I can totally relate to the multitude of ailments and laughable (some not so laughable) situations common to women of “maturity”. Changes in hormones, mood-swings, random hot flashes, forgetfulness, unexplained weight gain and general tiredness are just a few of my personal favorites. Or how about trying to adjust to sex-drive changes or our body’s unpredictable responses to our partner? Sleep habits become complicated, digestive systems are compromised, and our medicine cabinets start looking like a fully stocked pharmacy. Some of our fives senses become more defined while some completely disappear. These are some of my daily treasures; some more recent while others have been evolving over the last couple years.
Hopefully this doesn’t sound like complaining, because although I may not love these changes, I’ve accepted them. It is, what it is. I know that with much wisdom, comes much age (experience). What does bother me, are some women’s perspective or assumptions about my age. Comments like, “You’re too young to understand what I am going through…” or “You just wait until you are my age, then you’ll see…” are very hurtful. They make me feel trivial and foolish, as if my experiences are completely invisible or invalid. Those types of comments assume there is no way that you and I could be a support to one another, share advice or funny stories. They also suggest I do not belong in your circle of friends or conversation. Being outside “the circle” is lonely and isolating.
I’m not an old mom but I’m not a young mom either. I believe I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Although I remember having preschoolers, I no longer relate to nursing, potty training, nap-times or play-groups. My kids have their set of friends and activities that do not include me most of the time. And quite honestly, I don’t want to have constant conversations about young children. I want to be around women who understand children who are dating, driving cars, visiting colleges and worrying about curfews. I’m eager to have helpful and stress-relieving discussions about vaginal dryness and not about cracked nipples.
According to MayoClinic.com, “Perimenopause, also called the menopausal transition, is the interval in which a woman’s body makes a natural shift from more-or-less regular cycles of ovulation and menstruation toward permanent infertility, or menopause. Women start perimenopause at different ages. In your 40s, or even as early as your 30s, you may start noticing the signs. Your periods may become irregular — longer, shorter, heavier or lighter, sometimes more and sometimes less than 28 days apart. You may also experience menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness.”
The worst part of all this, I think, is the uncertainty of how long this stage could last.
“Perimenopause is the ten to fifteen years before menopause occurs.” (Is This Perimenopause? The Signs and Symptoms of Perimenopause by Tracee Cornforth)
I am not too young to understand, nor am I making things up just to try and “fit in”. I am also not trivializing your situation, but merely reaching out to say “I understand”.
This isn’t me sympathizing with you, but showing empathy. We are in this together.