Aside normal tantrums and emotional blackmails boys and girls dish out to their parents, children are cool. They are carefree. They play together, eat together, fight one another, get angry and reconcile before anyone knows it. But from age 9 – 13, something major hits the girl-child that is beyond her comprehension. Her first emotional hit is puberty.
During puberty, girls develop breasts, wider hips, and begin to menstruate. Even though some girls were taught about such changes before hand, many are not mentally prepared for the mood swings that accompany it. They grow taller and may put on some weight. Some produce stronger body odour and may develop acne and pimples.
Few days before her menstrual flow, girls experience Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) which is characterised by anxiety and bloating, mood swings, cramps, and pains. Women become more sensitive and even cry more easily. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that about 85 percent of women experience at least one symptom of PMS every month.
Most women experience common problems like abdominal cramps and pain. However, whether the pain is mild or severe, period-induced pain can cloud your cognitive function. While some women have heavy flow, others have normal or just droplet and for between 3 to 5 days every month. She goes through this till she’s 45 or 50 years when menopause hits.
Between 20 to 30 years, most women are married and pregnant. Her whole body takes a new shape. It is swollen with raging hormones. Some pregnant women suffer depression. The hormones in a woman’s body can influence her moods and actions throughout pregnancy. It affects her emotions, thought processes and even physical well-being.
Then comes labour pains during child-bearing. Some women lose their lives while going through this process. Some go under the knife and are torn wide open during caesarean sessions. Others get episiotomy, a cut around the vagina to widen the place for babies to come out, while others deliver safely.
Some women suffer Postpartum Depression after delivery. An appreciable percentage of new mothers experience ‘Baby Blues’ which is an emotional state of unhappiness, tearfulness, worry, self-doubt, and fatigue. This baby blues typically begins a few days after delivery and go away on its own within a week or two.
However, some feelings become unusually intense and last longer than two weeks. Once this baby blues goes on for more than 2 weeks, then it could be something more serious like Postpartum Depression (PPD). Signs of PPD include extreme sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, crying all the time, loss of interest or lack of enjoyment in her usual activities and hobbies.
Some women also experience trouble falling asleep at night, or trouble staying awake during the day, loss of appetite or eating too much, unintentional weight loss or weight gain, overwhelming feelings of worthlessness or overpowering guilt, restlessness or sluggishness, and feeling that life isn’t worth living.
Some women who suffer from Post Partum depression may be irritable or angry. They keep avoiding friends and family. They worry excessively about their babies. They may also be uninterested in their babies, or unable to care them. They may feel exhausted that they are unable to get out of bed for hours. In rare cases, some women with PPD experience delusional thoughts or hallucinations and may harm their babies or themselves.
Menopause is another stage in a woman’s life that comes with its own issues. During the transition to menopause, women experience major hormonal shifts. At this time, they are most likely than usual to experience depression. It affects women differently than other types of depression, causing anger, irritability, poor concentration, memory difficulties, low self-esteem, poor sleep and weight gain.
Mood swings occur at this time too and can be hard to manage too. However, mood swings can also be triggered or intensified by other lifestyle factors and habits. A woman all her life is going through phases of emotional stress that she cannot control because she even doesn’t know why she can’t control her own emotions. She either tears up easily, or yells, act withdrawn, distanced, gloomy or just wish to be left alone.
While women are battling with what nature dished for them, men must learn to appreciate and tolerate women because they are going through things they cannot understand. Don’t just call your woman a drama queen or an attention seeker, she’s fighting many invisible battles and sometimes she displays those emotions to keep her sanity in check.
The life of a woman is a journey, and you need to walk a mile in her shoes to understand her, through all these pain she still wears a big smile even when her emotion is saying otherwise, she loves unconditionally, even when she is hurting. Respect your woman. To be a woman is not a day’s job, it’s a life time of battles from within. You have to understand your woman.