We promised you that to celebrate World Menopause Month, we would be bringing you all things menopause in October – so today, I’m going to share five things I wish I knew before I went through menopause.
Shockingly, I started into perimenopause shortly after I turned 40 and now, at 49 I have been in full menopause for a couple of years. It took me by surprise and I was probably the first of all of my friends to head into the “change.” I consider myself “experienced” because I know exactly what I wish I knew before I went through menopause – so here you go!!
1. It Sneaks Up on You
The first thing I wish I knew before I went through menopause is that it sneaks up on you. The first time you miss a period you might not even notice. Or you might still be getting your period, but one night you might wake up soaking wet and having to change your pjs.
A month later it happens again, but slightly different – so you don’t really connect the dots. Your skin gets a little rough but you chalk it up to the weather. Coincidentally you feel a little extra cranky with your kids and don’t think anything of it. This is how it happens.
I wish someone had told me that I would still feel young and vibrant when things would start to change. I wish they told me that even though I was quickly running out of good eggs, I would still feel like (if I wanted to) I could have another baby. I would not connect the dots that various things happening in my body meant menopause. I would have loved it if someone said – this is what perimenopause looks like – and it happens to young women like you.
2. You might feel differently about S E X 🙂
I wish someone had told me – and even given my husband a heads up – that things in the bedroom could change. I wish someone had told me that I might feel a little BLAH about that part of my life for a while. I would have appreciated the tap on the shoulder that -” hey, you are NOT going to want to do THAT even though your feelings for your partner are still there.”
AND I wish I was given the right words to explain this overwhelming feeling to my husband with out him feeling like I just wasn’t interested any more.
Because those conversations are hard. Those conversations are just as hard as feeling like you don’t know your own body and what it is doing anymore.
3. You might mourn your fertility
Ok – this is a weird one. I knew I didn’t want anymore children after our daughter (#3) was born. I had no thoughts of ever giving birth again. I had what I thought was the “perfect” number of kids. I was happy. But still – I was surprised by the crazy, sad feeling I had knowing that it was impossible to have any more children in my life. And even more crazy, was the thought that I was too old – and that nature had decided that for me. It made me think compassionately of women who have to confront this reality unexpectedly, when they are young women.
It’s a funny dichotomy. We spend so much of our life trying to prevent pregnancy, and suddenly we find ourselves in a place where it is suddenly impossible and we are sad about it.
I really did not expect to have any thoughts around my ability to bear more children. This is just one of the weird things I wish I knew before I went through menopause.
4. Family Inoculation
Inoculation: The act or an instance of inoculating, especially the introduction of an antigenic substance or vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.
HA HA – yes, it is time to inoculate the family. Here is another thing I wish I knew before I went through menopause. I really wish someone had told me to sit down and talk to my family about what I would be going through in the coming years. I know it sounds weird – but think of it. When our kids go through puberty, we KNOW. And we are educated and prepared for the things that come with it. We are prepared for the changes in their skin, their body odour, their appearance. Doesn’t it make sense that we would take the time to be educated about menopause?
YES! I wish I had sat my family down and said – “sometimes I will be crazy. Sometimes I will strip down to a tank top and be flushed and sweaty. Sometimes I will lose my shit over something you think is insignificant. And sometimes I will forget why I entered a room. Get used to it and support me!”
Maybe if I had prepared them – inoculated them – they would be immune to my crazy?
5. You DON’T have every “googled middle age disease”
Of course, as we age we all worry about our health. It is natural and normal to make sure you are on top of how you are feeling and changes in both your mental and physical health. But let me tell you – going through menopause, I must have googled every possible disease / disorder related to all the various symptoms I experienced, because I was convinced I was dying or experiencing symptoms of a life altering illness.
Well – it WAS life altering and is WAS perimenopause. And I’m not suggesting you ignore, or poo – poo any symptoms but much of what is happening is good ol’ menopause.
Forget mid-conversation what you were talking about and struggle to get back on track? Yup – I was convinced I had early onset Alzheimers. And I was seriously worried about it. I even forgot words (and still occasionally do) for simple items or names I use on the daily.
As it turns out – all the various (and copious symptoms) I was googling were all related to menopause. And I really wish I had spent all that google time online shopping 🙂
We get it – perimenopause / menopause can be scary and totally take you off your game. But – if you are just heading into this time in your life – keep these five things I wish I knew before I went through menopause to heart.
Check out one of our fav resources, Hello Perry, for all things menopause HERE
AND – we have so many other blog posts on menopause and perimenopause. Check out some of our favs.