Thursday, March 12, 2020

Super Spring Writers Series: Guest Post By Shari Bender

     Today on the blog I have author Shari Bender, who just happens to be a peri-menopausal mama. When I read her guest post, I found myself laughing and nodding my head in agreement at her experiences because I have certainly been in her shoes for a long time. I have a hunch many of you will relate to her tale.....

Then and Now: My Peri-menopausal Journey
My phone is showing me ads for period underwear. Clearly, it has me confused with someone Not googling menopausal symptoms. 
I’m 48 and going through menopause. Peri-menopause started in my early 40’s (ask my mother, I’ve always been precocious). Oh, it’s been fun thus far. Thankfully I have a super patient and understanding gynecologist who I consider to be my vaginal spirit animal if that were a thing. 

Peri-menopause joys, oh let me count the ways! 

Then: you were afraid those few extra pounds would make you look pregnant
Now: You’d be flattered if someone thought you were young enough to be pregnant

Then: Excuse: Sorry I’m on my period
Now: Excuse: Sorry I’m (peri)menopausal 

Then: It’s freezing in here!
Now: Why is it so hot in here?

Then: I should get my hair cut
Now: I should get my chin hair cut

Then: Eats entire sleeve of thin mints, doesn’t gain an ounce
Now: Eats three thin mints, walks 1 mile and gains two pounds 

Then: Gets called “Miss” and goes on a feminist rant 
Now: Gets called “Ma’am” and barely restrains a lunge at the barista

Since I’m on the younger side of the menopausal spectrum, often I’m met with disbelief. And I don’t want to believe it either! But reality stares me in the mirror, particularly the hall bathroom mirror. My iPhone with all its fancy built-in filters makes me feel like a spry still-menstruating woman. Hall bathroom tells a different story. Who is this woman with ever-expanding grey roots and ever-deepening crow’s feet? And don’t get me started on that now visible upper lip peach fuzz. I need extra hair on my head, not my face. Menopause is clearly missing that memo.

You will know when you are truly heading towards menopause when hot lemon water starts to become your beverage of choice. Grab a bestie for hot lemon water happy hour! I’ve become a wine on weekends only type of girl thanks to wine calories finding their way directly to my menopausal mid-section. Menopausal metabolism gets a bad rap for a reason because it is real. A dinner out can require strategic planning in order to keep the scale happy. Prunes have also found their way to a permanent residence in my pantry.  

There are some upsides to this menopausal journey.  For example, money saved on feminine products now can be used towards anti-wrinkle cream. You can finally go and enjoy the hilarious melodic truth that is Menopause the Musical. You also become very adept at the cross-legged sneeze and the ability to wake up every morning at the crack of dawn without an alarm clock. You also free up a lot of closet space, since you no longer wear bulky sweaters or any real winter clothes. You discover novel and socially acceptable ways to stave off a hot flash, instead of frantically ripping off your clothes.  My favorite was passed on by my mother-in-law during a particularly bad hot flash during my sister’s 50th birthday dinner- hold a glass of ice water and be sure to position your hands so that your wrists get a feel of the cold. If you’re at home when a hot flash hits, sticking your head in the fridge for 10 seconds works wonders!

The menopausal journey is a time of shifting hormones and levels of sanity. If you are bone-cracking knees deep in this phase of life just remember, you’re not alone in this peri and menopausal madness. My motto? Be loud, Be proud, Be (hot) Flashy.


Shari Bender is an empty-nesting peri-menopausal mama.  She earned her BA in Communication from Stanford University in 1992 and currently works as Communication and Marketing Director for a large electrical firm on Long Island.  Shari is a cat-loving spiritual vegan who loves embracing her empty-nest along with her husband of 27 years. Her musings are featured regularly on Grown & Flown.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Find my latest work on CONSIDERABLE Here


  1. I can totally relate to all of this! LOL. Hot flashes at night are the worst. No more periods are the best. Can't have it all. We always have to give up something to get another good thing. Great post, Shari. Thanks for sharing this lovely lady here, Marcia!



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