Lately I’ve been researching menopause a lot online.
And it’s not because I’m having hot flashes – at fifty I’m not quite sure I’ve ever experienced one – but because I haven’t had a period for close to four months now, and I’m definitely not pregnant.
Menopause could be looming
According to Health Central and other reputable sites, it’s not officially menopause until you’ve missed periods for a whole year so I’m not there yet, but menopause could be looming …
Menopause can happen as early as 36 and as late as 60, with the average age being 51, which I’m pretty close to.
Of all the menopause symptoms listed on Medicine Net, so far I can identify with occasional night sweats, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, feeling bloated, mood swings and after a good year of irregular periods, they are now absent.
From what I’ve read, they could come back (I wish they would because, strangely perhaps, I miss them!) and continue their irregular pattern, or simply be gone forever.
Also Read: 5 Lifelong Tips To Feel Happy in Midlife
Since I turned 50 in August of 2013, I’ve felt like celebrating it. Heck, that’s the reason for launching this blog!
I wanted to let younger and older women alike know that midlife is not the end; it’s the beginning of a different and possibly even more fulfilling phase of life than ever before.
A sense of loss
And yet, while blowing out my fifty candles was no cause for a midlife crisis, I realize not having to deal with PMS, periods and tampons for a few months now has triggered a sense of loss I’m only now beginning to acknowledge and voice here.
I suppose it’s different for every woman, but as much as the monthly hormonal roller coaster was sometimes hard to deal with, I knew what to expect.
I can only compare this possible menopause situation with the onset of my first pregnancy. Except that when I became pregnant at 37, I did not wish to get my period and I knew I would have a baby nine months later.
My latest missed periods, however, mean that I am very possibly no longer fertile. Not that I’d contemplate having another baby at fifty, but the mere fact that it’s no longer a choice is disconcerting to me.
It’s as if I’m losing something I don’t necessarily need but am perhaps not ready to part with.
With every bout of PMS there is the reassurance that once you get your period, you also experience relief and regain composure after the necessary apologies are made.
Now I feel that I’m in a sort of limbo
I don’t know if tomorrow I will wake up feeling refreshed or fatigued. I can’t see the mood-swing coming and, once it does it, I’m not sure why it’s here…
Fortunately it’s not typically a lash-out-in-anger type of situation.
Lately, it’s a creepy-crawly “I just can’t stand myself” kind of feeling that is not easy to sit still with. I don’t know what’s coming next or what I should be doing about it.
I’m not sure of whether I’m over and done with tampons and should give them all to my pre-teen daughter, or hang on to them, just in case.
I’ve been feeling kind of melancholy realizing that this is perhaps the definitive beginning of the biological midlife change.
As much as I want to be energetic, youthful and unstoppable, it would be downright stupid to deny the facts of life.
While my soon to be 13-year old is dealing with her own onset of puberty, I’m starting to mourn my fertile body.
I suppose I will have to continue waiting and wondering whether this is it, whether my midline will soon expand and my skin will dry up and my bones become brittle really fast.
With that, I hope to also gain the wisdom, beauty, and forever freedom from hormonal headaches and mood-swings, because I’m finally menopausal.
All I can do in the meantime is recognize that I’m going through an inevitable change sooner or later and as usual, I need to try to find the lesson and the beauty in it.
How do you feel about peri-menopause or menopause if you’re at that stage or have lived through it already?
Turning fifty next week, been in perimenopause for 4 years with ALL the awful symptoms that can accompany this crazy time of life, and just missed my second period. Wondering, could this be menopause? Am I happy to be done w periods…..maybe sad to say goodbye to another chapter of my life…..my hormones are everywhere. I’ve gained 25 lbs in the last year (yikes) so feel especially like an alien in my body. Can’t get the weight off, my kids don’t need me anymore and I am living in a new town. Trying to surrender it all to God, give myself grace and have hope that better things are ahead. It’s hard not to get depressed.
Thanks for your articles and keeping the menopause conversation going.
Now I’m 57 and post menopausal. It does get better. Sending all the love.
Sending you all the strength. I’m now 57 and post menopausal. I do miss my periods. Please do take care of your mental health. That is number one. – Lorraine
I haven’t had a period in 3 months and just today thought, “Huh, this could be menopause.” I felt a little sad. I’ve felt unusually depressed and emotional for about a month and was slow to realize it could simply be end of fertility hormones. This post really touched me. I’m hanging on to long hair, too! Mine is almost to my knees!
I wrote this quite a few years ago. I am now 57 and post menopausal. Still going with my long hair and I learned to handstand at 56. Life goes on. Sending all the love.
Susanne En la Ciudad
I have not had hot flashes, just criminal mood swings and the very feeling that happiness is a warm gun. My period stopped I believe about six months ago but I have no other symptoms. If the feeling of impending doom is to be discounted. Because menopause is still somewhat of a taboo subject – because hey who wants to announce that one is arriving at prune stage – it is still muddy waters.
Lorraine C. Ladish
Thank you for reading and commenting. Ah, the feeling of impending doom could also have something to do with what may be going on in your life? do know that openly admitting to menopause seems taboo. I’d love to contribute to eradicate the stigma! Hugs.
Oh gee… At least it’s night sweats and I don’t know! Till next morning of course… Our curse… ;(
Menopausal symptoms started after I had a hysterectomy in December. At first there were just the occasional warm sensations that I wasn’t even sure if they were hot flushes. I thought if this was it, it wasn’t too bad. However, it has increased yo what I call night sweats during the day. Most the time I sleep through the night but on the nights I can’t sleep the night sweats have me one minute under the duvet cover and the next minute fan on and throwing the covers off. I find it harder when this happens during the day – which can be 3 times in an hour or once every few hours. Drives me crazy that I can’t control it – most body reactions are a result of a food or action – well they are for me e.g. If I have coffee after 2pm it’s almost guaranteed to result in a sleepless night. I have never been one to sweat so this new sweating sensation that is accompanied by a smell is horrible. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing when it comes on and you don’t know how long it will last. At home, you can say give me a moment and throw off your shirt but you can’t really do that in the middle of the supermarket or when you are in the middle of a conversation with the school principal! As for mood swings – I’ve always been prone to them and if it’s worse now it could be due to the cancer diagnosis. I do think that I can go to calm to very angry very quickly on occasion – but I don’t think this happens very often (may need to ask my husband)!
Very very keen to hear if anyone has any tips to cope with these sweats.
PS Hot flush/ sweat happening now!
Lorraine C. Ladish
Belinda, my sister has those too at night mostly. Fortunately I only have them at night and this has helped: http://www.cool-jams.com/ and they did not pay me to say it! During the day perhaps wicking sports fabrics could help as well. And yes, cancer and any other health issue may certainly aggravate mood swings, but the meds could have more to do with it.
I’m going through pure hell
Lorraine C. Ladish
Oh, my so sorry to hear! It’s not easy, that’s for sure.