Let me just say, for the record, that we Venuses have been on this planet long enough to realize in our very cells that life is not fair. But we also recognize that there are depths to some of the unfairness that need to be plumbed. One of the deep injustices of particular concern to us has to be the difference between puberty and menopause. Not only are the physical, emotional, and mental changes that occur during menopause akin to puberty squared (or maybe puberty to the tenth power), but the amount of external support for these changes is like the difference in the number of photons present in day vs night. Think we exaggerate? Okay, let’s compare the two side by side, with our tongues only slightly stuck to our cheek linings.
Similarities Between Puberty and Menopause In puberty we suffer acne and skin eruptions, weird hair growth, wildly fluctuating hormones, body shape changes, breast tenderness, irregular menses, orthodontic problems, growing pains, and fatigue. We also are afflicted with mood swings, melancholia, bursts of anger, and the inability to concentrate. During the Big M, we also suffer acne and skin eruptions, weird hair growth, wildly fluctuating hormones, body shape changes, breast tenderness, irregular menses, orthodontic problems, growing pains, and mind-numbing fatigue. Sadly, there the similarities end. Where there is significant preparation and support for the passage of puberty, there is little to none for the transition of Menopause. Here’s a summary of the differences in emotional buttressing for these two pivotal events in a woman’s life.
For the prepubescent female, there is a veritable flood of information and prep for the coming transition. The adults in her life are prepared that she will need time alone to sulk, daydream, or write poetry. Support is offered for the “tough time” she is experiencing. People make excuses for her; “she’s just going through puberty.” A relative freedom from responsibilities means that she can truly attend to the process that she is experiencing; to grow into the new being that she is becoming.
For the menopausal goddess, there is a dearth of coherent information (so many of the blogs and sites out there are selling something or just repeating the senseless blather we’ve heard forever.) There is almost no preparation for the changes of the Big M. Time alone to sulk, daydream, or write poetry? You’ve got to be kidding! Support for the tough time you’re experiencing? Uh-uh! People making excuses for you, “she’s just going through menopause?” No way! Freedom from responsibilities? In your dreams!
And the final difference between puberty and menopause comes down to duration. Puberty is expected to last 5 years +/- 2. Alas, menopause lasts 5 years +/- 40. As cataclysmic transformations go, I think we’ve got to say that the Big M beats puberty hands down.
Okay, maybe it isn’t fair to do a side-by-side comparison of menopause with puberty, but we’ve already ascertained and admitted that life’s scales are unbalanced. What we CAN do is our level best to rebalance those lopsided weights by being vocal advocates for ourselves and each other. We can educate our loved ones, coworkers, and Venuses-in-training what to expect from the Big M.
After all, we’re women. We can handle these meteoric changes if we know what’s coming and that it won’t last forever. Not to mention that a little support would go a long way to making the transition easier on everybody. Note to mates, offspring, and others who deal with us: granting us a modicum of the compassion tendered to a fretful, pubescent teen could pay HUGE dividends. Seriously. All joking aside. We’re not kidding. (This week's photo of Theresa Venus [top] and myself was taken by Dewitt Jones, my mate who actually IS being supportive of the Big M. Now. At last. Hallelujah.)