Menopause or I don’t want to die

Just as I had really started enjoying the summer of my life, with my little boy, my farm, my lovely husband, I turned into a raging Monster with a heart and soul black and dark and thick with anger and frustration.  Then the hot flushes started.  And still I didn’t have the sense to marry the two together.  I blamed toddlerdom (even though I have an angel child), Ged and the world at large.  My marriage almost didn’t survive the onslaught.  I couldn’t believe that Menopause could happen to me aged only 45.  We wanted another child . . . every time last year my period came later and later I was convinced I was pregnant.  I didn’t see the writing on the wall … didn’t even know there WAS writing on the wall.

I thought menopause happened in your fifties, not your forties.  I thought I was in my prime, not starting the steady decline to death.  I thought anything was possible and the world was my oyster.  Instead my ovaries were shutting down, changing me forever from woman to wasteland of broken dreams, lost opportunities and babies terminated before they ever had a chance to become.

Menopause is a bitch.  The mood swings, the violent rages welling up from nowhere, no reason and no way to control them.  The hot flushes which take over and rule my life.  The feeling of being ill and at the mercy of something so far beyond my control as to make me look like King Canute trying to stop the waves . . . The constant pain in my uterus, the grief – the endless waves of grief as I farewell my child bearing years, the little girl I didn’t get to have and hold, the sense of myself as young, that glorious feeling of ripe fertility only possible in late pregnancy, the sense of limitless possibilities . . .

All of a sudden I, who have duelled and diced and danced with death so many times in my lifetime and have longed to fall into his peaceful embrace am screaming and sobbing ‘I don’t want to die’.  Clearly one has to see one’s one ultimate destiny and the steady decline towards it unblinkered in order to appreciate just how precious this life, and every moment in it, is.

After all, we don’t know what is going to happen next.  I was flirting with the idea of getting pregnant again, not taking it that seriously, thinking I had plenty of time . . .

Baby is dying too.  She has Cushings and she is going downhill fast.  So I am also screaming and sobbing ‘I don’t know how or who to be without Baby’ and ‘please don’t go’ and ‘just one last summer together please’.  I’m letting go of babies real and ethereal – those who are and those who were never meant to be . . .

You see, I was so busy being busy, so determinedly procrastinating, saving the fun and enjoyment and play til some  ‘later’ in the ever diminishing future when all the work is done that I didn’t realise that we have to have fun NOW because we just don’t know what tomorrow may bring and the greatest gift we can give anyone, can share with anyone, can spend is TIME.  Sweet, precious, limited, ever ticking time.

Like Peter Pan before me, I never wanted to grow up.  I succeeded pretty well.  I only ever thought of myself as grown up last year and now it appears I am old, dried up, used up, washed up.  Old before my time with creaking joints and sore, tired muscles and wrinkles like clothes left too long in the dryer.

I didn’t know this was around the corner.  I never imagined how debilitating, depressing and daunting this particular female rite of passage could be.  It feels like transition in labour – totally out of control, completely uncomfortable, sick making, overwhelming and I’m trying to stand on the merry go round, yelling ‘I didn’t sign up for this, let me off!’

Why the code of silence Women?  Why don’t we talk about this, map the stages and ages of our ovaries and life’s passages so we know what to expect, when and how to wear and bear it.

The addict in me is appalled at how many pills I am taking at the moment.  And how many I seem to need.  My naturopath says ‘why not?’ and ‘stop fighting it, this is beyond your control.’  But really I would rather just ride it out and get it over with.  But I can’t.  I have a little boy to look after.  A little boy of three who knows what a hot flush is, where the fan is, and hates having to have all the car windows open while I ride one out.

I have to try and manage and mitigate and massage some of my moods into something resembling normality.  For my own sanity.  For my child’s future psychological health.  For Ged’s peace of mind.  If only I could sleep how much better would all our lives be . . .

I completely understand why my Mother’s generation took HRT.  Instead I am on red clover, licorice, zizyphus, vitamin E, iron, B6, zinc, st john’s wort, the occasional kava, some sort of anti stress pill and who knows what from my acupuncturist.  The grief I can handle, the physical symptoms are driving me mad . . .

No man could handle menopause.  No woman ought to have to.  It’s too much, too soon, I’m not ready, can’t cope and don’t want to die . . . .

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