And Just Like That, you're menopausal
Who here loved Sex and the City? Were any of you (like me) a wannabe Carrie Bradshaw in the late 1990s, desperately looking for our own Mr Big!? I think, in reality, I was sadly nothing like Carrie, probably more like Charlotte crossed with Miranda with a bit of Ally McBeal thrown in? With Mr Big nowhere in sight!
So…which of you ladies have been excited to watch the SATC reboot “And Just Like That”? Where we catch up with the girls (sans Samantha, sadly) now in their mid-50s, dealing with mid-life. Season two is just coming to an end and although I’ve enjoyed it, it wasn’t very… well, menopause-y?! You’d have expected with the three leading ladies being “of that age” there’d have been a little bit more talk each episode of hot flushes, brain fog, sweating, aching muscles – and there were no problems with these ladies’ libidos!
To their credit, in season one there was an episode where Charlotte declared to Carrie and Miranda that she was finally “done”. She hadn’t had a period for four months and cheerfully announced that she thought she was “finally in menopause”! (When you and I know that you need to go for 12 months without a period to have reached menopause!) Charlotte crowed that she’d not had “any of the horrible symptoms that you guys had – hot flushes, brain fog, breast tenderness” at all! Later that episode Charlotte then experienced a “flash period” (when of course she happened to be wearing an all-white jumpsuit) and it turned out that she wasn’t “done” at all. Another 12 months at least for you then, Charlotte.
I just think that a show based on women in their menopausal years could have mentioned it a little more. In the original SATC, Samantha was thrown immediately into menopause due to her cancer treatment and we saw the hot flushes and the impact it had on her relationship with Smith. But then again, SATC and And Just Like that are supposed to be all about glamour, aren’t they? And I think we can agree, that menopause isn’t glamorous. So that may explain why they didn’t want to discuss it too much. It wouldn’t have been the same if the episode had ended with Carrie saying “And Just Like That…I had forgotten why I went into the kitchen”. Or her saying to her new-old beau Aidan “not tonight darling, I’m far too exhausted and frankly just not in the mood”.
But I do want to refer you to an interview that I read with SATC/AJLT’s very own Cynthia Nixon – who plays Miranda – where she was talking about “And Just Like That”
“These characters are in menopause, and menopause gets a bad rap, and it has many unpleasant parts of it, but it's a real opportunity. It's an age of opportunity — I think almost like a second adolescence where, you know, maybe your kids are largely grown and maybe you have the bandwidth to change a career or to go for something in your career that you've never been brave enough to try before.“
YES MIRANDA! I mean Cynthia. But YES! Menopause does get a bad rap! Yes there’s the unpleasantness. The not-at-all-glamorous symptoms. But at the same time, I believe that our attitude to our menopause makes a difference. If we could start to change our way of thinking about it. Think of it as an opportunity. An opportunity to make changes to our lives. To put ourselves first for once. To practice self-care. To think about what foods we are putting into our bodies, and what and how much we are drinking and how much exercise we are getting. To realise that we are actually entering our “second spring”*.
So, let’s do our best to get rid of this “bad rap” in the media and let’s support each other through our perimenopause. Let’s build a community of women supporting women. Let’s keep talking about it, spreading the menopause message and raising awareness to make our homes, relationships and working lives better - and let’s embrace the opportunity for change that it gives us and celebrate this new phase of our lives. We’ve got this - Just Like That.
*In traditional Chinese medicine, menopause is called the 'Second Spring' in a woman's life. It represents the renewal of energy and opportunities as there is a shift from fertility and reproduction, to conserving and nourishing the self.