With all the talk of neck sharks and flying tanks, I’m rather glossing over something that’s been playing on my mind for about seven years. I’ve touched on it briefly here, now and then…but in lieu of strange health thingummies, it’s playing on my mind again.
In addition to the neck sharks and insomnia, I’m also experiencing a whole slough of symptoms that are generally associated either with being put on or withdrawal from antidepressants. Rapid and odd weight gain (15 pounds in about a week, without any *real* change in eating/activity habits), headaches (nearly constant headaches), fatigue (attributed to insomnia, really), general crampiness, and other kinds of oddness, including mood-related ones, and even digestive symptoms.
There are myriad conditions that carry these symptoms, or similar ones. One that I cannot overlook is perimenopause.
My grandmother was in her early forties when she went through menopause. My mother as well…possibly as late as her mid-forties. Now, both of them had other things going on (lung cancer that probably ‘took hold’ in their mid thirties; heavy tobacco use; heavy alcohol use; relatively little physical activity (not that I’m *that* much different in this area); sometimes questionable nutrition), but the fact remains, they ‘ripened’ somewhat early.
What bothers me about even thinking about this is that there is all kinds of support, excitement, information, education, and hooplah about young women *beginning* their menses. About the first transition in a woman’s life; from pre-fertility to fertility. It’s (supposedly) an exciting and transformative period in a young woman’s life. But the most they ever told me about the next transitional period was “and then, sometime in your fifties or sixties, your menses cease.”
Seven chapters in various ‘your body and you’ books for the first transformation, and one sentence for the second. That’s just marvy. Because here’s what I *want*. I want the next transformation in my reproductive life to be exciting. I want it to be another beginning. I want to celebrate the beginning of the next phase of my life. But I can’t. I don’t.
I look at what is going to be happening to me in the next ten years as something sad. It is an ending. In some ways, it is a termination of my youth. I look at it as a kind of lessening; without the ability to conceive, I will be somehow less of a woman.
And so I think of these things going on with my health with a certain trepidation. It is a change I can neither stop nor postpone. It is something I cannot escape or deny. I don’t care about the physical symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances (most of which can be addressed with subtle changes in diet, as evidenced by ‘menopause symptoms’ being an utterly unknown concept among women in some places); chances are good I’ll soldier through that. What I loathe thinking about, what I don’t want to acknowledge, is that someday (probably in the next ten years), I will cease to have the ability, even if I don’t wish to exercise the ability, to have more children.
I can’t really explain it very well. Let’s just say that I don’t look forward to the third stage of my life. I didn’t mind maiden; I’ve always been favoured of mother; and while crone looks good on other women, and while I really desperately *want* to embrace it, right now, I face it with sadness and some amount of disdain.