Menopause. Don’t you just LOVE that word? The sound of it. The meaning of it. How we thought it would go. What we thought it would bring. Am I ringing any truths?
Add in the ‘I don’t have a mom’ factor. What a doozy.
I had no idea what my mother’s menopause was like or how old she was when she finished. I remember mom being highly upset with my dad for a very long time. My sister and I would commiserate how we thought they would be better off divorced. But they were obviously committed to their 1964 wedding vows, as they were married 44 years until my mother’s passing in 2008.
What my mother never told me, and what I have vowed I would tell my daughter: menopause sucks. It does.
It seriously makes you asexual. You know that you could forego all sexual activity until the day you die. You simply DON’T CARE. Been there done that way too many times. Joking aside, you do feel less feminine, and a lot less of who you used to be.
Physically speaking, what’s with the damn tire? Seriously, somehow the weight has managed to “tire-up” around my waist. I just don’t get it. You are no longer a 6, you are a 6-ish. No longer a medium, but a medium-ish.
And you thought how horrible your body looked when you were younger (like before menopause), and shit, what you wouldn’t do for that ‘horrible’ body back. Am I right?
Hot flashes. I remember when I was perimenopause, there was a direct correlation between hot flashes and missing periods. The more hot flashes I had, the less periods I got. The worst thing about them was how they interrupted my sleep. Still do. When was the last time you slept straight through the night? Can you remember that far? Was it before your first child? Wasn’t that like 25 years ago?
Those are just some of the physical aspects of menopause, not to be confused with aging: wrinkles, age spots, sallow skin, chicken skin, (not even going to bring up stretch marks from four kids), down yonder boobs, losing words and making up words (I do think this could also fall under the menopause category), and of course, grey hair. Geez, I went to my doctor today for a bi-yearly check-up, and she was asking if I peed when I coughed, sneezed, or laughed…. She told me to start doing Kegel exercises. Remember them from when you were pregnant? Just another thing for me to remember to do during the day, while I’m sitting here typing on my blog…
But the worst part is the mental and emotional state that menopause brings. The two years prior to menopause and the two years after… The worst years of your life. You begin to have anxiety, doubts, hate your husband because everything he says and does (or neglects to say or do), patience is gone. Things you used to be able to bite your tongue about, you can no longer stay silent. You worry about the stupidest things. So much sadness you think you may be depressed. You become a very insecure woman. You don’t even recognize yourself when you look inwards.
That’s the stuff I wished I could’ve picked up the phone and chatted with my mom about. To see if what I was going through was NORMAL, or if I was seriously whacked. Not having that sounding board that our moms provide us, probably made my menopause experience more weightful.
Now that I’m on the other side of the 2+ years, I have discovered that my husband is fully committed to our wedding vows (through good times and bad), and that life after your period is actually quite good.
Some lessons learned: nothing changes if nothing changes; don’t believe everything you think; and the newest version of yourself probably won’t be around for long so enjoy you while you can… before the next newest version of yourself emerges.