Wednesday, 23 November, 2022
HomePageTurnerBook ExcerptsEven thinking of Menopause made 40-year-old Mona fall apart—until she found Dr...

Even thinking of Menopause made 40-year-old Mona fall apart—until she found Dr Rosy

Dr Amrinder Bajaj decodes Menopause and its many stages in her book, ‘Live Your Best Life: Understanding Menopause for a Wiser, Happier and Healthier You.’

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In a desperate attempt to hang on to her youth, she had a torrid affair with her immediate subordinate, Dhruv. She needed the reassurance of male attention, of being told how wonderful and smart she was, and Dhruv knew exactly how to please her. Though she did not love him, and she knew that he did it all for professional gain and it could all backfire horribly on her, she could not help herself. In her heart, she knew that she loved her kind and caring husband, Mohit. He had never blamed her for her inability to conceive even though he adored children, and that made her hate herself even more. Forbidden sex had become an addiction that she could not resist, but guilt would leach away whatever pleasure she got from it. After a couple of months of hollow joy, what she had dreaded all along came to pass. Dhruv started becoming overbearing and demanding. He asked for an out-of-turn promotion and issued veiled threats about making their affair public if she did not comply.

There was no way she could extricate herself from this web of deceit and blackmail. Plus, the hot flashes caused by perimenopausal hormonal changes that had begun to plague her now made her angry, and the cold sweats that followed were partly due to the fear of being exposed. Dhruv had become a Frankensteinian monster of her own making, who was out to destroy all that she held sacred and dear.

Things seemed to be falling apart and she did not know how to control them. reduced to a bundle of nerves, she could not sleep for nights on end. she had lost her appetite and her peace of mind, and people began to comment on her tired and drawn looks. There were dark circles under her eyes and her clothes hung loose on her. she dared not contemplate the consequences of her actions. she imagined herself sitting disgraced and discarded amid the shards of her shattered life. There would be no option left but the cowardly act of suicide if the current situation persisted. She was grateful for the fact that she would not leave orphaned children behind. The image of her devastated husband, who did not deserve the humiliation she would bring upon him, would be the cross she would carry to the grave with her.

One night, the dam broke. she sat huddled on her bed, her head on her knees, which were drawn to her chest. Huge sobs wracked her form as tears coursed steadily down her cheeks. Mohit got up with a start. Mona was not one to cry easily, so he was taken aback. She usually vented by raving and ranting. This display of sorrow alarmed him. He reached out, put his arms around her and drew her to his heart; he rocked her gently back and forth till her tears subsided. ‘Oh god, what have I done?’ she thought. Heaven was being in his arms and she had spurned to satisfy a whim. If only she could turn back time and erase that chapter from her life . . . ‘Is there anything you want to tell me?’ Mohit asked gently, pouring out a glass of water. she sat back on the pillow and gulped it. He stood still, looking at her. More tears rolled down her cheeks, but she wiped them away fiercely. she had to confront this; the consequences be damned! Divorce or death. she could no longer continue in a state of torment and told Mohit all that had transpired.

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There was a stunned silence. Mohit sat down with a thump in front of her and, with a stricken look on his face, a look that Mona would not forget till her dying day, asked, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ ‘It’s not about you at all!’ she gave an anguished cry. ‘You are the best husband a woman could wish for. I have destroyed the sanctity of our marriage.’ ‘But why?’ ‘I don’t know, Mohit…. maybe I was trying to hold on to my youth. I had begun to experience changes in my body that I was unable to accept. I felt unattractive . . . still do.’ she broke off. she knew that this was barely any reason for her to have done what she did and yet, that was how she’d felt. ‘And you do not love that, that . . .’

‘I hate him with all my heart. I could kill him with my bare hands. I love you, and look what I have done to you! I was contemplating suicide . . . I have hurt you badly and I do not know how to make amends . . .’ They went to a marriage counsellor, who told them it was all about midlife crisis and the insecurities that come with it. Thankfully, Mohit understood. He was still in love with his wife and wanted to preserve their marriage. so, together, they began the business of repairing things: Dhruv was put in his place when Mohit confronted him and had himself transferred to another unit as fast as he could.

Next on their agenda was a visit to the gynaecologist to discuss the physical changes that Mona had been experiencing, but was dismissing them as stress related. Once they were in the doctor’s chamber, Mona talked about her fear of approaching menopause. Dr. Rosy Dua listened carefully.

When Mona finished, the first thing the doctor made her do was delete that app from her phone right there and then. she laughed at the novel way Mona had found of preventing vaginal dryness! ‘I wish it were as easy to deal with as this app suggests. It’s not about drinking more water—the excess water will just be flushed out by the kidneys. Moreover, it is not about hydration at all! With the depletion of hormones, the vagina thins out, losing its elasticity and moistness. If and when the situation arises (mind you, not all women experience all the symptoms of menopause), I will prescribe oestrogen cream to make your vagina as supple as before.’ ‘You will?’ asked Mona, smiling with relief. ‘I can prescribe something even better!’ ‘What is it?’ asked Mona eagerly. ‘The most enjoyable way to keep your vagina lubricated is to have regular sex for as many years as you can.’ ‘That I will,’ said Mona with delight.

Live Your Best Life: Understanding Menopause for a wiser, happier, and healthier you Book CoverThis excerpt from ‘Live Your Best Life: Understanding Menopause for a Wiser, Happier and Healthier You,’ has been published with permission from Penguin Random House India.

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