I received What Fresh Hell is This? as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It publishes June 1, 2021.
What Fresh Hell is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You came to my attention following emmalita’s positive review of it earlier this month. The title alone intrigued me, what fresh hell is this is something I say in my day-to-day life, so an author that chose to use it as their title would very likely be an author I’d want to read. That the book was about perimenopause was (almost) secondary.
I’m probably not in perimenopause yet (based on the evidence I’m most likely in my Late Reproductive phase where things start to go a little haywire from what they’ve been the past couple decades), so why would this book be something that I would want to read? The answer is simple: it’s coming for me. I’m a person with a utero-ovarian system which means this is an inevitability. Also, like everyone else, I’m living in a reality where the patriarchy has pathologized natural occurrences in the body systems of people with uteruses (or otherwise experiencing menopause). Information is quite literally power in situation surrounding our health, and as I experience some of the things that are hallmarks of perimenopause its time to get informed.
And what a fun time it was getting informed. What Fresh Hell is This? is health-forward, feminist, empathetic and practical guide that offers straightforward descriptions of what is happening in our bodies and how it effects our minds and lives. Sex educator Heather Corinna (they/them) gives practical, clear information that also includes affected populations who have long been left out of the discussion, those with disabilities, queer, transgender, nonbinary and other gender-diverse people, the working class and other marginalized folks. The inclusivity of this book goes to the length of including an appendix written by Joanne Mason about menopause as experienced by people who were born with testicular systems.
The whole book isn’t for me right now, but it will be for me eventually. There was an incredible amount of useful information, and just good level setting provided that reminded me to do what I can for myself to make this transition easier as it comes (or at least less confusing and scary). If nothing else Corinna’s ten points for managing stress are worth the time investment, but the book has so much more to offer.
For those interested, the top 10 for managing stress:
- Take on fewer things
- Deal with your tough stuff, especially any trauma and its impacts.
- Give less of a fuck.
- Insist other people manage themselves.
- Take out the trash. (Whatever the garbage in your life is, try and find a way to get it out of your life, head, or heart.)
- Move, rest, and pursue positive social interactions, even if they’re tiny.
- Do things you like that help you relax your body and your mind.
- Whatever it is, take a break from it.
- Close the stress cycle.