MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – When author Linda Condrillo was pregnant, she read “What to Expect When you are Expecting,” by Heidi Murkoff, which is now in its fifth edition. When Condrillo entered perimenopause, she looked around for a similar book and found virtually nothing. That was in 2007, when she “conceived” the idea of writing a book on menopause.
“Producing a book is very much like having a baby … with a very long incubation period,” she said during a recent interview. She gave birth to “Period. The End – Wit, Wisdom, and Practical Guidance for Women in Menopause – and Beyond” in October 2018. Her daughter came up with the blood-red “Easter egg” on the cover, following the word “Period” that, “if you look closely, looks like a screaming woman’s face,” she said. That should give readers a hint that while the book is filled with information, the facts are served up with a side of humor.
The book was launched at the Mountainside Library in the fall. Condrillo, who writes for TAPinto Mountainside will hold two book signings in the coming week. The first will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, at Restore, 274 S Salem St. in Randolph. She will also be at a Meet and Greet during Girls Night Out from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, at Town Book Store, 270 E Broad St, Westfield.
Many may not realize it, but there are a lot of similarities between pregnancy and menopause, “There are issues with weight gain, sleep, hormones, and other symptoms ... No two pregnancies are alike just the way no two menopauses are alike,” she said. There is another difference between being pregnant and entering menopause – women of all ages offer a lot of advice on what to expect when you are pregnant. That seldom happens when you are perimenopausal, after all most people don’t announce they are entering menopause, and often the topic of menopause “is swept under the rug,” she said.
As part of her research, Condrillo reached out to women in menopause, and prepared two pages of questions for the women, so they could “tell me their experiences,” beginning with when they went into menopause, what symptoms they experienced and if they would share a story—many did.
“The book is filled with vignettes from all walks of life,” including accounts by women who go into premature menopause, as a result of surgery or having taken medication while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. “Some of these gals are young and their friends are in their 30s or younger and they are going through what some person is going through in their 50s, so they have no peer group,” she said.
“Period. The End” has 10 chapters, and Condrillo said as part of her research she contacted expert gynecologists, nutritionists, aromatherapists, organizers, and sex therapists who could provide information on specific chapter topics. In addition, she reached out to national organizations, such as the National Osteoporosis Foundation, National Sleep Foundation and the North American Menopause Society which have websites and resources which readers can use.
There are also cartoons, because humor is necessary when going through menopause, as well as a song, recipes and more.
Most women enter menopause at the average age of “fifty-one and a half,” she said, which means your mother could be 80 … you might even have teenagers at this time. Even if there is no such thing as menopause, your life is very stressful at that time,” she said.
Still, as the last chapter asks and answers, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just a matter of getting through six or seven years of hormone changes which may cause night sweats, the urge to declutter, memory loss, loss of libido, VA (look it up), weight gain, leaking, and a host of other side effects. This book is a roadmap of sorts filled with information on how to avoid the potholes, embarrassing situations and difficult conversations with friends and family – even husbands – along the way.
“Period. The End” is available at amazon.com and on the Kindle.