Friday, October 18, 2013

not whispering about menopause

My last piece here was about breastfeeding. Interesting to look back and find new clarity and appreciation for what was, at the time, often frustrating and overwhelming.

But now I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum. Although smack in the middle of another hormonal shift.

Menopause. Or at least the time leading up to it.

My emotions have been shifting, my middle's been thickening, my boobs have been drooping. There are finally grey hairs on my head. The lines between my eyes never entirely go away. I see my mother's hands when I look at mine.

But, until this week, my period has been like clockwork. Perhaps a clock that runs a bit fast as for years now it arrives every 22/23 days. First day slow then bam: monster cramps and ridiculous flow for a day or so, then it tapers off for another two. Beforehand I feel swollen, sad, flirting at the edges of depression and despair at times. And then, everything lightens. That hormone shift, to me, is a bright light. A sense of relief. Comfort. Good will. I welcome my period and am grateful for the concrete sign that my body is working the way it should be.

This week, as I squeezed into pants and bemoaned the spotlight sized zit on my chin I realized it was just about that time. And then my period started, just a drip as if a faucet had been turned on but the water wasn't coming out full force yet.

This time though, the full flow never showed up. The cramps never hit. The relief and calm I invariably feel didn't happen. And so, days later, I'm sitting here still waiting. Knowing that this is it for now but still holding out hope that it was just a mistake, a glitch, that the blood will show up and I'll be back in my familiar cycle.


Trying to find stability in these changes is unsettling. Reminds me of those early days of motherhood, when my body felt like it was betraying me and I didn't know that all would be fine in the end.

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