time I hit my late 30-somethings, I thought my body was all out of
surprises. We'd been through puberty, pregnancy and childbirth together, and it
looked like the future of my reproductive system would be relatively
uneventful. I was settling in for the long haul, ready to explore the fun of
gray hair and having knees that sound like I'm pulling a sack of rocks down a
gravel road every time I go up the stairs. I was prepared to enjoy middle age
for a couple years before my body began its swirling descent into the madness
us had health classes in school that taught us about puberty. Birthing classes
are available for expecting moms. After that, we know menopause is coming down
the road at some point, but no one ever told me about the huge bump in that
road: perimenopause, the menopause you go through before you go through
around, and apparently I wasn't the only one out of the loop. My friends
weren't prepared for it either, and my husband actually suspected I was making
it up when I suggested it might be to blame for my PMS, which had suddenly
escalated into the realms of legitimate insanity.
doctor confirmed my horrible suspicions — and I decided to share what I'd
learned about the symptoms, in case your body was also going full-tilt crazy on
you and you weren't sure why, since, like me, you're obviously WAY TOO YOUNG to
be dealing with menopause yet.
Meh, you stopped wearing white clothes when your kid started using you as a napkin anyway.
To take the
sting out of it, though, I've explained the symptoms in terms all moms can
relate to. That way you'll know what to expect, and you'll also see it's nothing you haven't dealt with before — well, just
maybe not all at once.
flashes: Imagine being trapped inside a blanket fort with your kids. Except
the blanket is on fire.
heart: Just like that time your kid asked your conservative mother-in-law
where babies come from!
Fatigue: Oh, was that supposed to have let up at some point since our first baby was
leakage: Ditto "fatigue."
tenderness, nausea, anxiety: Yay, we get to relive the first trimester for
bleeding gums, indigestion: Yay, we get to relive the second trimester for
gain, incontinence, trouble sleeping: Yay, we get to relive the third
trimester for 4-10 years!
sex drive: Remember how NOT in the mood you were during those weeks between
birth and your postpartum checkup? Yeah, so that. Forever.
periods: Meh, you stopped wearing white clothes when your kid started using
you as a napkin anyway.
joints: That's nothing compared to a full day of playing airplane and
giving piggyback rides!
Insomnia: All the sleeplessness of baby's first year, but we're the only ones awake
to cry about it.
concentrating: I'm sorry, what were we talking about? My kids just came in
to tell me which episode of Spongebob they're watching and to ask what's for
dinner. Oh yeah, difficulty concentrating — moms are familiar with that.
mood swings: Ever heard of PMS? LOL.
of PMS: Did someone just say our PMS got worse? WE SAID IT WAS BEAUSE OF
PERIMENOPAUSE, OKAY??? SO. SHUT. UP.
loss, increase in facial hair: Honestly, haven't our toddlers already been
pointing that out to us for years?
I am not a doctor. I am just an aging, tired, semi-incontinent, irritable woman
who doesn't want other moms to be blindsided by what their bodies probably have
in store for them. Don't blame the messenger! Or had you already heard all
about perimenopause? If so, let us know in the comments if I left any symptoms