=Three Rules.= Here are a few pointers which have have been of help to a number of women:
1 Remember that this is a physiological process and therefore abundantly safeguarded by Nature. If you don’t expect trouble you will not be likely to find it.
2 Remember that the sweating and flushing are made worse by notice.
3 Do everything in your power to keep from the public the knowledge that you are no longer a potential mother. If you are past forty, do not mop your face or gasp for breath or carry a fan to the theater! Shun attention and fear, and you will be surprised at the ease with which the “change” is effected.
=Nature’s Last Chance.= While we are on the subject of the middle-aged woman, it may be well to mention a phenomenon sometimes noticed in the early forties. Often an “old maid” who has considered herself settled for life in her bachelor estate, suddenly takes to herself a husband. (I use the verb advisedly!) Mothers who have thought their child-bearing days long past sometimes find themselves pregnant. “The child of her old age” is not an uncommon occurrence. Unmarried women who have “kept straight” all their lives sometimes go down before temptation at this late time. There is a reason. It is as though Nature were making a last desperate attempt to produce another life before it is too late, speeding up all the internal secretions and flashing insistent messages throughout the whole organism.
It may help some woman who feels herself inexplicably impelled toward the male sex to know that she is not being “tempted by the devil” but merely driven by the insistent chemicals within her body. She is likely to rationalize and tell herself that it is too bad for a worth-while person like herself to leave no progeny behind her; or she may say, as one of my patients did when contemplating running away with another woman’s husband,—that she could make that man so much happier than his wife did, and that she really owed it to him as well as to herself. When a woman knows what is the matter with her, it makes it easier to bide her time and wait for the demands of Nature to subside. Chemicals may not be so romantic as love, but neither are they so melodramatic!
="Speaking of Operations."= Physicians are often called upon to diagnose some such vague symptom as pain in the abdomen, back and head; ache in the legs; constipation, or loss of appetite. Since the patient is very insistent that something shall be done, the physician may be driven to operate, even when he has an uneasy feeling that the trouble is “merely nervous.” Sixty per cent. of the operations on women are necessitated by the results of gonorrheal infection. Next in frequency up to recent date, have been operations for nervous symptoms which could in no way be reached by the knife. Only too often a nerve-specialist hears the tale of an operation which was supposed to cure a certain pain but which left it worse rather than better. It is a pleasure to see some of these pains disappear under a little re-education, but one cannot help wishing that the re-education had come before the knife instead of after it.