Well. I’m late.
For the first time since I was in my breeding years, my period is late. Time was, a late period sent me into an ultrasound-imagining, baby-naming, “was that a kick?” tizzy. I loved being pregnant and would have done it more than four times if things had been different. A late period was exciting!
Now? Ugh. No. Not exciting. When I realized it had been a while since I had run, hemorrhaging, into the bathroom, I checked my period app and realized with a big Shaggy Rogers “ZOINKS” that my period was a week late. For a brief flicker of seconds I got those baby butterflies going again. And then I remembered:
- I’m 47 years old. 48 in less than a month.
- It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had sex. I mean, the kind that makes babies.
- My tubes are tied (yeah, this one is kind of a biggie, huh?)
- Did I mention it’s been a while since I’ve done the bump-and-grind? Played hide-the-sausage? Experienced a Close Encounter of the Penile kind? IT HAS. A pregnancy at this stage in the game would be something of biblical/National Enquirer proportions.
So this can only mean one thing: Menopause is approaching. It’s not just a far-off phenomenon, something my friends and I can joke about when we’re sweating our asses off or trying to remember what it was like to have an actual waistline. It’s a reality, and with every day that passes, it’s getting closer.
Of course, I brought this upon myself. Just over a week ago I bought three giant boxes of my beloved Kotex SupahSize tampons (I cannot resist a ‘Buy 3/Get a $5 Gift Card Free’ deal at Target). Swear to God…as I stacked the boxes in the red plastic cart I thought to myself, “Now watch me hit menopause, lololololol…..”. They are now sitting on a high shelf in the bathroom closet and they mock me every time I go in there for something. (yes I still have the receipt)
my doctor WebMd tells me, this is not just the “oh my gosh I’m such a bitch this week” peri-menopause stuff. This, the first missed period, is kind of like the first horseman of the menopausal apocalypse. It means that the rattling sound you might hear when I walk by is not a pack of Tic Tacs in my purse, it’s my shriveled ovaries, which are now like two macabre maracas flopping around inside my pelvic cavity.
I’m waiting for the night sweats to begin. The insomnia has already been here a while, but oddly enough hasn’t affected me very much. I’m one of those super annoying morning people and even skidding by on 3 or 4 hours of sleep doesn’t seem to dampen my “HEY! GOOD MORNING!” vibe. And of course I’m always a little bit psycho. That has been my modus operandi since before Aunt Flo made her appearance.
The skin/hair thing? That’s another symptom I’m having trouble dealing with. On one hand, if you have spent any amount of time with me, you probably know that I have beard envy. Seriously, if I could be a guy for just a month or two? Oh the beard I would grow! I imagine running my fingers through a thick, bushy Grizzly Adams size hairball on my chin. How warm it would keep my face in winter. And mine would be red, like Dexter! Or Yukon Cornelius’ in Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.
On the other hand, thus far I’ve only had to deal with about 4 hairs on my face. What they lack in numbers, though? They make up for in girth. I think I could grow those four hairs out and string a ukulele with them. They don’t just grow, those suckers crown. I am actually terrified of the whole beard thing now. Hold me.
And please, don’t get me started on that “vaginal dryness” and even more daunting, “thinning of the vaginal walls” business. Yep. It figures. Just when I finally have the time and energy to start getting my freak on again, I’m going to have to worry about a vagina made out of dollar-store tissue paper. You thought buying economy sized boxes of gigantic tampons was awkward? Wait til young Bobby at Walgreens has to ring up your bottle of “Lady Lube”. Gah.
For all of my bitching and moaning about my period, the thought of it never happening again fills me with a weird sense of loss. Oh sure, how nice to never again be standing there talking to someone, and have a shrill voice screaming in my head OH SWEET BABY J THERE IS A CRIMSON WATERFALL IN MY PANTS. It will be super great to not fumble around in my purse for a tampon and finding nothing but hair elastics and chewed gum wrapped in receipts and then having to MacGyver a maxi pad out of toilet paper in the bathroom stall at work.
And yes, it will be refreshing to not have packs of bears and dogs follow me around for that week or so of intense menstruating.
But it is the first time I’ve ever truly felt old. And I hate that. I already feel like a creepy interloper any time my friends who have younger kids are sitting around talking about adorable things like kindergarten and bedtimes and my dusty Crypt Keeper voice chimes in, always starting with the phrase, “Back when my kids were that age…”.
Because even if my kids are getting older, it kind of felt like I wasn’t. My brain seemed to have found a comfortable resting place somewhere between 33 and 40, and my body has been playing along.
Until now. While living in a world where I can co-exist with white sheets again sounds a little bit exciting, it’s going to be tough for me to separate myself from something as big and as final as menopause.
Then again, I thought divorce was going to kill me. Menopause can’t be scarier than that, right?
At least there are no lawyers involved.
Related post: Upside to Menopause