Life Deconstructed: ‘Women-pause’ not for sissies or weak-hearted

Maria Jiunta Heck - Life Deconstructed | May 11th, 2017 11:14 am

Menopause is, almost literally, a heat-seeking missile. And it has found a cranky, irritable target in Maria Jiunta Heck.

Nobody told me there’d be days like this.

Hello, menopause.

Nancy is bewildered. He has no idea who this monster is before him and why she is screaming because he won’t stop whistling the theme song from “M*A*S*H.” He doesn’t know why, every single morning when he shouts, “How we doing today?” she yells back, “I’m in the fires of Hell, and I want it quiet down here!

I’m so mean, and it’s honestly beyond my control. Truly. Those male readers who have never met me: consider yourself dodged by an over-emotional, weeping bullet.

Stay in your own homes. Stay away. Stay safe. And thank your lucky stars you’re not a woman in her mid-50s with a uterus as big and empty as an old Igloo cooler and ovaries as functional as a rotary phone.

Men, be patient; menopause only lasts from two to seven years! Or until someone gets smothered with their new memory foam pillow. Either way, duck and cover.

In the meantime, let me help you stay alive. Here are some things you should never, ever say to a woman experiencing menopause. Just ask Nancy.

Do not say:

“Calm down; relax!”

“Take a deep breath before you throw that candlestick at me.”

“You’re wearing that?”

“Did you forget to brush your hair today?”

“Why is your face so red?”

“Are you going to nap, like, all day?”

“Man, you look tired.”

“Why are you so sweaty?”

“Turn off that fan! It’s 45 degrees outside!”

“Why is your face so red?”

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“So sweaty.”

“You really do look super-tired.”

“I see a gray hair … riiiight there.”

“Why are you holding that mallet?”

“Your face is the color of an eggplant.”

Listen, only the strong survive, and I may not be among them. In addition to the physical maelstrom that has invaded my old, baggy body, there’s also the fact that this vessel’s warranty has run out: having babies, nurturing, sustenance — it’s all over. Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

Some women may be relieved when they ride that pony out of out of the Reproduction Rodeo, but I just feel depleted and used up, like an empty bag of Middleswarth.

I could tell you that things will get better. Maybe, one day, I’ll be able to wake up and not punch my husband in the throat as he stirs the sugar into his coffee for exactly 55 seconds. I could promise that I won’t fantasize about ending his life when he eats the last piece of provolone and leaves the empty deli wrapper in the meat drawer.

I could tell you menopause is a phase, like puberty, and that it will soon pass. But I would be a liar, because we all know it’s a phase with stubborn staying power, like the duration of this presidency. Seemingly endless and annoying, like poison ivy and scary like the Crypt Keeper. Menopause is Satan.

John Lennon told me:

“Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed … Most peculiar, Mama.”

Most peculiar, indeed. Someone save me.

Maria Jiunta Heck

Life Deconstructed

Maria Jiunta Heck, of West Pittston, is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at