Welcome to my page of quotations about menopause. My interest in digging through books for this topic owes to my own nearness to this exciting and yet kinda scary time of life. Fortunately, my mind has adapted quickly to womanhood’s middle-age and I’m finding mostly serenity and courage here, with occasional moments of minor panic — especially in that quiet, dark time during the middle of the night when my brain can’t sleep and runs rampant without physical daytime distractions. I always seem to feel the oldest around
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
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.
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
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
MENstrual cramps, MENtal breakdowns, MENopause — ever notice that all of women’s problems begin with MEN? ~Author unknown
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
If a man gets menopause, is it a womenpause? ~Author unknown
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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. ~
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
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
My garden shall yet hang heavy with tardy bloom. I shall pluck the fig in its late ripeness. The sumac will crimson for me in the frost of the fall. I shall gather wild grapes in their empurpling, and come with wild hops torn from the tops of frost-touched trees. I shall gather myself in great, ripe, yellow sheaves of me, in great clusters of maturity. ~Muriel Strode Lieberman (1875–1964), “A Soul’s Faring: XXIX,” A Soul’s Faring, 1921
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
Original post date: 2016 Aug 24
1st major revision: 2019 Nov 14