Listen, for those readers who are uncomfortable discussing female issues, you may want to turn the page. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Because this week I feel the need to beat this dead, hormonal horse with a stick of dynamite and an estrogen suppository.
Can you hear that? It’s the sound of my ovaries losing their life and belligerently dropping to the bottom of my dusty, old uterus. Those dried-up pieces of beef jerky thudded like Big Ben at noon. Ding. Dong. My incubator is gone. The camper in which each of my three children slept for nine months has been dismantled and sold for parts. Gone. My reason for getting married and planning my fertility and marking days on my calendar and taking my damn temperature for weeks (the way we measured fertility back in the Jurassic Period) … gone.
I realize not every woman is wired to want children, and I respect those who honor their truth and choose not to reproduce, but I knew from the moment I held my brand, new nephew in my arms, 30-odd years ago, I wanted a basket of Heck Offspring. I was only 20 years old but I had such a strong inclination to create a human, it almost knocked the wind out of me. Of course, I wasn’t planning on doing it anytime soon. I mean, Penn State was calling my name and a family was last on that list. Michelob Light was first.
As you all know, I married my high school sidekick and we waited several years to have children. I had to raise him first. And, aside from my first born’s satanic cycle of colic, (a baby’s high-pitched wail can still make me wet my pants), it has essentially been a mammoth blessing.
The point is, menopause has roared in like lion and squashed me like a fruit fly on a banana. It has taken my ability to push out a few creatures and decimated that magic into day-old Play Doh. And while many women rejoice in the end of their menses, all I want to do is cry. Oh, I know I’m too old to have a baby. I’m not an idiot. But it still makes me sad. Here’s who isn’t sad — Nancy. Nothing makes him sad except rain on a golf course.
Speaking of Nancy, he thinks my menopause is God’s way of punishing him for some past misdeed. The list is long and he may not be wrong. Because readers, it ain’t easy living with this hormonal heap of dead lady parts and mitigated baby-making machinery. I’m a mess. Because I had estrogen-positive breast cancer, I am unable to utilize any of the hormone replacement therapies that apparently save husband’s lives the world over. That’s a bummer. I am a bag full of crazy since this all began. I weep, I laugh, I weep, I sweat like I’m going to the electric chair, sometimes I throw things, and then I weep because the thing I threw broke. And it’s hard to find a replacement Dolly Parton Chia Pet.
If a uterus drops in a forest and there is no one there to hear it … does it make a noise? Oh yes, it does. The noise is my wailing, and my husband looking toward the heavens and yelling, “Serenity Now!” Menopause makes men pause and wonder how they got tangled up in this mess in the first place. It’s hard work being a woman and accepting the end of the assembly line. Going out of business sale to be announced.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.