September 6, 2016


This not being old, sort of being old thing is so much fun. I’m too old to have a baby (socially, mentally), but I’m too young to be free from worrying about pregnancy. My body (and my mind) is in flux. I’m traveling through a wonderfully, glorious time in my life dubbed, perimenopause.

When we reach our early or pre-teens, we’re plagued with a monthly siege of pain and discomfort that ushers us into womanhood. We experience raging hormones and PMS—Pissed at Men Syndrome for some, Premenstrual Syndrome to others. Then, for the next 35-odd years (and roughly 455 periods), we spend that time either trying to, or trying not to get pregnant.

When you’re done making that decision, and life rolls merrily along, your body kind of reverses itself. And Bam! Hormones! Again! Only this time, they’re not the oh-that-boy-is-so-cute-I-can’t-stand-it kind, but something entirely different.

Visits to my doctor now include talks about my cycle. Am I tired, moody, anxious, sleeping well? Am I experiencing night sweats, vaginal dryness, or a low libido? Now let’s hop on that scale. Shall we?

Perimenopause can last between 5 and 10 years as the estrogen in your body makes its slow exit. Going to bed at 9:00 and waking at 4:00 becomes normal. Your monthly “friend” isn’t as friendly as she once was because you never know if she’s coming, how long she’ll stay, or what kind of mood she’ll be in. You’re hot, then cold, then hot again. And… well, I’ll spare you any further details. When I first read the book Our Bodies, Ourselves, I think they glossed over this part.

But the best part, the ultimate kick in the pants, is that your brain becomes foggier than any coastal town. We’re all doing too much, and it’s normal to be forgetful, but this is different. Where did I put my glasses? Did I just say something? Why did I come in here? These are normal, everyday occurrences that frustrate me to no end.

This is the reward we get for YEARS of wearing a sweatshirt around your middle because of an accident, of running off to the nurse’s office during school because you think you’re dying, of buying several sets of clothes throughout your life to fit over a bulging middle (pregnant or not), and of keeping companies who manufacture the products we desperately need each and every month in champagne and caviar. Forget gold. Invest in feminine products!

I’m told that once I reach my mid-fifties, things will be good again. Those nasty little hormones apparently fade into the background, sated and giggling the whole time.

P.S. You may also like Life in My 40s and Stress and Anxiety Triggers.


Susan said...

This made me laugh out loud. I'm right there with you and it is indeed a wonderfully glorious time!


Anonymous said...

Wow! You totally nailed it!! This has been my life for the past year and a half!! Not fun!!

Anonymous said...

It's so not funny, but you made it so. Thanks!

Kimberly Merritt said...

I'm with you, ladies. Sometimes a sense of humor is the only way to get through it all.

Wendy E Wrzos said...

Hi Kim, I just read this, and I am right there with you! At 52 my body doesn't know what the heck it is doing. I can relate to everything that you wrote, and I think a sense of humor has to be amped up in order to cope. I can't even tell you the conversations my friends and I have about our boobs (what happened to them, and how to prop them up :-)

Reading peri and menopause formums has convinced me that everything that is happening is "normal", but nothing is normal anymore :-)

Thank goodness we can all go through it together!

- Wendy