You know when you know that something has changed with your body? Since having two kids back to back, this is to be expected. Hormones go berserk, your hair changes (drastically, if you’re like me) your bones shift, things widen, things get softer…all stuff we must learn to embrace and feel good about.
To shout from the rooftops, “I’m a mother…with stretch-marks and skin sag and a generously plump posterior and my hair is falling out, but YES! I am beautiful! Becasue I am a mother! These are my marks of the almighty beauty of MOTHERHOOD!”
And all that hear me roar and empowerment jazz. Which I get. We should feel beautiful (because essentially we are) and carve out some space in our hearts to really and truly love the skin we are in. To support each-other as we struggle with our body images, in the quest to kick media-at-large in the ass for all the harm she/he has done…
It’s just that there are some days when all of that is a bunch of bull roar to me. Sometimes, I can’t scrape up enough self determination to feel all those things I should be feeling. There are many days when it just is what it is. When the mirror doesn’t lie and brutal honesty is heavily tied to my own ideals of self-worth. Then, the feminist in me brazens about, proud of my marks, my brain, my heart.
I’d be lying if I said that’s all that matters to me. To say that I am such a true feminist who believes that beauty has nothing to do with looks.
There I said it.
I like how I used to look. The slightly more svelte contours and curves of my body. I want them back. It’s been up until quite recently that I thought all it would take is hitting the trails and running hard. Less culinary indulgencies. Except there has been this tiny thing call perimenopause getting in the way. I know, right?
I know something is really changing in my body, (beyond the regular after kids stuff) but no one seemed to be listening, at least as far as doctors go. My chiropractor is behind me, so at least there’s that. The exhaustion, headaches, low libido, nasty hot flashes (SO lucky); are all signs of both perimenopause and menopause. Then there’s the intense mood swings and bouts of depression.
There are some days when I can barely crawl out of bed. But I do.
Those hot flashes we’ve all heard about? Now I get it. Feels like you’re suffocating, like you want to crawl out of your skin. My entire body becomes engulfed in the haze of intense heat, I become clammy, nauseous and shaky. Insomnia. Night sweats. Every single sign that points to pre-menopause. Fun stuff.
These are not things I can’t just easily hurdle over, I’ve got to just figure out how to live with them, like so many other women who are lucky enough to suffer from the many affects of perimenopause. Not all do. This pre-menopausal stage lasts around four years. Blood work will be able to tell if I am actually going through full-on early menopause, which I doubt.
What Does This All Mean (To Me) As a Mother?
I’ve been asking myself this daily. Last night, right after dinner – I experienced a hot flash so intense I had to sit outside for 20 minutes of relief before I could crawl back inside. I was supposed to be playing with my kids. My partner then took them for our weekly library trip because I simply wasn’t up to it. Not cool. Sure, sometimes, it’s good to have time alone. This is not that. The frequency with which it is occurring is an obstacle which I must overcome. I will not allow this to continue to re-define how I am with my kids, as it has been.
Then there’s the looming thought of….4 years of this pre-stage? I suppose I better get to making that third baby – except for the small problem of my partner not ready to go there yet. Or perhaps ever. This just puts a time crunch, a sense of urgency (for me) on an already sensitive and delicate matter.
When I first started researching all of these signs (which is a dangerous thing to do, never self diagnose from the internets – why is that so popular?), you can bet I hightailed it to back to the doctor and demanded to get some blood work done. Now, I wait. Until then, what I do know is this: I will not be defined by any of this.
I have a beautiful family, a supportive and loving partner and thankfully, enough moments during the day wherein I feel fine, effortlessly. I’m no stranger to focus, determination and survival. Bring it. It could be much, much, worse, right?
If you, like me, are experiencing these symptoms…get off the internet and hightail it to the doctor. Chance are slim that you are experiencing early menopause, but your rights are your rights. Demand to be heard.
Top Image Credit: Change of Life
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