Holly Wainwright: Why I really don't want to talk about perimenopause.

There’s a word you’ve never heard before, and then it’s everywhere. 

Just months ago, perhaps, you asked someone what it meant. Now it’s rolling off your tongue, beaming from your phone, all your friends are talking about. Ubiquitous shorthand for your mood, your choices, your… vibe.

So it is with Peri

Watch: The Very Peri Summit is your shortcut to avoid years of struggle with perimenopause. Now streaming on-demand! Post continues after video. 

Perimenopause. A word that encapsulates the time when your hormones climb onto a swinging, plunging rollercoaster for the first time since those rollicking periods (pun intended) of puberty and (perhaps) pregnancy.

If menopause is the destination, Peri is the meandering roadtrip that gets you there. And until very recently, that abbreviated word was elusive to us. A simple, bold label to stick on the overflowing grab-bag of complicated stuff going on in your body and mind as estrogen drops and chaos reigns.

Grateful women have grasped Peri with both hands. Every generation does things differently and Generation X aren’t into suffering in silence. It’s not how we do things. We invented oversharing, people. We invented blogs, and Instagram, and Twitter. We will not shut up about this biological blindside our mothers attempted to drown in tea and gin. 

Generation X is Peri AF and we are not going to take it anymore. We’re going to shout our Peri Pride from the rooftops. 

Except, until recently, for… me. And possibly you.

I didn't want to talk about Peri. Even as my friend and boss Mia Freedman, braver than I in about 1000 ways, hustled a blockbuster expert summit into existence to help women make sense of this wild time, I was cautious. Of course I would help, but did I want to shout to the world that I, too, was Peri?


Because I am part of the “shut-up and bear it” brigade. We’ve been sitting with the embarrassment and humiliation our own bodies for years we’re not quite ready to buy a T-shirt advertising our current hormonal predicament, thank you very much. I was, basically, ashamed.

I’d been foolishly holding onto the idea that maybe, maybe, people still think I’m 40 (mate, I’m 50). And I am very familiar with the genuine fear of dismissal women fear as they edge ever further away from the sexy relevance of youth, something - like a lovely, safe relationship and skin elasticity - that we don’t know we’ve got til it’s gone. 

Working on this summit with Mia has changed that. I hoovered up the information the interviewers uncovered, lightbulbs pinging as I went. Oh, that’s why I don’t feel much like sex right now. Oh, that’s why I can’t sleep. Oh, that’s why my son so often asks, ‘Why are you so angry, mummy?

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