TMI alert! If you don’t like to read about female reproductive issues, don’t read any further. Click off, so to speak, to a less graphic place.
One theme that I am focused on in my life is self-determination. I want the ability and resources to make decisions for my own life without the requisite campaigning, begging, cajoling, and typical refusal I see as normality for me. I am sick of it.
So what in the *#@$ does my body think it is doing? I am 53 years old. That means stuff is going on that is new for me. I was fairly comfortable with the typical insanity of monthly menstruation. It has been mostly painless, though never regular. Well, that isn’t completely true. For years I had a 45-day cycle. That is a blessing unless you need to calculate due dates for pregnancies. Then it gets a little challenging (and doctors tend to tell you that a birth is early when it isn’t). Aside from that, the secondary infertility I suffered for a few years, and the years of very heavy flow after the birth of my second-to-the-last son, my reproductive issues have been minimal. Compared to what I am dealing with now, that was all a walk in the park (oh, the joy of time blurring memories).
The Change of Life: Really?
Now I am going through “the change,” in the throes of peri-menopause, seeing a new season of life ushered in and an old season coming to a close. Good grief, I am so sick of the euphemisms used to describe the living hell that women go through because they are child bearers. We bleed, we hurt, we have mood swings, we cry, we laugh, we make our families flee in terror, we need wine, we need chocolate, we need pain relievers and hormones. And dammit, we bleed!
Let that sink in for a minute. We bleed, over and over and over for years and years, decades, sometimes half a century.
While we are in the midst of childbearing, desiring offspring, loving being a mommy, looking forward to another pregnancy, and understand the nature of the reproductive system, it is all okay, most of the time. A lot of the time we grin and bear it because out of it we sometimes get babies. Oftentimes, not. I have lost four pregnancies, four little ones that never took a breath or felt my embrace. They are gone forever. Then there are the times when I hoped for a pregnancy and month after month it was a no go. I bled. My hopes bled, too. Sometimes I felt like my soul was bleeding, hemorrhaging, getting weaker, becoming ghost-like.
And then I was done. I knew the second my youngest was born that I was done. He was born after two losses. I held him in my arms, and I knew he was the last. I was completely comfortable with that. I was so done.
Thirteen years later, I am still done but apparently my body didn’t get the memo. Now I feel as though I am being punished for having allowed my body to be used in such a brutal way — yes, reproduction is brutal on a woman’s body. I know: babies are a blessing. They are. But pregnancy is a bitch. Postpartum is a bitch. Sore nipples are a bitch. But we love our children, so it is just one part of the picture. But there is the bleeding: before pregnancy, during labor and delivery, and after pregnancy. Always the bleeding.
And now I am still bleeding. A lot! At a time when I want to have SOME control over my life, I feel as though my body is my worst enemy, rebelling against the notion that I might ever have control over anything. It is thumbing its nose at me, laughing, smirking, and betraying me. I want it to stop.
I did have a brief respite. After an eight-week flow, some of it scary heavy, it stopped after I was given some powerful drugs. God bless drugs.
It was almost three months since that flow stopped, and I was celebrating because I thought I might be through the wasteland of peri-menopause, the field laid with razor wire, the haunted forest, the Dead Marshes. Then it happened. My body laughed at me AGAIN!
I wonder if control, self-determination, are mere illusions? Is such a thing ever possible for a woman, man or any human being? Am I tilting at windmills by fighting for independence? Am I seeking the unseekable, or the unfindable? Oh, the philosophical questions that all sentient beings ask. Oh, the frustrations that women face. I cannot comprehend the frustrations of men because I am not one. But I can say, from firsthand experience, that being a woman sure can be really rough physically, emotionally, hormonally, and any other -ly you can think of. So today I just want my body to stop pouring itself out for nothing. I am tired. I need a break.
Out of control and not liking it one bit.