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Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Being Female

So you're going through the change dear,
how bad can it be?
As you get as old as I am, you get some broad perspectives about the totality of your life and I thought I would write this post on my experience being a female.
A couple of things about females immediately stand out:
1. We have evolved over millions of years for one very specific and important biological role - to bear and take care of the children of our species.
2. Nature has seen to it that we have a natural hormonal system over which we have no control that makes us ready both physically and mentally to fill this biological role.
When I was a young kid, I was a tomboy, feisty and competitive, more interested in sports than dolls. However, much to my surprise as puberty got its grip on me I became subdued, my fantasies were of being overcome by a strong ‘prince charming’. I was ready to marry at 24. It was 1949 and so I did in spite of the real possibility of having to give up a big love of my life – a career in science.
As expected, I soon became pregnant. I wanted children but did not like the process or think much about the reality of the baby. I was so sick with ‘toxemia’ that a premature birth was induced. In retrospect, it was a relatively easy delivery and I was awake and aware through the whole process. Some maternal hormones must have been produced during the labour because I’ll never forget the incredibly powerful feelings that overcame me as my daughter was born - intense love for and protective instincts toward my wee babe. Nothing had prepared me for becoming a full-blown mother emotionally!
As females we are born with all the precious eggs that will be released and have the potential to become a child during our reproductive years. As we age, unlike other cells in our body that are replaced at least every two years, our egg cells are not, so as time passes they are more and more likely to undergo a mutation and the probability of child defects increases.
So, Nature steps in again and new hormonal changes occur, starting usually in the mid to late 40’s, that gradually shut down the menstrual cycle that had been draining energies all those years. Menopause is not pleasant at first but the wonderful compensation is, you gradually begin to feel a new vitality, stamina and drive. You get Post Menopausal Zest [PMZ] - I felt ready for new challenges! My children had their own lives, I was near a good university and I went after that career in science I had given up and it was the best thing I ever did because at 86 my joy in learning are still there.
In this final stage of my life, my competitive spirit is still there too, and I’m fighting old age by exercising, reading and writing. I'm not ready yet to be looked on as the poor old thing who needs taking care of. Maybe that will be the next step I don’t have control over!    Rie


  1. I've had similar thoughts as you. Makes me realize I have been and am less in control than I thought.

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