Have you been wondering about ovulation after menopause? I have. And it led me to revisit this topic recently to see what the current understanding is around it.
This audio and article below was inspired by an article from Harvard Medical School Health Publication I felt compelled to comment on. It addresses the issue of dealing with the symptoms of menopause.
What stood out for me in this was the language used around ovulation after menopause. (The article was updated and improved since I recorded the audio below. But it still offers insight into how female fertility and the 'mature' woman have been perceived in our patriarchal world.) Below is an extract:
"On rare occasions, post menopausal women experience uterine bleeding from a rogue ovulation, which is vaginal bleeding after a hiatus that may be preceded by premenstrual symptoms such as breast tenderness. Presumably, the ovaries are producing some hormones and maybe a final egg."
So the first part that jumped out at me here was the marriage of the words 'rogue' and 'ovulation'. A google search exploring the meaning of rogue duly revealed the following:
Rogue: Dishonest or unprincipled. Or a person whose behaviour one disapproves of, but who is nonetheless likeable or attractive.
And here's what came up for me. At some level the 'rogue' part of that 'rogue ovulation' feels like a subtle patriarchal reminder that ovulation after menopause is dishonest. You can't do that. It's lying about your true creative power. It's not consistent with what should happen or how we understand menopause to be.
And it echoes to me how female behaviour, female fertility and so many aspects of the feminine that have been perceived as dishonest, inappropriate, unprincipled and been disapproved of. Even though they may be very attractive.
So, that was the first part of this I wanted to highlight. How our assessment of a situation and our languaging is so influenced by the cultural ideas and ideals that dominate.
As an aside, the term 'rogue ovulation' seems to have been fathered by Harvard Medical School. I could not find any references to it prior to 2009 (the year it was written). I cannot claim, however, that it was an exhaustive search.
It appears also in another Harvard Article on peri and post menopausal women. Since then, it has surfaced many times in different web pages.
The second part of the paragraph above that warrants attention, in my view, is the conclusion that goes like this:
"Presumably the ovaries are producing some hormones and maybe a final egg."
And what I want to say in response is "Yes, it is a presumption". There are no links to any references here in that part of the article. The phrase "a final egg" too feels so very conclusive. Even if the writer began the sentence with "presumably".
For me, it demonstrates our collective habit of accepting patriarchal presumptions and assumptions about the purpose, the function, the appropriateness and value of the feminine.
My sense is that we have embraced these conclusions - about our fertility and creative power - all too readily. And are being called to engage our feminine wisdom here now....
How can we do that? It begins by being much more present with the language that drapes over the female body. And engage feminine wisdom in, for example, the following ways:
Just to be clear, this is not about criticising Harvard Medical School. Or forgetting the huge contribution that Harvard has contributed to health and fertility.
My intention here is to bring your attention to the power of language. Because it has an impact on your expectations around your fertility in general. And ovulation after menopause in particular.
Instead of wondering when to give up trying to have a baby, I invite you to comes up with words - other than 'rogue' - to describe ovulation after menopause. In that way fertility and feminine wisdom can be reunited. As this is the hiatus that is really wanting to be seen here.
Please share with us below your favourite new fertile combinations! Because your feminine contribution here really, really matters.....
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