Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

A Letter to My Mom: I am Sorry I Was A Brat

February 17th, 2014 by Chris Bobel

Photo courtesy

Dear Mom,

I owe you an apology.

Remember when you were perimenopausal (or as we called it, “going through menopause”)? Remember when you experienced hot flashes? And remember when you did, how we, your loving family, either 1) ignored 2) trivialized or 3) mocked you? Your hot flashes were a constant source of humor around our house and I recall you joining the fun.

But I am betting that while you were yukking it up, you felt lonely and misunderstood. I think you were just ‘being a good sport’ because what choice did you have?

You deserved better.

I admit that until recently, until I began hotflashing myself, I forgot about your transition and how we responded to it. But now that I am living with my own body thermostat on the fritz, I get it.

Now that I am consumed by cycles of heat and chill with no warning, I am having a major A HA ! moment. Now that I find myself waking in the night, my pillow wet, my face wetter, my sleep disrupted, I am time traveling to our sunny kitchen on 2nd Street—you: flapping your blouse, face flushed. Me: rolling my eyes.

I feel badly that I did not appreciate that this process is HARD. I feel badly that I made fun of you, thinking you just a silly old woman whining about something meaningless.

In short, I was a total brat.

Sure. I did not have models for compassionate support. It seems that the discourse of peri/menopausel has two nodes 1) joking  2) patholgizing—another distorted binary that fails to capture the complexity of human experience.

I know that today, struggling through my own perimenopause, I need some simple understanding. I am normal. This is normal. AND this normal reproductive transition can suck to high heaven.

While, we don’t need to stop the clocks or call the midwife, I would like some acknowledgement (minus the sexist aging jokes, please) that doesn’t make me  (or my body) the butt of a joke.

You deserved better when it was your time, Mom, and I am so sorry you didn’t get it.

Love, Chrisi

6 responses to “A Letter to My Mom: I am Sorry I Was A Brat”

  1. HeatherD says:

    Great letter, Chris. I’m sure lots of readers could just cut and paste this letter to their moms too. This is right up there with the other apology letters I need to write, like “Now I understand why you were always so tired and mad,” “Sorry I never understood why you hated wearing a bra,” “Sorry I never knew how hard it was to raise us until now,” “Sorry I never understood why the house wasn’t clean,” “Sorry I never understood why you were late picking me up from sports,” “Sorry I never realized why you never spent time on your own appearance,” “Sorry I was mad that you demanded that the elementary school PTO get menstrual pad machines in the girls’ bathrooms and let everyone know I had my period,” “Sorry I threw out your homemade bread sandwiches every day”, etc…..

  2. Chris Bobel says:

    oooh. those are good ones. For those of us who still have moms around to thank…let’s do it. NOW.

  3. HeatherD says:

    Yeah, probably you’re right. But you’re right that the menopausal letter was a good one to get out first. Here’s to you and your hot flashes/personal summers/power surges, Chris!

  4. Marie says:

    I need to hug my mom now.

    Thanks for the reminder, Chris!

  5. Chris Bobel says:

    I do find it interesting…and a disappointing throwback to the kind of liberal feminist accommodationist stance that I am hoping we can move beyond.

    Hiding our menstrual lives does not challenge the menstrual taboo. It reinforces it.

    Thanks for joining the conversation.

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