As I sit here eating the last chocolate chip cookie, I have come to a conclusion. I think that oxytocin is the nice hormone. I’m not really making this up. Studies do show that while estrogen is linked to a woman’s sense of well-being, it is oxytocin that makes women think “we” instead of “me”. It’s the hormone that causes us to save the last cookie for someone else. It’s the hormone that makes women the glue that holds the family together. It makes us giving and considerate. Without it… well, we are more like… men.
I have done my research and have gathered some personal facts about myself. You can thank me later for not sharing most of them, but they have led me to the conclusion that I am probably entering menopause. One of these facts I will share is that lately I am sometimes not so nice… with the words that come out of my mouth. Now I’m not saying that I didn’t used to think the same things I say now… I just used to be able to keep them in my head, but now… they bypass the filter, run right down through the roof of my mouth, and straight out into the world. Why is this?
Back to the hormones.
So I’m blaming estrogen. When estrogen starts deflating, it causes oxytocin to follow suit. If I am entering menopause, and believe me… I am, then my levels of both are lower. And so is my niceness quotient. I’ve always been pretty even keeled. My husband hasn’t been used to a lot of emotional outbursts from me since the days of pregnancy. He has enjoyed relative calm for the last few decades, and he’s been lulled into a false sense of security. Kind of like the antelope naively taking a drink from the watering hole with no idea that the hungry alligator waits just under the surface. Don’t watch, it’s too awful.
Poor guy, he thought my going through menopause would be a win. He thought the only thing he’d get would be a woman free of those pesky monthly cycles. (I liked the thought of that one, too.) He also looked forward to the thermostat debates finally being over. He was especially looking forward to that. (I’m tired of being cold all the time. I considered that a plus as well.) He had no idea what else was in store on this womanly journey for him. Honestly, I didn’t either.
It’s that oxytocin shift in our minds from thinking “we” to thinking “me” that causes a lot of divorces among women of that certain age. You can google the stats on that one. We menopausal women can become… someone else. Someone our husbands don’t understand. Heck, we don’t even understand us.
I will admit there is a certain freedom I enjoy in saying just exactly what is on my mind. It’s… satisfying. But I don’t live on an island. People have to work and live with me. And menopause or no menopause, I am supposed to try to sound like Jesus… no matter what my hormones are doing. I think that Proverbs 13:3 was written for the menopausal woman like me.
“Whoever guards her mouth preserves her life; she who opens wide her lips comes to ruin.”
I can’t just play the Menopause Card every time my mouth opens and unguarded words fly out. Hormones or no hormones, I have to watch my words. I have to guard my heart and my mind. I am still called to speak the truth in LOVE, or keep my mouth shut, even if I have to bite my tongue to do it.
And I need to go back to saving the last cookie for someone else.