I’ve been writing on this blog for 14 years. If you’ve been reading as long, you’ve travelled a moderately bumpy road with me – childbirth and rearing, pregnancy, lost pregnancies, in and out of work and career changes, my sister’s death, a move to a whole different county.
More recently there’s been the autism thing – suspicion, diagnosis, self analysis and acceptance. You’d think it might be time for a more settled period, all things considered.
Apparently not. Recently my body has been playing up a bit. Shoulder pains, back spasms, extra periods, and then suddenly, no periods at all. I took myself to the GP and was sent for blood tests and referred for an ultrasound. I don’t need the ultrasound though, as the blood tests confirmed that I’m heading full tilt for menopause.
This surprised me a bit. I’m only 46 (nearly 47) and I thought that that all happened later. There’s no pattern in the family for a variety of reasons, not least being I’m the eldest. And I realised that I don’t know anything about it – what to expect, how to tell, do I prepare, are there benefits? (Lower shopping bills at the very least?) First of all I was angry – I felt like something had been snuck up on me – what if I wanted another child? Had my last chance evaporated without me even noticing? (I don’t want another child. Well I do, but only in the same way that I want all the books, I don’t actually want to go through pregnancy again, and my heart and hands are pretty full with the four I have already.)
It’s just, I don’t know how to be this next me. We set a lot of store by our roles in life, and somehow, to me at least, the role of mother includes fertility. I’ve had hiccups with that before (I mentioned the miscarriages above) and those dented my self image somewhat but it all sorted itself out, and I was still a bearer of children. But if I’m not any more, I need to think about who and what I’m going to be.
I know, I’m overthinking it. It comes with the territory of being me, whoever and whatever that means, and I could as easily stop overthinking as I could stop squinting, being deaf or short sighted. Actually, stopping being short sighted would probably be a lot easier, I think there’s an operation for that. Overthinking, not so much.
So, next steps. Could it be time to finally accept the whole growing up thing? Or is it time to admit that’s never going to happen, and given that the alternative to changing is less than palatable, I guess change is what I’ll do.
Any hints, tips, health recommendations from those who’ve gone before? I’ve not had any hot flushes yet – is it possible to get through this without any at all? The GP said my hormone levels implied I would have had some, but I really don’t think I have. And could all of this be linked with misplacing my words – I had wondered whether my art and photography experiments had pushed the words out, or perhaps it was an autistic burnout or regression, but now I’m wondering if all of these changes are interlinked.
I have more questions than answers. I *am* more questions than answers. But that’s not unusual either.
The sticky blogging webinar I just watched told me that what I need to make it as a blogger are great headlines, story with emotion and something else I’ve forgotten already. Does all of this qualify?