the fertility advocate

Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

The Peri-Menopause Surprise

I have had so many emotions around my menstruation. I remember when I was a young girl – they kind of thrilled me. Made me feel oh so sophisticated. Getting my period meant that I was a “woman”. Back then there were cramps, headaches, pimples and high emotions that all came with the monthly cycle. It was all apart of the high powered hormones of youth.

Later, when my periods came there was relief – I was sexually active and the show of monthly blood meant that my boyfriend, soon to be my husband and I was successful in our birth control efforts. It was not to long after that – just a handful of years when my relationship with my menstruation changed yet again. That was when we started to want to have children. That was the first time that my menstruation became my enemy and a part of my womanhood that I hated. When I felt the ache – it was not like a familiar friend – or a connection to my sexuality or mother earth. Instead my menstruation  sent alarm bells through my body and set my entire being on high alert.  At that point in my life – any signs of menstruation triggered sadness and grieving.

I am so glad that this time of my life is over – that I was able to build the family that I wanted through the help of IVF.  But my experience with infertility required me to go on a healing path to rebuild my relationship with my own body. Several of my fertility coaching clients are pregnant, and we are working on readjusting our feelings of feel and mis-trust with their bodies after years of infertility.  It is the same with some of my fertility coaching clients who are past child bearing – but are dealing with the legacy of infertility on their relationship with their bodies and their sexuality.  It is like we have some kind of weird post traumatic stress disorder.  But I digress!

I did finally make friends again with my body – and my menstruation.  I began to tune into signs that my body was telling me  with each cycle – and I learned to make room for my cycles in my life. I even began to value their appearance as a connection to the bigger world of nature around me. When I periods started to vanish in the years of peri-menopause, I actually kind of grieved their loss. I wasn’t sure at all about starting this “crone” period of my life.  I did all kind of reading on menopause, and learned that it didn’t actually start from one year to the date of your last period. So you have to go for 12 months before you are actually in menopause.

My girlfriends and I discussed this – we thought that kind of stunk, as you will never know until a year later what you last period is – so it is kind of hard to celebrate it properly! It looked like after my 50th birthday that my cycles were done – six months had passed and I was thinking that I had probably turned the menopause corner.  And then, out of no where – my old friend appeared.  No cramps, no nothing – just blood.

For a moment, I was disappointed to see my menstruation. I had no tampons in the house! I had stopped bying those. After all, I thought I was done – and I had started to embrace that.  And then, here we were again – with the 12 month countdown reset.

In the end – my menstruation has always had a mind of it’s own.  I wondered what it was trying to telling me by showing up again after all of these months? I wasn’t sure, but I suddenly had the desire for a great big hamburger!

About Pam Madsen
Talking, writing, educating and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years
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Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

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