A classic tale of menopause, if such a thing exist.
Here are my thoughts on my time of menopause
I cannot now remember when I finally finished with the menopause, but when going through it, I had on many occasions assumed that it would go on for a very long time, perhaps even into my sixties. I am fifty eight now and if I try to pinpoint when I eventually came out the other side, it was perhaps, three or four years ago, but I am not sure. It wasn't a seamless transition. It neither started clearly nor ended on a definite note.
My approach to my menopause was shrouded in the same kind of mystery, fear, apprehension, promise, expectancy that surrounded my first periods and my first pregnancy. My coping strategy, for these different milestones in my life was as different and personal as it is for most women. And yet other women's experiences - friends, relatives, memories of my late mother, informed and profoundly affected that strategy.
For the first couple of years, the changes in the occurence of my periods were to be my marker for THE MENOPAUSE. From being as regular as clockwork, my periods spluttered then stopped for a whole year. At the end of which, I thought, "I am finished with the menopause." I wasn't. My periods returned. This was very frustrating. The menoause could not be neatly contained by the presence or absence of my periods.
My older sister was consulted and my friend in Canada.
My Canadian friend's verdict was I was perimenopausal and she had some "cock and bull idea" to my mind, that an absence of periods for two years, indicated the start of the menopause. I wasn't having any of that concept. The other discomforts would be going on for too long then for my comfort.
My sister's verdict was that countless older friends of hers had gotten sporadic periods many years later. So forget about absence of periods, as a marker or finishing line.
This was very disappointing for my tidy mind but I accepted that idea and it made it easier.
During this upheaval, to my usual regular periods, call it perimenopausal, menopausal, I didn't care after a while, my main difficulty was dealing with night sweats. By that I mean waking up in the middle of the night, lathered in sweat. Soaking night clothes, wet sheets and on a cold night, a very cold shivering feeling if the sheets were very wet. It was extremely uncomfortable for me and at times my husband, if he cuddled too closely. But I solved that problem eventually and it was both a simple and ingenious solution.
The solution was to have a large towel by the bed and if I woke from the night sweats, I could just throw off my wet night clothes, put the large, dry, absorbent towel under me and sometimes, over me and drift back to sleep, with very little disturbance. Unfortunately it took a while to discover this.
My sleep was often disturbed and I consequently, felt tired during the day. A piece of advice that stood to me was to go with it and take a nap if I needed one. I took naps and they sustained me. Now, I no longer need to take them and so I don't.
I was determined not to go on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). but the sense of exhaustion I felt at times, tempted me. Several of my friends did go on HRT for various reasons and it worked for them. I didn't want to, and so I didn't.
I gave up coffee and drank very light tea. It helped.
I followed a kind of Japanese diet because Japanese women suffered fewer menopausal symptoms.
I noticed that it was easier to put on more weight. This also affected my diet.
I exercised regularly.
My children were teenagers during my menopause. It was a fairly potent mix. I still don't know who was more responsible for the moodiness, them or me.
I had a fairly positive view of the change. A positive view abounds generally, nowadays, of this change in a woman's life and I I embraced that, when I was going through it. Although there was a certain amount of discomfort and some vague sad feelings surrounding my loss of fertility. I always knew when I was ovulating between my periods. I also knew that I didn't want any more children.
Now that my periods are well and truly gone, I like not having them. It is liberating to be free of them and also to be free of contraception issues.