I've heard women say that it is unfair for men to blame puberty, PMS, pregnancy, post-partum blues, perimenopause and menopause for our whimsical moods. Well, it turns out our female mood swings are very real. The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine. M.D., explains in scientific but simple terms how and why hormones do rule the woman's mind, body and emotions from birth until the day she dies.
I was relieved to read it and find out that I - just as any other female - was biologically predisposed to be a rebellious door-slamming teen (as my kids may well soon be), a yelling premenstrual young woman, a sex-fearing baby-obsessed new mother, and a now a menopausal mood swinger.
When you know it's normal to cry over a bad hair day a few days before your period, or to be restless and sweaty at night and cranky the next day in your fifties, somehow it all becomes more bearable. It´s not in your head, you're not losing it, there is a biological reason! And even better, there are ways to cope with it all, that range from medication to meditation. The choice is yours.
There is a reason for the mood swings
I used to feel mortified thinking back to the rants and raves of my adolescence. Now that I know it all has to do with brain chemistry and normal hormonal shifts in the woman's biological makeup, I can forgive myself.
I can also endure the ups and downs of menopause and offset them as best I can, with exercise, a healthy diet, HRT and a little venting with my friends.
I can accept and explain my moodiness when it hits me, because I know it will pass in a day or two, instead of defending myself by yelling: "I am NOT hormonal, you ... (name it)!" That way my significant other and I can weather the female hormonal storm, taking it for what it is, and enjoy the calm after it, together.
And I can look forward to postmenopause. Yes, I look forward to it! I can't wait to feel the mellowness described by women who've made it to the other side ... When biology no longer drives them to put the needs of their offspring and mate before their own, and they are free to pursue their dreams, in peace and tranquility.
Although, come to think of it, I've always pursued my dreams, and even reached a few. If I could do that while at the mercy of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone peaks and valleys, I can only imagine what lies ahead after I pass my box of tampons on to my daughters, because I no longer need them. For now, I keep them handy because I never know if and when my next period will hit.
[This post first ran on VivaFifty.com]