While my recent blog posts have been outward facing — examining the increasingly surreal fertility-obsessed world and the entrepreneurial fertility industry eager to cash in around it — this post, girlfriends, is kicking it old school.
Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite libation ’cause we’re going inside the girl tent.
The numbers don’t lie. Menopause confirmed: FSH: 151!
It might be the competitive person I am, but my first instinct upon getting the blood test results was to brag. Yeah, that’s right. 151. Top that.
Those who have followed my personal story know I long ago confronted emotional menopause. (Do you recall the days when I took some schadenfreude and gleefully patronized those who got a bit blue contemplating their ’empty nest‘ ? Perhaps a bit too snarky, I see now, but it felt really good at the time.)
As much as I love my life today, I still relate to that angst-ridden woman who once lived inside this body.
Today there’s no lamenting my loss of ovarian function. In fact, the physical symptoms of perimenopause have been more or less manageable since my flame-throwing uterine ablation a few years back. Not having to confront ‘Martha’ every 28 days during these past three years has been — in a word: BLISS!
Sarah perfectly summed it up with this blog post title: The Emancipation of Forgetting. That’s exactly what comes when the cycles stop. Last menstrual cycle? Beats me. In fact I had to go back to my blog and search out when exactly I had that ablation. I had completely lost track of the time. (FYI: July 2012.)
Unlike the hyper-ventilating anxiety I felt then confronting a waiting room full of pregnant women ahead of the uterus blasting discussion with my ob-gyn, last week the pregnant women barely rated a notice. If anything I felt a bit feisty. You wanna talk hormones, b^tches? let’s talk hormones — or the lack of them in my case.
It may be the change of seasons (or the changes taking place in my body), but I’ve found myself a bit pensive of late.
My fellow bloggers have fed my pensiveness, serving up a few ideas to feast upon:
- Back to Kinsey who writes about the ‘higher standard‘ we hold our once fellow ‘infertiles’ to, and how we often feel betrayed by them.
- Mali describes the resilience she’s fostered since coming to terms with her ‘no kidding’ life.
- Klara highlighted this mantra: “If you can’t fight, and you can’t flee, then flow.”
- Abby, meanwhile, beautifully portrays the complex grieving and release women in our community attempt to find amid the lack of cultural touchstones.
As Obie once wrote: “we are normal and our lives are normal and always were, we just lost our focus due to the overwhelming desire to procreate (which is also normal by the way). Now it’s time to process our grief and move on.”
Yes. Tough as it once was to confront and process my grief, it has served to make me stronger (yes, resilient). In doing so it has become much easier to look ahead and face change of all kinds.
To those newly on this path, I encourage you to explore the often disenfranchised grief and its accompanying epiphanies. Amid the complicated bio-psycho-social challenges thrust upon us, we often don’t even realize that we’ve lost our focus, our sense of self and our value.
Women who experience ‘premature empty nest syndrome’ or failed fertility are forced to confront the ‘what next‘ question Amel describes much earlier than many other women.
Rather than fear the ‘what next’ — embrace it.
You’ll find yourself further along (ahead of the pack so to speak) and able to roll with the next set of changes life has in store for you.