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Quotations about Menopause
AGE & AGING,
Menopause is just Puberty's evil older sister. ~Internet meme, c. 2015
Of this great change in Woman, from the Maternal to the Post-Maternal period, it has been read as a sign of her descent from a full to a limited life — from capacity to incapacity — because no material compensation appears to take its place in the circuit of her corporeal capacities. This misinterpretation of the annulling of a set of bodily functions has cost the sex countless ages of dread of the inevitable, such humiliation, and nameless martyrdoms.
It is actually a transmutation of power, a transfer of capacity to enter into a more exalted department of life; the winding up of a physical series, and the opening of wider channels for the outflow of the affectional and spiritual nature; the closing of one set of avenues, and the broader opening of another, lying above them. ~Eliza W. Farnham (1815–1864), "The Organic Argument," Woman and Her Era, 1864 [a little altered —ღ t.g.]
They're not hot flashes — they're power surges. ~Bumper sticker, c. 1992
A woman must wait for her ovaries to die before she can get her rightful personality back. Post-menstrual is the same as pre-menstrual; I am once again what I was before the age of twelve: a female human being who knows that a month has thirty days, not twenty-five, and who can spend every one of them free of the shackles of that defect of body and mind known as femininity. ~Florence King, "Fiftysomething," Lump It Or Leave It, 1990 ["The New-Old Me," King calls her post-menopausal self. —ღ t.g.]
After almost two years of struggling with these symptoms, I couldn't remember what it was like to feel good... Some days... I would drive straight home, collapse onto the sofa, and just stare into space, unable to move and unable to care... I remember feeling so tired I wanted to cry. ~Amanda Thebe, Menopocalypse, 2020, amandathebe.com
Boris kissed her hand for this, and reflected what an excellent arrangement it might prove to be, and then all at once he got such a terrible impression of strength and cunning that it was as if he had touched an electric eel. Women, he thought, when they are old enough to have done with the business of being women, and can let loose their strength, must be the most powerful creatures in the whole world. ~Isak Dinesen, "The Monkey," Seven Gothic Tales, 1934 [pseudonym of Karen Christence Dinesen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke (1885–1962) —tg]
MENstrual cramps, MENtal breakdowns, MENopause — ever notice that many of women's problems begin with MEN? ~Author unknown
Woman is now delivered from the servitude imposed by her female nature... she is no longer the prey of overwhelming forces; she is herself, she and her body are one. It is sometimes said that women of a certain age constitute "a third sex"... Often, indeed, this release from female physiology is expressed in a health, a balance, a vigour that they lacked before. ~Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986), The Second Sex, 1949
Men and women, I pray you at your change of life avoid self-pity like the plague. Do not let gloom surround you, but use your brains to steer your bodily course and shift the weights intelligently when you find it necessary. The key to health is intelligent cooperation with one's body... ~Marie Carmichael Stopes, Change of Life in Men and Women, 1936
Menopause, it's the best form of birth control. Face it graciously and brag about it. It's great. ~S. F., quoted in Paula Weideger, Menstruation and Menopause: The Physiology and Psychology, the Myth and the Reality, 1977
There is no medical term to designate the time included between the first indications of the failure of ovarian energy, and cessation of menses, but women call it "the dodging time," as it happily expresses the uncertain and erratic appearance of the menstrual flow. ~Edward John Tilt, The Change of Life in Health and Disease, 1870
The biggest lesson was that I had to advocate for myself and my health... I can't highlight this enough: women are still experiencing dismissive medical care, leaving us feeling all sorts of crazy, simply because our symptoms aren't readily recognized... Women are given very little information about menopause.... one of the most frustrating things that I hear from women is that they have no idea what the hell is happening. ~Amanda Thebe, Menopocalypse, 2020, amandathebe.com
My acquaintance with women has convinced me that many a woman has experienced a secret joy in her advancing age, and been in herself capable of receiving it gladly, as a privilege, who nevertheless has been so overruled by the universal masculine judgment as to see in it only a loss of power, and a condition, therefore, that ought to be deplored and commiserated.
That day is forever past for enlightened women, thank God, and will be, in no long time, for their less fortunate sisters. For women developed enough to have opinions and take any ground, teach each other very rapidly. Their presence in the field of masculine errors is like sunlight to the mists of early dawn. Let the idea once go abroad among the sex, that the stages of feminine life are each an advance and growth — not diminution — and we shall soon cease the wailing and lamentation over the first gray hair and the first wrinkle at the eyes.
Let women of all ages remember these three periods and their character: first, the human, or youthful, in which the feminine is least diverged from the masculine; next, the generative, or maternal, in which it has taken its exclusive path and is walking towards its own kingdom; third, the regenerative, or spiritual, in which the others culminate, and where the ultimate brightest glory of earthly Womanhood alone is seen or enjoyed. Who can dread to reach this? Surely none who see what it truly is. ~Eliza W. Farnham (1815–1864), "The Organic Argument," Woman and Her Era, 1864 [a little altered —ღ t.g.]
"Maggie, was it this hot when we were kids? I don't remember it ever being this hot."
"I hate to break this to you, but you're getting older. Have you had your estrogen checked?... The first indication of menopause is a broken thermostat. It's either that or your weight. In any case, if you don't do something, you could be dead by August."
"God, middle age is an unending insult." ~Dorothea Benton Frank, Sullivan's Island: A Lowcountry Tale, 1999
Menopause, can I get through it without collapse? Men don't have that damned inconvenience and discomfort. God must have been a man — a woman would have done a better job on women's bodies. ~B. B. W., quoted in Paula Weideger, Menstruation and Menopause: The Physiology and Psychology, the Myth and the Reality, 1977
Pregnancy and childbirth are pretty rotten jokes to play on the female, but I cannot help suspecting that the menopause may be nature's last — and most outrageous — grand belly laugh. ~Elizabeth Oakleigh-Walker Buchan, "Rite of Passage," 1993
The terms "Climacteria" in Latin, "Climacteric disease," "Change of life," "Critical time," "Turn of life," in English, "Temps critique," "Age de retour," "Ménopause," in French, and "Aufhören der Weiblichen Reinigung," in German, are understood to mean a certain period of time, beginning with those irregularities which precede the last appearance of the menstrual flow, and ending with the recovery of health. ~Edward John Tilt, The Change of Life in Health and Disease, 1870
In the ménopause, women are no longer hampered by a bodily infirmity periodically returning. ~Edward John Tilt, The Change of Life in Health and Disease, 1870
Let's not forget the menopausal blessings of thrift. My heating bill has gone down by more than half over the last few years. So much, in fact, that a compassionate soul from the utility company called me last winter to see if I was in dire economic straits.
"If you've had financial difficulties we can enroll you in our special payment plan," she said.
"I haven't had financial difficulties, I've had the Change. My hot flashes keep me warm now. I've turned into my own furnace." ~Florence King, "Fiftysomething," Lump It Or Leave It, 1990
As you go through perimenopause, your estrogen starts to decline, but not in a linear fashion; rather it fluctuates up and down, which can lead to a myriad of symptoms. Its erratic nature during perimenopause can leave women feeling as though they've been hit by a truck that's then reversed and run them over again for good measure. ~Amanda Thebe, Menopocalypse, 2020, amandathebe.com
There are a lot of women who have gone through or are going through menopause. It's sort of like a lifelessness that comes over you... The world goes a little gray... My first click of estrogen, I was like: huh — the grass is greener, the sky is bluer! Something happened.... but it doesn't mean that works for everybody. ~Oprah Winfrey, on The Check Up with Dr. David Agus, 2022
The invigoration of health after the ménopause is sometimes accompanied by a very great improvement of personal appearance, when bones become covered by a fair amount of fat; which "suave incrementum" is both comely and conducive to health. Others do not recover health without some sacrifice of feminine grace, their appearance becoming somewhat masculine, the bones projecting more than usual, the skin is less unctuous, and tweezers may be required to remove stray hairs from the face. ~Edward John Tilt, The Change of Life in Health and Disease, 1870
It will ever be a matter of surprise how so many phenomena of health and symptoms of disease can be determined by two little oval bodies, whose structure does not appear complicated, but it is unquestionable that these organs influence the system. ~Edward John Tilt, The Change of Life in Health and Disease, 1870 [ovaries —ღ t.g.]
The suspension of this function in Woman marks her life by a physical change — an experience peculiar to herself. The masculine life is divisible, physiologically, into two periods, youth and maturity — ante-paternal and paternal; the feminine into three, Ante-Maternal, Maternal, and Post-Maternal — and the transition from the second to the third is a physiological experience exclusive to Woman, which is balanced by nothing in the functional experience of man.
Now what is the language of natural physiological change? It is advancement — never degradation... we must acknowledge that it marks a stage of growth in the ultimate, if not in the present, powers of life... ~Eliza W. Farnham (1815–1864), "The Organic Argument," Woman and Her Era, 1864 [a little altered —ღ t.g.]
A true woman remains a true woman to the day of her death, even if she be a centenarian. The three main periods of the life of the human female should be:
(1) Childish growth developing feminity.
(2) Potent fertility in feminity.
(3) Wisdom in feminity.
A healthy woman should expect to pass quietly through these evolutionary phases. However, many women suffer a good deal of menstrual pain while in their prime of life. For such women the menopause, instead of adding terrors, removes this pain, and once the menopause has set in they gain a marked improvement in health. Thus strength and vitality may be increased and not diminished at the climacteric. It has been described as the youth of wisdom. Even Dr. Kisch acknowledges that many women "rejoice in their now uninterrupted state of well-being."... Of the sensual puberty of the climacteric Professor A. Lacassagne writes: "It creates a fresh spring-time, and brings about a second youth..." ~Marie Carmichael Stopes, Change of Life in Men and Women, 1936 [a little altered —tg]
And then I am 47: yes; and my infirmities will of course increase. To begin with my eyes. Last year I could read without spectacles, and now I can't read a line (unless held at a very odd angle) without them. What other infirmities? I can hear perfectly; I can walk as well as ever. But then will there not be the change of life? Possibly a difficult and dangerous time, but one can get over it by facing it with common sense — that it is a natural process. These curious intervals in life are the most fruitful artistically — one becomes fertilised — a little madness, and all the little illnesses. ~Virginia Woolf, diary, 1929 September 10th [a little altered –tg]
When the last census was taken in 1861, 1,177,535 of our fellow-countrywomen of the age of forty-five and under fifty-five were living in Great Britain and Ireland, and I can scarcely exaggerate the importance of a work which tells their history, records the probabilities and inevitabilities of their future, and investigates the many diseases by which it may be chequered. This volume professes to do so, and it is founded on the tabulated estimates of the symptoms and of the diseases of five hundred women who were at the change of life, or who had passed the ménopause. ~Edward John Tilt, M.D., The Change of Life in Health and Disease: A Practical Treatise on the Nervous and Other Affections incidental to Women at the Decline of Life, 1870
She stands now at this portal which separates her past and present from a future that is unknown to her, and that is made forbidding by the theory she has received of it. No wonder that she looks upon these gates as the condemned upon the door which opens to his scaffold; that she counts sadly every step which brings her nearer; that she would fain convince herself and the world that she is yet far off, thirty-five instead of forty-five. For that awful future! Wherein it is not mysterious it is worse; insulting, neglectful, chilling. All this does not take place without perturbations of the heart, and nerve, and brain, hard to bear at the best — appalling at times, in the darkness wherein she has to grope her lonely way as the function of Maternity is to pass away from her. ~Eliza W. Farnham (1815–1864), "The Organic Argument," Woman and Her Era, 1864 [a little altered —ღ t.g.]
Menopause zombie brain sucks big time. ~Amanda Thebe, Menopocalypse, 2020, amandathebe.com
There are many females between the ages of forty and fifty, whose recoveries may be expected when the uterus shall have fairly resumed its original inaction, and when also the brain shall have lost a fertile source of irritation and disease. Unfortunately it happens that the poorer classes are much too unmindful of the health of women at the critical periods of life, and pay too little attention to the means whereby the uterus may be assisted in its efforts to preserve its due influence on the human economy; and therefore is it, in a very great measure, that insanity is of so frequent an occurrence among women. ~Dr. Davey [Reporting on female lunatics at Colney Hatch, 1800s. Quoted in E. J. Tilt, The Change of Life, 1871. —ღ t.g.]
Forms of climacteric insanity are delirium, mania, hypochondriasis, melancholia, irresponsible impulses, and the perversion of moral instincts. ~Anna M. Galbraith, M.D., The Four Epochs of Woman's Life: A Study in Hygiene, 1901 [Omg! —tg]
Esquirol has seen many women remain maniacal so long as menstruation lasted, who immediately and spontaneously recovered after the ménopause. ~Edward John Tilt, The Change of Life in Health and Disease, 1870
Perimenopause, the stage where women transition from their childbearing years to menopause, brings symptoms many women have heard of: hot flashes, vaginal dryness, weight gain. But anxiety is also a symptom, and according to Barb Dehn, a nurse practitioner and a member of the HealthyWomen Women’s Health Advisory Council, it gets little attention. “A lot of things are not understood by women as hormonal changes,” Dehn said. “Many women come in to see me and say, ‘I am not the same person.’” ~Megan McGibney, “Perimenopause can trigger high anxiety. Nobody told these women that it’s normal,” thelily.com, 2021, nursebarb.com
Climacteric decay is less frequently observed in women than in men, not only because women lead a less tumultuous life, but because their constitution has been so remodelled by the change of life that the causes of this decay have less hold over them. ~Dr. Day, Diseases of Old Age, 1800s [Quoted in E. J. Tilt, The Change of Life, 1871. —ღ t.g.]
There is a also larger sense in which Woman is maternal than the functional sense; in which the maternal soul is generative when the body has ceased to be so; embraces humanity as its child; travails in pain with it for its sufferings, hindrances, darknesses, perversions, and yearns over it, when born into the higher life, with a maternal solicitude and affection. Here Woman takes on a less concentered, more divine Motherhood. ~Eliza W. Farnham (1815–1864), "The Organic Argument," Woman and Her Era, 1864 [a little altered —ღ t.g.]
And for true Womanhood arrived here there is no growing old. Age refines and enriches, warms and illuminates, expands and exalts her. She is more and more Woman through it; not less and less. The noble life that has led her hither is her grand cosmetic. Her intellect, loosed from the golden bonds of corporeal Maternity, rises to the grasp of higher truths. ~Eliza W. Farnham (1815–1864), "The Organic Argument," Woman and Her Era, 1864
The object of facing up squarely to the fact of the climacteric is to acquire serenity and power... Calm and poise do not simply happen to the post-menopausal woman; she has to fight for them. When the fight is over, her altered state might look to a younger woman rather like exhaustion, when in reality it is anything but. The dependent woman is obliged to believe that only her turmoil of passion, fear, rage, expectancy and disappointment is living and that when she is no longer tormented by desire, insecurity, jealousy and the rest of the paraphernalia of romance she will be as dead as a spent match. The difference between her clamorous feelings and the feelings of the silent, apparently withdrawn older woman is the difference between the perception of the sea of someone tossing upon the surface, and of one who has plunged so deep that she has felt death in her throat. ~Germaine Greer, The Change: Women, Aging and the Menopause, 1992
It is commonly thought that many women go insane at the menopause, but this is not true. The menopause itself never causes insanity in a normal woman. Of course, if there is an extremely unstable nervous system and a tendency to insanity in the woman, the menopause may be the crisis which shows it up... The better the general health, the less liable are any of the symptoms of the menopause to be over-exaggerated. So all known measures of health — correct diet, sufficient sleep and rest, mental poise, some system of regular exercise — should be practised. One should remember that the menopause is a normal and natural process and it should not be dreaded. Realizing that the condition is a natural occurrence which all women experience — if they live long enough — and a philosophical calm acceptance of this fact, will help lessen the nervous symptoms. ~Lulu Hunt Peters, M.D. (1873–1930)
Menopause... marks the end of the menstrual flow. The word is sometimes used interchangeably with the broader term climacteric... [which] refers to the few years before and after the actual cessation of bleeding and encompasses all the physical and emotional symptoms a woman may experience around the time her periods stop. ~Janice Delaney, Mary Jane Lupton, and Emily Toth, "From Leeches to Estrogen: The Menopause and Medical Options," The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation, 1976
Aptly labeled the "climacteric," the interval of subtle and gradual changes preceding the menopause results from the slow-but-steady decline of ovarian function. ~Patricia Allen, M.D. and Denise Fortino, Cycles: Every Woman's Guide to Menstruation, 1983
An altered pattern of menstrual cycles is the usual first-alert signal that fertility is on the wane. ~Patricia Allen, M.D. and Denise Fortino, Cycles: Every Woman's Guide to Menstruation, 1983
Since I first began to look into the sex life of men and women, I have exploded a number of bogies, and let sunshine into murky dwellings which much needed the searchlight of truth. An abominable idea has echoed round the world from the unwholesomeness of warped theological minds — the monstrous idea that after the menopause is completed a woman is morally bound to refrain from any further sex union with her husband. This is remorseless tyranny and barbaric silliness masquerading as "religious virtue."
One need go no further than the famous Dr. Kisch to find an instance of the domination of the medical mind by theological misconceptions: for instance, "Among the stimulating influences which during the sexual epoch of the menopause are as far as possible to be avoided we must unhesitatingly include the practice of coitus... And yet precisely in women of the climacteric age... there often exists a strong desire." Could anything be more fantastic, more likely to breed the very neuroses, tensions, and physiological difficulties which the physician should relieve, than to deny the woman of the climacteric age and her husband the natural, soothing relaxation of a coitus desired by them both! ~Marie Carmichael Stopes, Change of Life in Men and Women, 1936 [a little altered —tg]
By the old school of humoral pathologists, the cessation of menstruation was looked upon as a matter of serious consequence, often causing serious disorders and calling for the operation of blood letting. Perhaps these old observers are in part responsible for the great dread with which the menopause is even now looked forward to by a large proportion of womankind. ~Emil Novak, M.D., "The Menopause," Menstruation and Its Disorders, 1921
Menopause is hard. It's like going through a rebirth. ~Amanda Thebe, Menopocalypse, 2020, amandathebe.com
She felt as useless and cast away as an old broomhandle in the world's back yard. ~Rupert Hughes, The Old Nest, 1911
Oi-oi, the thin quail voices of the old women. The dry old women, past childbearing, with the dry eyes and the dry breasts and the dry tears. ~Fannie Hurst, "Seven Candles," 1923
menopause is dry
as wood chips but it's kindling
for warm winter fires
~Terri Guillemets, journal, 2022
I breathe freedom. I drink it in long, deep draughts...
It is the answer to the drought of me, to the parched years, to the earth of me that was bare and sear.
It is the rain to the desert of me...
~Muriel Strode Lieberman (1875–1964), "Songs of Life-Freedom: I," A Soul's Faring, 1921
published 2016 Aug 24
revised Nov 2019, Jun 2021
last saved 2023 Mar 3