Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No Fair!

No fair, no fair, no fair! I'm mentally stamping my feet and poking out my bottom lip.

Why do "girls" have to put up with all the symptoms of PMS, while "boys" get off virtually Scott-free?

I have NEVER seen my husband go absolutely rabid with a craving for french fries with extra salt from Wendy's AND chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup and dry roasted peanuts. I NEVER witnessed my father scowling at the scale and his wardrobe because he was bloated. My brother NEVER got migraine headaches, back aches, nausea, chills, cramps and exhaustion.

When the topic of PMS comes up, most people associate it with a bad mood and the physical outcome that involves multiple trips to the store and the bathroom. But really, that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the whole package.

The REASON we're in such a foul mood is because of all the extraneous "stuff" that gets thrown in: the pain, the cravings, the mood swings, the feeling of being ill, the exhaustion. PMS is WORK!

For years, men have tried to take away the severity of what women have to go through. In the past, saying the word "pregnant" in mixed company was considered to be appalling language, so any open or frank discussions about PMS were completely off limits.

As we moved through history, women have stood up for themselves, from being more demanding about their wardrobing choices to actually burning their bras. (Obviously, they did not pay the small fortune for their bras that we do today, or they would have seriously considered simply designing posters, rather than actually catching their bra on fire.)

Most recently, we have finally had the medical community really try to hone in on women's over-all health, including heart, diet and PMS. But there are still a number of physicians who will say PMS is "all in your head."

When I was pregnant with my second child, I asked the male physician in my OB/GYN practice, "I am not feeling very well. The baby seems to be squashing a nerve. Is there anything I can do?"

He looked at me blankly and replied, "You're pregnant. Of course the baby is squashing a nerve and you don't feel well."

Wow. Thanks. Incredibly insightful.

I found both solace and sound advice from my female friends who had already gone down my path. And I continue to rely heavily on my friends to give me advice on all childcare, medical care, and female care issues. They are usually the most forth-coming, least embarrassed/embarrassing and can actually relate to the problem in question.

I have shared things with friends I would absolutely physically die from embarrassment about if I had to utter the words aloud to my nurse or physician. I have gotten better ideas, cures and remedies from a five minute conversation with a friend than I have in all the years put together with my medical attendants.

But even though I have gotten ways to DEAL with PMS (and other female maladies), I have still yet to find a way to PREVENT PMS symptoms.

Wouldn't it be totally awesome to NOT wake up one day thinking, "Wow, I feel GROSS & GROUCHY & I want to EAT until I PUKE, or SLEEP until NEXT WEEK, or- actually- BOTH!" Then look at the calendar and think, "Oh yeah... PMS. Wow. That sucks."

We can send a man to the moon. We can make sure that men can "perform" well into their twilight years. We can keep an otherwise dead heart beating. We can suck fat out of our thighs, add silicone/saline to our boobs, put botox in our face, staple our stomachs, lift our butts and tan our pale bodies. So how come they haven't found a "cure" for PMS?????

I know the hormone replacement debate is huge. We worry that putting hormones back into the body will make it more susceptible to cancer and disease. But how about just adjusting the hormones to make the PMS GO AWAY????

I can tell you this for sure: If you took a huge, tough football-playing, gun-slinging, skirt-chasing, tool-wielding, fast-car-driving, beer-drinking, man's MAN and gave him PMS, he'd fold like a house of cards. Medical science would have a "cure" so fast, it would make your head spin!

No man would endure craving food that would make him bloat so he couldn't zip up his jeans. I defy you to find a man who would have cramps, muscle aches and exhaustion without either drinking heavily or heavily medicating or both. They just wouldn't do it.

So why do we have to? (I say in the most whiny, nasally voice I can muster.)

Because... we're "girls". (I frump.)

And "girls" are the tougher sex. We have babies out in the field and then go back to picking the harvest. We raise the chickens, kill the chickens, cook the chickens and then feed them to our families. We make sure the house, the clothes and the children are clean. And we do it all with high heels, pantyhose and lipstick.

Why on earth would we let a little thing like PMS get in our way???

Give me a couple of days and I'll have a little more bravado and a lot less sassiness. I'll be able to look at the whole thing objectively and realize that in the grand scheme of things, PMS is really just a drop in the bucket.

But for right now, I will continue on with my martyr-like behavior, believing myself to be absolutely put upon as a female. And I will have my chocolate cake and eat it, too- and I'll wash it down with a (big) glass of red wine, thank you very much... So there...

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