Adventures in Perimenopause

Season-of-Life Messages

Who Cares?!

A lot of you don’t care about this and have no reason to.  There is an off chance that despite being under 40 years old you have a mild interest in biology whereas if you are over 60 this falls under “been there; done that” material along with “what to do when you have your first baby” let alone, “how to not panic because you’re sprouting pubic hair”.

Perimenopause is to menopause as adolescence is to adulthood

Women in this stage of life, are really heading in the direction of menopause.  From my brief survey’s of real women about this: it can be a brief period or can go on for some months or even years.  It ends when a woman’s body achieves the “done with reproduction” state of being.  This transition means neither more nor less than that.  “No more baby-making forthcoming”.

The effect of this truth is not necessarily less than the onset of menstruation and all the hormonal and size and shape changes that mean entirely and only, “Baby making is now a real possibility”.

Struggling with Change?

There are women, perhaps especially fit, married women, who may suffer from kinds of shock or dismay that this change-in-life actually changes what they are and are not interested in, including sex.

Studies have indicated that while adults past the menopause stage of life do often retain some interest in sexual activity but at least half the time, its more a matter of habituation to the pleasure of it than the same intense mating instinct “make babies” biological advice their hormones were screaming for 20 to 40 years.

Case Studies: My own Case

Every woman is different and the range of normal is fairly large.  It may well be a good idea to check in with a physician but my advice is to try to find ones who accept change-of-life rather than trying to treat you as if something is wrong with you when nothing is.

Recently, I chatted with 2 women about this.  One reported having only had a few months of perimenopause and then she was done.  I likened this to the girls who really turned physically into grown women over Summer Vacation one year between grades of school whereas some of the other girls took years to make the same transformation.

There are women who have hot flashes, and others who don’t.  I spoke with one woman who stopped menstruating but still has hot flashes which have slowly been diminishing over the years following her menopause.

In my own case, my sexual desires dropped by about 50% for way longer than the 2 months, twice a year that they had before and stayed much less for longer periods of time.  I can neither confirm nor deny that one element of this has been that over age 40 years more of the men my age are much less attractive than they were 10 and 20 years younger.  Men may suffer from feeling the same way about the women in the same group but also about the reality of themselves by comparison.

Along with that type of ‘barometric’ perception, my menstrual periods lightened up a great deal of the time, but not consistently.  Two years into it, I just didn’t menstruate for a few months in a row and then right after I thought, “My God I’m reaching menopause 9 years early but at least I know I’m not pregnant,” my periods resumed, but again, 8 or 9 months of the year they were only half as intense as they had been 10 years earlier.

How long does this goes on?

In truth, in my own experience, I have just entered Year 6 of perimenopause.  The general ambiance is nice, regular cycles in terms of the ebb and flow of hormones but totally unpredictable in that one month I menstruate nearly as much as I did when I was 40 but some other month I don’t even bother to menstruate….and there is no obvious rhyme or reason regarding what determines whether or not I only menstruate a tea spoon of blood across 7 days, or what feels and looks more like a cup every 2 hours for 3 days.  Often, during the past 3 years, the amount of m. blood is really the same amount in 7 days as what happened in 2 or 3 days 10 years earlier.

But then, just to keep the air of unpredictability, when I went so far as to expect that I might not have any periods during 3 months of the year after that happened 2 years in a row, I just did even though it was Year 3 of Perimenopause.

The bottom line:  Because of that, I’m not sure.

I do carry around menstrual products much of the time but know they might go unused.  Just to add to the subjective sense of the whole thing, I was always the kind of person who felt, within 5 days after my period ended that: It was like it never happened.  Like, if someone brought it up, I almost had no idea what they were even talking about.  I’m not totally insane, so I did remember, but it was like remembering rainy weather on a sunny day or vice versa.

Purpose of this?

Aside from going on about myself, I mainly just want to write enough about it so that if other ladies find this happening to them, they don’t worry.

I do also think if male entities are curious about women, they could learn about this without being disgusting just to find out…but if they don’t want to know, I don’t want to make them know about weird nasty women stuff.

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Valentine’s Day

Exclusivity in Love

Despite all the talk against the sanctity of exclusive marriages between only one man and only one woman…St. Valentine continued to encourage this type of Christian behavior in the 200 A.D. amongst the Romans.

Imagine: how it must be or must have been when it really was having to buck the system if you love someone and actually want to be able to have only one another….and for it to be considered an act of rebellion, not religiously, but socially.

Wow, even will all of my own tendencies and issues and liberality, even I see the sense of one-man with one-woman marriages; the safety for child rearing etc…but also thanks to at least remembering pure loves….people who really don’t want “a bunch of lovers” but just a real love, a real spouse, just one.

Really Radical?!

Believe it or not, St. Valentine was a real person, a man who lived as a Priest of the Christian church in the 200s when the Roman Empire was still going.  In truth, all he did was perform marriage ceremonies for young soldiers, and he would marry people into exclusive couplings despite the Roman Imperial Government being against both at the time when he did it.

Take a breathe and enjoy how internationally common place: one man with one woman marriages really are nowadays in early 2019.

From this perspective it really almost seems crazy that St. Valentine ran into trouble for marrying people like that, but in fact he ran into such severe difficulty that he ended up being martyred: he was politically assassinated for marrying people that way.

Freaky, or what?!

I don’t know about you, but from my perspective that is freaky.  He should not have been killed for such a small gesture of religious freedom and sanctity.

Evolution of a Holiday

Well, like so much in the Protestant realms, the Catholics have ‘slipped us another Catholic Saint Day’ as a cultural holiday.  The holiday has evolved into a day to honor and revere love.

Many people focus on the romantic or sexual aspect of love at the Holy Day, but like so many millions of others, even though I just turned 51 years old I still also really like all the other kinds of love, and enjoy celebrating the holiday regardless of whether or not I get to celebrate with a hubby.

Personally

My personal height of heights for Valentine’s Day is that I received my first accepted wedding proposal on Valentine’s Day in 1991.  I said yes and we wed the first day of Spring, both of which are gloriously romantic.  What punctures this balloon of joy is that the man who I married has barely spoken to me in years and we were divorced just as our marriage was getting started in 1993 after some of the worst first 2 years imaginable but not because he was a deployed soldier in the American or ancient Roman military.  I strongly feel it would be way more romantic if we were looking forward to our 28th wedding anniversary this year.

Despite that, both my mother and my son often get Valentine’s from me, as have a number of others…Some profoundly sexual and romantic in nature, others as most definitely not as the pets or other same gendered children in an elementary school class.

Yours

Here’s to hoping that you have some kind of wondrous and blessed Valentine’s Day; may you all experience God’s love in both the distinctively personal and in the abstract today.

artistic blossom bright clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wedding Jewelry

Wedding Jewelry Take 1

Most people, especially women, love wedding jewelry.  The diversity of style, color, stones and price and everything they symbolize is so impressive, beautiful and romantic.

I am no different in this respect.

The Sad Truth

So far in my life, despite having married, I have only about 9 years of experience being legally married and it took 3 different men, just to get me those precious 9 years and to stick me with short term marriage instead of being married for over 20 years now as intended when I got married.

Making Proper Use of This Information

Despite everything sad about how I came into the information, I want to make some happy use of various observations I have made from having spent some time married and some time not married about wedding jewelry.

Observations

  • Some people believed to be friends and members of the opposite sex disappear the moment they see wedding jewelry.   That definitely tells you something.
  •  Wedding jewelry is a great ‘ice breaker’ for conversations.
  •  There are people who have more respect for women who are wearing wedding jewelry.
  •  If you are ever seen wearing wedding jewelry but then go even one day without wearing it, people will wonder whether it means you are having marital problems or about to get divorced, even if it is that you are going to work out, and the ring doesn’t fit whenever your hands get hot and puffed up, or you are going to be doing any type of work that might endanger your precious ring.
  •  Wedding bands can be cheap and to the point.
  •  Wedding jewelry can both protect the wearer against unwanted sexual / romantic interest, and can be depressing because it makes potentially interested persons unwilling to even try to have a friendly and harmless 5 minute live chat.

Observations 2

These are about going without wedding jewelry during one’s marriage.  This can occur for various reasons.  In this case, I am only going to write about dealing without wedding jewelry even when there is not definitive “marital trouble” instead of when going without the jewelry because there is a marital problem.

  •  There is no distinction made between your girlfriend or boyfriend and your wife or husband.  This can be soothing for couples who were together long before marriage and had honest respect for their romance.
  •  This can be troublesome in that people think your beaux or toy boy has not become your spouse, when really the relationship is more serious (in a good way) than others may have been led to believe.
  •  People, or single people, remain friendlier.  Bear in mind, that one of the observations is that the vast majority of ‘interest’ leads not to adultery but to 5 minutes of conversation at a workplace or means that someone will sit with you at lunch in the breakroom at work.
  • One may accidentally prevent friendships with other married people because neither they nor others saw the ring and tried to befriend you thanks to the fact that you are married; this is in contrast to the people to steered cleared of you once they saw the same thing.

Final Comments

In all seriousness, one should try to be aware of the intentions and influences of wedding jewelry and sensitivity to how wearing it, or going without it, may give certain messages.

Please be aware that despite my own failures I am a staunch supporter of intact families and good marriages.  True love, stable homes, families and finances are healthy for the entire society, are what God recommends and can make life quite nice.  I have been trying to get a permanent (50+ year long) partner since about age 17 years.  I am nearly 51 and have quite a past but not the stable past of “wow am I ever just still married for quite a while now…having crested over the Silver anniversary halfway point towards a 50th wedding anniversary.”

Rather than abuse my suffering, just enjoy the observations and make use of them in your own life; or post comments about your life and observations about wedding jewelry.

 

 

Maiden, Mother & Crone: mother > crone

Stages of Life (for women):  Although in the TV show Merlin they referred to the Triple Goddess, all they were referring to are the 3 main stages of adult female life: the maiden or young woman, next the mother which just means she’s older and has child/ren, then lastly the crone: normally menopausal and quite possibly grandchildren or at least old enough to have grandchildren and even adult grandchildren and great-grandchildren (old has several levels itself).

Today’s post is about later stages of the mother.  I’m nearly 51 years old and have an “adult child” rather than a child.  While still firmly middle aged based on an 85 year life span, maybe more or a little less, that’s about it….I’m as much older as a 30 year old as my 23 year old offspring is to a 3 year old….as much older as it takes a human to go from conception to adulthood.

At some point it dawned on me that for many people “middle age” is the longest period of life.  However, I’ve also met enough older people to see that youth may in fact be the shortest phase.  During youth and one’s 20s it really doesn’t seem like most of one’s life was just the warm up for the reality; the vast majority of life spent as an adult.

Teens & Perimenopause

What these 2 phases in life have in common are major hormonal fluctuations that can cause mood swings, behavioral and psychological changes or even personality changes.  Self-identification can also shift.  (In truth, pregnancy can be even more drastic but that’s a story for another day).

Both phases have everything to do with human reproductive power.

Differences

Teens develop into being able to be mothers and adults.  During perimenopause, we’re heading towards the exit door: been there, done that.  All finished with baby making, thanks so much.

During either phase it can seem like it isn’t just a phase, but it is.  Perimenopause lasts as long, or longer than being a teenager does.  Freaky, but true.

Changes

Whether or not something is a blessing, a curse or something else can depend on how it is interpreted.  Perhaps because I was single or due to religious beliefs/interest, when perimenopause struck me at age 46 years I at first believed that God had finally answered a prayer that I stop being tortured by intense sexual desire regardless of whether or not acting on it would be okay.  Right before I wrote this post, I read some other lady’s: married women may suffer new kinds of anxiety about how to keep her husband happy when she stops experiencing nearly as much sexual desire….Which was really nothing more than a plot by Nature to persuade us to engage in behavior liable to lead to babies and raising more people.

For my own sake, it really felt like a blessing…and really did just feel like I was no longer being tortured by built-in desires.  It did not make it so that I have absolutely zero sexual desire, responsiveness or interest but like I was no longer in chronic danger of being overwhelmed by intense energies that I struggled with for control over my own behavior during some of my life.  I hadn’t ever meant to either deny nor to make too much of sexual energies.  I didn’t find it that easy to keep the proper balance of them in relation to my own lifestyle for 30 years; then finally some relief.

It did make enough of a difference that I realized that had I still been married, it would have become about how to convince my husband that I still love him when instead of his lustful, passionate wife I was suddenly satisfied with a hug and trying to avoid sex….it seemed like a good husband might wonder if I were having an illicit affair and that explained the sudden lack of sexual interest.

No need to make babies = no need to feel horny.

I’m a fairly learned person, so I do recall reading that the great Athenian philosopher Socrates wrote that for men, the greatest gift of older age is being able to think straight because the cloudiness caused by sexual desire wanes.

But seriously folks, what else?

The adventure of perimenopause mainly means that 25 years of menstrual regularity suddenly became irregular.

The most shocking discovery was that those tiny daily panty liners are for older women more so than for 12 to 15 year old girls.  I never would have believed it until it started happening to me.

The first month I had a weird period I thought it was either a miracle from God or a type of witchcraft I hadn’t run into before.  By the 3rd month I realized that it was just Mother Nature….Since it began, some months are almost the same as when I was 30 but much of the time it is much less and lighter flow.

A lot of the time, my periods are only as much in an entire week as one day of heavy flow at ages 30 and 40.

Then, in my later 40s, for the first time since I’d gotten pregnant well over ten years earlier, I just didn’t menstruate.  That went on for a few months.  Right after I had concluded that I never would again, I did.

The last month of being 50 the big thrill on that front was that I menstruated in December for the first time since I was 47 years old.  Weird.

Benefits

Aside from not being tormented by excessive sexual desire with no husband, there have been a few other benefits of perimenopause: less fuss and filth and reduced expenses of feminine products.

For me personally, the greatest benefit has been an emotional evenness or reduced emotional reactivity that I really like.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t have any emotional reactions, but it is less drastic than when I was younger.  It is possible that this is only 20% the result of hormones and the rest is based on other factors, but I suspect that it is 99% hormonal changes, and only 1% any changes in personal character or personality.

Sorry if that doesn’t seem great to you; those are really all the benefits as far as I can tell so far.

Feeding Babies: Newborn to 12 mos.

About your newborn’s feeding

 

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Somebody probably told you, but your baby’s first few months will involve a purely liquid diet of breast milk and/or formula. Doctors recommend breast feeding your bbaby for the first 6 months but it is a choice. My mother did not breast feed at all, and I did but only for 6 weeks. I had thought I would for about 9 months. Some babies do for years. If there are no health concerns in your family line or where you live it is safer to use formula. If your child will be exposed to illnesses it is more important to breast feed because breast milk gives extra protection against disease. It just really does.
Your baby will live on a liquid only diet for the first few months. There are a number of signs that your baby may be ready for solid food. In the beginning it will be only to supplement formula or breast milk.

  • Signs of readiness for solid food
    When your baby has the following abilities and shows the following signs you can try solid food:
    1. Able to hold up their own head for significant periods of time – like hours rather than minutes.
    2. Able to sit up, to maintain an upright seated posture – or even ready to use a high chair.
    3. Starts to show interest in parents food.
    Does not push food gently placed in the front of the mouth back out the front of the mouth.
    4. Possibly teething
    May seem hungry despite receiving 8 to 10 feedings of liquid in a day.

Solid food
If you have not had the baby yet and your friends do not already have children then abandon your ideas about solid food. What is meant is actually food the consistency of apple sauce. On some level you already know this from having seen adverts for baby food on the shelves but as an adult who has not had children before it may seem insane and absurd. A sandwich or piece of fruit would be too much and way too difficult.
Luckily, one can both buy baby food and can make it home made if you have a blender or Cuisineart. One can blend strawberries, mangos, apples and so on to a thin enough consistency to be your baby’s first solid food. The big reason for this is the lack of teeth. The other reason is their sensitive and developing digestive systems. A little fruit and later on something related to rice or oats is enough. Carrots can be u but are more difficult to prepare.
Next level – with teeth
After your child gets half or more of the first set of teeth, you can begin serving them more ordinary food – what you thought of as solid food before you got into that whole baby food thing.

New Mother News

Emotions of Motherhood
There are many emotions associated with motherhood, in all stages. However, this is directed towards those women just getting started at being a mother. There is the baby, or the twins of course and there is you.
Where did everybody go?
What happens to you? Due to the lifestyle changes mentioned elsewhere in related articles, for some mothers, the biggest difficulties are going without work and feeling as if their friends vanish – or worse, like the new mother is now treated as if she does not exist. It can be very emotionally painful despite great joy over being a mother and even with the loving support of relatives – including a husband.
This problem is not insurmountable, but it can be a hum dinger when not psychologically prepared. If you go without work, then all the social relationships that went with it, vanish. You, the new mother, won’t miss any of the people who you didn’t like very much but will notice the difference. Without your own pay, learning to share money with your husband – if you hadn’t done it already, becomes vitally important to your and your baby’s survival. Kudos to you if you have wisely and sensibly married well and have an awesome personal life and are not running into this problem.
The truth is that a lot of women do, and the fact is, that it happened to me as well. I had not predicted it and did not know how to handle it. It was not that bad, but if I can help you as you adjust to being a mother, then I will be glad I wrote this.
Other Mothers
A lot of people drop out of your life once you become a mother. It may feel and be unfair. It might not trouble you half the time but then when you have a free afternoon and discover that you can’t afford to go anywhere unless your husband pays for you – you may feel stuck. Maybe you used to have money from your job. Maybe you do have money because you worked that out with your husband but then none of your former friends are available.
It is true, that for most new mothers, you have to find at least some other new mothers to socialize with.
Getting Out of the House
It is possible that you might work out a way to have a part time job that gets you out of the house while you spend most of the time with your baby. Mother and baby and mother and toddler groups abound – especially if you have the good fortune of living in the city, or in the residential part of the city or have a car and gas money.
Your New Life
Despite the challenge, most likely with time, you will adjust to being a mother. Some women find this to be so easy they don’t need to read this article. Others really need to read this article to know they are not alone in how they really feel even if and when overjoyed rather than sad about being a new mother.
For many women, it does involve just accepting that a lot of people won’t include you much for some years. You will probably be socially pressured to befriend women with a baby the same age as yours. It can be disturbing but often it works very well because you can talk about everything that matters while that is really how it is. I had one good friend who had a baby my age when I did and it helped a lot. Obviously, most women don’t automatically feel like best friends just because another woman has a baby the same age, but it can really work.
You and the baby can have a wonderful and rewarding relationship. The reality may not always live up to your own ideals about babies and mothers. A good family life can become a wonderful bastion of support and love. Feelings of being overwhelmed, as long as they do not occur too often are also normal.
You may feel very much like you are still you. For me, personally, retaining my sense of identity with my prematernal self was a big deal. I have met other women who told me their identity changed but they were happy with it that way. So, maybe you will feel like a whole new person – the flower blossoms on the bush and there is little resemblance to the previous stage of life.
You can learn to find ways to socialize, but that is easier if you live where there are people and it may help a lot if you have money, but there are ways to do it even when you don’t.
Motherhood is a ‘rest of life’ relationship, at least in most cases. Your baby will only be a baby for a year. You can remind yourself to enjoy what you love about it and fear not, your baby will outgrow whatever you don’t like about it. In all my life I have heard of only 1 exception to that; there was one girl who lived in the baby stage of development for 21 years. Don’t worry, that won’t happen to you.
Take heart, once you get the hang of being a mother, you probably wouldn’t want it any other way ever again, and you will be able to work and have friends and get your way at least some of the time even as you raise your baby. Be responsible and don’t give up.

Does the gender of the baby make you sick?

Pregnancy morning sickness
Maybe you woke up one morning and felt queasy. You asked yourself what was wrong. Quite possibly you were able to eliminate the most probable causes. You then checked to see if you had a fever. Hm: not a hangover, not a tummy virus, not a flu, not food poisoning – what might it be?
Guess what
Not every woman finds out that she is pregnant due to morning sickness and not every pregnant woman suffers from ‘morning sickness’ but that is true and that can happen to perfectly normal women.
What is it?
Morning sickness is actually just your body’s own reaction to brand new hormonal changes and the onset of sudden high speed growth taking place inside your very own body.
To quote from the Baby Center,
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone rises rapidly during early pregnancy. No one knows how hCG contributes to nausea, but it’s a prime suspect because the timing is right: Nausea tends to peak around the same time as levels of hCG. What’s more, conditions in which women have higher levels of hCG, such as carrying multiples, are associated with higher rates of nausea and vomiting.
Estrogen. Another hormone which rises rapidly in early pregnancy, estrogen is also a possible cause (along with other hormones as well).
What to do about it
Stress can make it worse. Some women only experience it for a couple of weeks early in their pregnancies. I have heard rumors that for many women, it is a good indicator of the gender of the baby. I know that’s horrible but apparently it is true – one gender of baby makes the mother more nauseous than the other.
One of the best ways to help reduce pregnancy morning sickness is to control stress. This means that any ‘dirty laundry’ between yourself and the father may come out now. For some couples this can be scary, but certainly doesn’t have to ruin the relationship.
There are some simple treatments to alleviate pregnancy morning sickness: drinking plenty of milk will help. The reason is that fluids of this type coat the stomach which is very helpful. Yogurt and other dairy products also help. Avoiding citrus and other acidic foods – at least, avoid ingesting them alone, during pregnancy can help.
Getting enough rest and moving without rushing it can help to manage the queasiness. The degree to which women suffer from morning sickness ranges from just a slight queasiness to vomiting most days for about 6 weeks.
Sea Bands provide a great alternative along totally different lines. I found out about them because I suggested dairy products and am aware that some people are vegans and that going dairy won’t do. This solution is also worth a try for busy women who will not be in environments in which eating or drinking would be acceptable behavior.
Sea bands work using acupressure. They are inexpensive, available online, and are also perfectly safe and healthy.
Is there any hope?
Luckily the majority of women only suffer from intense morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy,, when the need to sleep a lot more is also commonplace.
You may not suffer from severe morning sickness. Personally, I consume a lot of dairy and I had only some queasiness during my pregnancy, and never anything so bad that I puked. It went away after the first couple of months.
So even if it turns out to be bad, know that it will probably get less bad within two months.
I hope these tips help you or someone you know get through pregnancy with a minimum of difficulty. With the right information and attitude, pregnancy can be a good experience.