So now that you know what Iâ€™d like to talk about, maybe it would be helpful to share a little of who I am and why I find menopause and the subject of female aging so inspiring.
I grew up in a pretty classic Minnesota family. My dad was 100% Norwegian, charming, and incredibly hard working. He married a half German, half Bohemian, 100% stubborn woman. Mom was stoic in many ways, definitely not a hugger, but funny, driven, and endlessly complex. I was the middle child, and the only girl in the sibling department until I was sixteen. At that time Mom had a surprise, pre-menopause-ish baby when she was forty, which gave me a kid sister too late in life to really appreciate what that meant.
In my childhood the women were mostly farmwives, sturdy, plump, and a joy to be around. They laughed easily and often, had strong religious leanings, and seemed grounded in ways that influenced my own views as I grew in their presence. There was a sisterhood feel during gatherings, but any talk about womenâ€™s bodies and functions were whispered between giggles or exaggerated silence. Â My mom, Grandma, and Great-grandmother were seemingly dedicated to the exaggerated silence stance.
For example, my Great-grandma Mitty took great pride in the shocked neighborâ€™s faces when sheâ€™d show up in church with a new baby. â€œWe didnâ€™t even know you were pregnant,â€ was the familiar retort.Â Â Apparently sheâ€™d wear heavy, loose, clothes year-round in an effort to cover her â€œshamefulâ€ baby-bearing figure. That notion of sex = sin was passed on to my Grandmother Elsie.
To be continued next week!