistance, became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful, healthy daughter. Even in the early 19080s, if a woman was struggling trying to get pregnant, no one really talked about it. They whispered.
Nowadays, if you don’t know someone whose has struggled to get pregnant, or been through In Vitro Fertilization, you’ve been living under a rock. For later moms who have faced challenges trying to become pregnant, the last 10-plus years have been a Godsend in terms of the plethora of ways available to start a family. From IVF to egg donation, to surrogacy, to adoption. And the conversation doesn’t have to be held in dim-lit rooms at a hush!
Yet, even in the early 1990s, talking about any sort of medical intervention was not a subject most women shared openly. And it wasn’t prevalent in the media. Nowadays, however, you can overhear a conversation between women in the nail salon talking about their cramps and their periods, or a friend who just had twins via IVF boasting how she did it on the first try with just one embryo!
Over the last 10 years we’ve gotten so comfortable hearing about periods, condoms, lubricating jellies, and erectile dysfunction, that now it seems we are talking more openly about menopause—at least on television. As later moms, menopause is a subject to which many of us can relate. Let’s face it, if you started menstruation around age 10 or 12, and you are now in your late 40s, you may be starting to have symptoms. And many of them suck. You can talk to your mom, but she probably doesn’t remember. You can talk to your gynecologist, but how much information can you glean in a 10-minute HMO appointment.
So chances are, you’re talking to your girlfriends. But are you comfortable talking about it? Maybe television is beginning to reflect a change in how we feel about talking about menopause. If it is, then I’m glad. Because having access to information is good. Information gives us knowledge. Knowledge gives us power. Power to make choices and decisions about our bodies. Power to live healthier and happier lives.
So let’s add menopause to the list of subjects we no longer need to whisper about. It’s going to happen to all of us. And from the women I know who have been through it, and are now on the other side (free of tampons and pads), life is heavenly.