A while ago now I lashed out and bought a whole month's worth of Modibodi period-proof underwear. I first tried them a year or so ago and have definitely been converted. I'm about to overshare, so go and get a cup of tea if you want, but I've mainly used sanitary napkins my whole life.
Back in the late 1970s, when I got my first period at the age of 12, tampons came with those weird applicator things and my relationship with my mother was never going to involve discussion of actually putting a finger in anywhere to insert anything.
Forty-odd years later it almost seems ridiculous for me to be still thinking about menstruation, when the other m word - menopause - should be the consuming agenda.
But no. My body has other ideas and month after month I'm reminded that in Mother Nature's eyes at least I am still a luscious viable woman, capable of bearing life. Yeah right. So I bought the pants, they arrived a few days after a period, and then nothing for the next eight weeks. Just my luck, I thought, buy these pants, and then finally I am menopausal.
I don't know why I'm so keen to get there, menopause is painted as a horrid time full of hot flushes, mood swings, loss of libido, weight gain. But it's going to happen so we need to be prepared for it.
In a recent podcast former first lady Michelle Obama started a discussion about menopause, talking about how she once had a hot flush aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, before an event with her husband.
Obama, 56, called on society to acknowledge and have a greater understanding of the issues which affected menopausal women; which is all well and good but perhaps first women need to have some conversations and become better informed themselves.
In an upcoming Zoom event - Break the Taboo: let's talk about menopause - author and ambassador for the Older Women's Network in NSW Caroline Baum is hosting a panel of medical experts and regular women who might do just that - start a conversation.
"Menopause is going to happen to all women in some shape or form," Baum says.
"But I know who are peri-menopausal don't want to face up to what may be just round the corner. The earlier women understand the changes that are natural parts of ageing, the better prepared they can be in all aspects of their professional and personal lives."
Joining Baum are medical sex therapist Dr Margaret Redelman, pharmacist Negar Almassi and former triathlete Jo Pybus, and Baum promises an open and frank discussion where participants will be able to ask questions, get advice and share experiences.
Dr Redelman says the most misunderstood aspect of menopause is that we think it will be the same for every woman.
"Recognising that each woman is unique and can experience this normal life event differently is crucial," she says.
"Also because it is a normal function in the life cycle that somehow you should be just be able to cope with it."
She said the stigma around menopause comes from "the cohort of women's stuff, genital stuff, mental stuff and sexual stuff - we're not good as a society talking about any of these."
One aspect the seminar will address is vaginal dryness. "Some of menopause is much easier to talk about than the rest, the brain fog, fatigue, weight gain and hot flushes, they are all out in the open much more these days," says Baum.
"But what is not talked about are the symptoms that are more intimate, those that can, by inference, reflect on a person's ongoing sexual activity.
"So if you say you've stopped having sex, then it looks like your relationship is on the rocks, whereas in fact it may be because sex is now painful due to vaginal dryness and you have not felt comfortable telling your GP or anyone who can help. We have to find a way to talk about this physical condition without it feeling like an invasion of a couple's privacy."
She laughs and suggests that perhaps we need a catchy acronym for the vaginal symptoms of menopause - "something easy and neutral such as PTSD or DVT" - to say at the chemist, or the doctor, or when we're talking to our friends.
"Obviously VD is not going to work, but vaginal dryness is something we need to talk about, as are all the other things that might occur in menopause."
- Break the Taboo: let's talk about menopause will be held on Thursday, November 26, from noon to 1.30pm. To register for the free event head to eventbrite.com.au