The other big M

For so long there I happily blogged about motherhood, about babies, birth, raising kids, and all manner of bad parenting. Then I blinked and the next thing I know I’m over the moon at being a newly minted mother in law while suddenly having to Google pre menopause because I feel like I’m losing my sanity, all at the same time.

Let’s face it, right now this blog should probably be called something like Elastic waistbands, mood swings, and a hot cup of tea.

The thing is I don’t feel ready for menopause, not that I imagine anyone ever does, which is just as well I suppose because I’m not quite there yet. But you know what sucks hard? The fact that the lead up to menopause, known as perimenopause, can last anywhere up to fifteen years. So basically no sooner has the modern woman finished having kids sometime in her late thirties or early forties than she’s hit with awesome symptoms that usually look something like this:

  • Hot flashes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Worse premenstrual syndrome
  • Lower sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex
  • Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
  • Urinary urgency (an urgent need to urinate more frequently)
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping

Kind of like PMS three weeks out of every month instead of just one.

And can I just say that I don’t think I’m ready for this next stage of being a woman?

I was fine when it all started, and eventually I even became a bona fide crunchy earth goddess type who thought having periods was akin to having a superpower, but a really cool one that let you grow actual humans. I never thought of it as a curse, and never bemoaned how hard it was being a woman or any of that.

I welcomed labour and swayed and rocked and panted through contractions, screamed and lost my shit whenever I had to start pushing that real live human out of my body, and always marveled at how amazing it all was. I was all kinds of smug and used to feel sorry for my husband that he’d JUST NEVER EVER GET IT.

But while I try to celebrate almost everything that it is to be a woman, I just really want to take a pass on all this perimenopause bullshit.

Because apart from all the awesome physical symptoms listed above, it’s such a mind fuck having to face the fact that you’re not young anymore.

I have, quite a few times lately, broken down and cried to my husband that I’m feeling old all of a sudden. Like, a genuine hysterical-tears-and-sobbing-breakdown. Because the fact is that even though I can dye my hair and wear nice clothes and slap on some red lippie, my body is making it crystal clear: I am getting old. I may not be considered old by some, but I definitely wouldn’t be considered young by many people either.

Except maybe by the sweet old lady who asked me in Woolies this morning where the help desk was because she was walking in with purchases from other stores, and how would they know that she wasn’t stealing anything because no-one has price stickers on anything anymore and now they don’t even give you a bag so maybe she should show them what she walked in with first…

Anyway.

I think I saw “easily distracted” and “inability to focus” on a list of symptoms too.

I also saw something somewhere about perimenopause offering up elevated levels of some hormone I’ve never even heard of which increases hunger signals and cravings. Now, I know that I’ve embraced, but I do still want to nourish my body in a loving and healthy way, so I don’t need my own brain trying to convince me that what I really want is chocolate and Maccas.

And memory loss is another one I already have and don’t need getting any worse.

I’m currently batting seven out of eleven of the above symptoms, and I’m scared.

Scared of how not only I’ll survive the next ten years but also how my family are supposed to cope with this latest version of me, who swings wildly between psycho killer levels of anger and basket case level sobbing and depression.

And there I was thinking all my sadness and anger came from having shitty parents.

😉

But you know what the most annoying, absolute worst part of this whole thing really is? The fact that there are no good memes or GIF’s about perimenopause because ONLY YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO MAKE THE FUCKING THINGS.

Give me strength indeed.

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