In all seriousness

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.

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

10 Comments

  1. I’m kind of looking forward to having the choice taken away from me, because right now I just can’t make up my mind about what I want.But man, as soon as the decision is made, the breasts are coming off. Stupid bosoms.

  2. M: I’ve already talked to my AWESOME DOCTOR about this. Have I mentioned how AWESOME my doctor is? He’s AWESOME! Anyway, he did a bunch of hormone levels on me, and, like me, he is averse to HRT or any kind of hormone therapy, really. It’s not the physical aspects of perimenopause that bothers me. It’s not the aging process (I look forward to being a crazy old lady). It’s purely emotional and metaphysical. I *really* hate the idea of losing my fertility. I really, REALLY don’t like that.

  3. Man, I am all about the crone phase of my life and couldn’t possibly wait for it much longer. It isn’t sad, yes, it is an ending of your fertility, but it is the beginning of a period in your life where you hold a mantle only held by people who get to a point where aging begins. You hold wisdom now, an invaluable resource that you can impart to others. It could be perimenopause. They looked into that for me, but allegedly it isn’t. Again, same symptoms with no doctor doing anything about it. What about thyroid? There is also a condition called estrogen dominance that maybe you should look into if you can get a physician to actually do that. Large amounts of estrogen are just as harmful as low amounts of estrogen. Whatever phase you are in, you will find something wonderful about it. Menopause usually is looked at as women getting old which has never been looked upon favorably by pop culture. Just look at Hollywood. This is why it is rarely talked about. However, there are many many books out there about menopause and chatter is becoming more popular.

  4. I hope that you are not yet…just thinking of one woman I know who went through all kinds of symptoms, including the growth of a bit of a beard, which she, of course, loathed :)On the other side of things, I think I can understand what you are feeling. I think there may well be a grieving process with losing fertility. Now that you have me thinking about it..!…I will miss that *fecund* state as well. I loved being pregnant like nothing else I can explain…

  5. I’m not afraid of aging. I look forward to getting older, wiser, and more crotchety. I honour age……it’s the physical loss of fertility that bothers me, on a very philosophical level. Ever since the time I was very small…old enough to understand that women hold the cradle of creation within themselves, I longed to be that woman; I longed for that part of my life. Now that there is a good chance that I am entering a phase of the beginning of the no-longer fertile part of my life, and that is what makes me incredibly sad.

  6. Interesting that you’ve posted this today as I am fully into yet another symptom of perimenopause, that being tender breasts. I feel like I’m pregnant again! I’ve been experiencing symptoms for a few years now and I’m in my mid-forties. One day I will be through that door.I have no qualms about the Crone stage of my life, never had, but then I’ve been a serious student of images of women in the media for a few decades now and it strikes me as reasonable for women to fear menopause. The way crones are treated by the mainstream is really quite reprehensible. And yes, some grief is reasonable, too. But, like death, menopause is inevitable for most women.What really helped me to look towards it in a different light is the celebrations several of my Croning friends held when they reached their 50th or 60th birthdays. They held formal events and/or rituals to honour the passage. It’s so beautiful to witness! And so, when I Crone, you’re coming to my Croning Party, dear cenobyte!

  7. Penlan: < HREF="http://www.cenobyte.ca/images/soreneck.pdf" REL="nofollow">Here<> is a larger picture of Neck Sharks. They’re a terrible affliction. I suspect I picked it up in the tub.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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