– “I feel terrible,” a client said, “my period used to be so regular, for years & years! Now I skip periods, I bleed for 2 weeks straight, I am irritable, I don’t know what to expect…”
– “THIS is the nature of Peri-Menopause” I said, admitting the truth of the matter.
Peri-Menopause is a river you need to cross: Predictable cycles, periods that come like clockwork (or close enough) – are but One Bank of the river. Menopause is the Other Shore.
In order to CROSS the RIVER – you have to jump into the water!
There is no bridge over it. There is no tunnel under it. There is no way around it. You have to get wet! You need to swim with a strong currents…
You need to expect turbulence…
You need to surrender to this unpredictable, surprising, ever-changing river we call Peri-Menopause.
Unpredictability is not the enemy!
Unpredictability in itself is not painful, nor “bad”. It is simply calling you to face each moment freshly, without expectations…
Peri-Menopause is calling you to learn how to expect the unexpected.
To Join the Unknown it rather than fight it.
To become humble in the face of Not Knowing…
This is hard to do after decades of bleeding, in which you knew exactly what to do. You found your own rhythm with your monthly cycles, whether they were coming like clockwork or not. You had supplies. You had a routine. You had it covered!
How does it feel to be a Novice again?
It’s probably uncomfortable. Yet it doesn’t have to be painful. There is no need to suffer. Only to MEET the INTENSITY and look it in the eye!
When you welcome the unexpected, you can begin to relax into it. If you know that your periods will be unpredictable for a while, your body doesn’t need to fight you in order to get your attention.
You begin to roll with the punches.
You realize that you are a Wise Woman in the Making.
It takes courage, resilience, and willingness to change. Cultivating these — is what Peri-Menopause will help you do, if you dare make eye contact with the unknown!
Just have to share my experience: I have been in the middle of this river you describe but without realising?!?!.
I’m 43, mother of 3 (8, 10 & 19 years old), and I seem to be post-peri-menopausal (you see? I don’t know where I am!)
I consider myself to be in touch with my body, cycles and my womanhood, have been in touch since my puberty, I think, and I have always considered myself healthy, striving for healthier.
My 40th birthday came and I embraced it, I loved it, it felt the best time of my life. It felt as me settleing into adulthood, specially womanhood, it was only 3 years ago!!!
Although I saw my cycles changing after each pregnancy, after the last one I saw my periods getting regularly and gradually (but slighty) shorter (less days between bleeding, but about same flow).
Around 38 years old (3 after birthing my last child), during a period of high stress in my life my period started getting irregular. I identified that, as my period have gotten much shorter than before my last child, I was having a missing period every 4-5 months (I have recorded all my periods since my last child as I was practicing family planning method of contraception -if anyone would be ever interested in use it for studying it’s available). Also, every about 5-6 months I would have two periods within 1 of the regular periods I used to have before.
Was I in denial? No! It just didn’t make sense to think of peri- menopause!
My sole worry was if I was pregnant.
Then life stress, moved across hemispheres twice, didn’t see my husband (sexual intercourse) for longer periods at times, all factors expected to slightly change my cycle.
So, did I suspect peri- menopause? No!
I even changed the type of condoms to more natural ones, as I was noticing the effects of the lubricant (and spermicides) the regular ones had.
My mother started noticing changes in her period only at 52 years old. Because she was in the middle of intensive training in athletics it was recommended that she do hormones replacement, which she did. Her cycles continued normally until she was 60 years old, when she went to the gynecologist to ask him if he thought she should be stopping by now. He agreed, she stopped, her bleeding disappeared with no sign until now (she’s 77 years old now). No emotional imbalances, no physical signs: no sweats, nothing, she still looks like my not much older sister! Our cycles could be said have been pretty similar in patterns and flow, starting age etc.
So how was I going to suspect that right when I turned 43, last November, I was going to have my last bleeding?
My health, according to my general practitioner (and all the blood tests results she ordered) is in top condition. Just high levels of hormones, which only reason they say (giving that all other tests are so good) is menopause.
7+ months now with no bleeding!
I’m I in denial? I don’t know!
After the 4th month without bleeding I started noticing physical signs: hot sweats (which I first naively thought were a sign of good lymphatic chance to detox, which it is, but…), acne (almost as bad it was in puberty/early periods), and this feeling as if I’m in this eternal period-about-to-come state.
During my bleeding years it was clear to me that the two days before and during my bleeding days my body was working as an open wound, letting the blood surge to the edges of the wounded skin to heal, seal, expel any alien body or substance (as it would in an “infection”). And always during the last day of bleeding, each cycle, all wounds were healed immediately. Wounds dried and new skin surfacing. Literally and emotionally.
So I’m left right there in this instant: slightly swollen, wounds are taking almost 3 times to heal, and now my breast is swollen too!
About hot flashes: I happen to have the theory that they are not as random as they are said to be: I mostly can related them to the equivalent blush feeling, like when a vase almost falls from your hands, when you stop just in time before crossing the road when a car was coming, or the sudden realisation you left the house keys inside after closing the door. Just that the circumstances when it happens (and the prolonged sensation) wouldn’t make sense in the rest of your life: just now during peri-menopause/menopause.
And then the emotions: wow! There are some days that for several hours I feel this intense depression (but not as suffering it, more like I’m the witness of feeling it, knowing that I’m ok after all) or same with sadness, frustration, anxiety, etc.
Am I in my menopause or at least almost there? I don’t know!
Part of me, when I didn’t have any other option than to suspect it, want to embrace it, as naturally and in full as I have received and lived the rest of my womanhood experiences.
The other part of me can’t believe it, it doesn’t make full sense to my instincts.
It might make sense logically, sometimes I feel that the sense is that I have live a full life, and I was early-ish in many aspects of it, so why not?
It might make sense that as my role in the community seemed to have been of guiding others, somehow, my third stage is manifesting.
It makes sense that I’ll be happy to be done with it and be well and stable earlier than most women I know.
It makes sense in my life right now the theory I read somewhere that my body might be saving my last ovules in this last stage of my bleeding life (although I expected it to be 10 years longer!).
I guess I’m ready to embrace it, but only when it’s certain. Funny, right?
I know it’s not that early, but it’s still very early to me, and after all, I sound as a woman who can’t accept natural course of life and I don’t like sounding like that.
I am even writing to you right now with the secret hope you have an idea I haven’t hear of that would explain where I am and why!