Things my mother told me - by Kate Guaran
Eir Women came about to ensure women talk more about things we never talk about, and to be there to support each other.
So, I reflected on what my mum told me about being a girl.
And to be honest, if we adhered to the topic above this little piece would finish right here.
My mum raised seven daughters over two generations, from the late 50’s through to the 80’s. And while we all had different experiences as the world changed culturally and as Mum changed along with it, I think we all had one thing in common: she told us absolutely nothing about being girls and women.
My mum comes from a war and post war generation, where you get what you get and you simply cop it and move on. Some of the key phrases used were ‘life’s hard’ and ‘well you just have to accept it’. This applied to all things female.
With my first period, thank goodness I had sisters to explain things as otherwise I would have known very little.
Then the symptoms of mum's 40+ years that I can look back on and realise what was going on. The stress, her complaining of hot flushes in bed (along with Dad’s snoring). Then, much later she eventually went off for a hysterectomy. Her major complaint was that the surgeon took a little extra padding out on only one side of her waist and not both. She got on with it all right. And we survived, learning through observation and friends. Which is what her generation had done.
Now we sit in a different time. We are starting to speak out loud about the '50 million' symptoms we may, or may not have, as we move through our 40’s approaching perimenopause and menopause. Disturbed sleep, brain fog, that damn slowing metabolism, bloating and those restless legs at night etc etc. All with life’s stresses thrown on top. At least today we know what’s causing all this bodily drama.
Funnily enough I now try to inflict as much information on my daughter as I can. Rather than grateful and embracing me as the modern helpful and insightful mother as she should, I’m pretty much told to go away and stop being ‘weird’ (is it just me?).
Now, Mum is 91. And as my late Dad always said ‘as you become older you become obsessed with Death, Politics and Bodily Functions’ (I’ll let you draw your own links there). She has no boundaries as she tells my daughter the ins and outs of her dating life (‘that one was a bit handsy, and my father said I was not to see him again’), what it was like having your period in the ‘40’s, through to tales of a pelvic floor that’s birthed nine children. And I watch my daughter squirm, with near pathological delight. Bless mothers, none are perfect but we all try our best.
So, keep talking.
(ps- we think that’s me in the picture, but can only track which baby based on mums hairstyle)