Monday, January 19, 2009

To Be Brutally Honest

If reading about a woman's menstruation makes you uncomfortable, please stop reading now. Seriously. Last warning. There may be some cussing in this post and I apologize for it ahead of time. I've got my fucking period. I really hate this monthly beast. If I could jump start menopause, I would. If having my reproductive organs removed weren't major surgery, I'd go for it. If I weren't totally eeked out at the idea of a permanent artificially made object being made to be part of my body, I'd go for that permanent sterilization thingee that can be done in your OB's office (that part eeks me out, too). Way back in high school, I'd bleed like a stuck pig for 7 solid days. Super heavy flow for 6 out of 7 days. Cramps and diarrhea and fever and achiness and mood swings like nobody's business. Ended up on the pill before ever having sex in order to control that flow. I was borderline anemic and the pill helped. Things looked up. The pill was magic. No cramps. No mood swings. None of the unpleasantness... well, except for dealing with the whole pad and tampon routine still. But in comparison to what it had been, life was easy! And then I discovered that I could safely SKIP a period if I wanted to! Just keep taking the pretty orange pills and skip the silly green pills and lalalalalalala! I started having a period every 3 months instead of every month. And it was still a breeze! Heaven! Menstruation Heaven! Then I got married and we decided that we wanted to have a baby. OK by me- that meant no period for 9 months! And then, silver lining, breastfeeding meant even LONGER with no period! Heaven! Menstruation Heaven! But now my baby days are done. I've birthed 2 children and my insides have changed. My cycles are very regular. And the symptoms are starting to creep back in... the cramping, the moodiness, the achiness. Last month, in order to get through the holidays, I even broke down and took... Midol. And now we are at today. And my period started last night. And I don't feel good. Lack of energy, major case of the blah's. And that whole bleeding thing. It just sucks. I wanna go home. I wanna take a nap. I wanna be whiney. Well, I got that one down! And one more thing. When I first got my period... oh, I remember being sooooo excited. I was a "woman" now! Whoopee. I was out to dinner with a friend and her family, went to the bathroom and- tada!! My friend was with me and she ran and got her mom. Her mom gave me a pad to put in my undies. I ran and called my mom. I was EXCITED. It was my own developmental milestone. Something all my friends had already done before me (I was a late bloomer). And now I was one of them. I was leaving my velveteen behind and becoming real. But you know what? When you get the big sit down to talk about your period thing... well, there was a lot no one told me. I got the big talk about how my cycle works and how it's this miraculous part of the amazing thing that my womanly body can do and blah blah blah. And that every 28 days, etc, etc, etc. The blood part? Glossed over. The clots? Skipped over. The symptoms? Minimized. So hopefully when the time comes for me to talk to Teagan about getting her period, I'll be able to be straight up and honest with her. And let her know that a lot of months, she might feel really crappy and sore and achey. And that she might be ridiculously moody and that she will hate feeling that way just as much as the people around her hate it. And that not only will there be blood coming out of her body, but also those dark blood clots that can make you want to pass out just from seeing them. And that it sucks. And I'll hand her a bottle of Midol and a heating pad and an eye mask and tell her to go take a nap. And I'll teach her about tampons early on and not make her learn about them from a druggie roommate from down the hall in her college dorm bathroom. And I'll let her know that I fully understand that during this week each month, she may feel like she isn't right in her own skin, she may feel deflated and defeated and irritable and tight and saggy and bitchy and moany and crampy and all that at once. And that there isn't a good way to let your loved ones understand what this thing called a period actually does to your body, to your emotions, to your mental well being. That you can absolutely feel out of control and unable to snap out of it, unable to feel better. And that if you can just be patient and get through the first 48 hours... it really does get better. And I will still teach her all of the miraculous mumbo jumbo stuff, too. And the cool medical stuff. Just like you can know a lot about your body by paying attention to your poop and pee, you can learn a lot about your body by paying attention to your monthly cycles. Yeah. That's the kind of cool mom I'm going to be. But only if she gets her period when I'm not bleeding and cramping and clotting and whining and... even better if she can wait until I'm well done with having one myself. I'm certain I can be a way hip, totally cool, open and honest mom if I'm not bleeding like a stuck pig.

10 comments:

Mrs4444 said...

Don't forget to give her a mirror so she can actually know what's "down there!" I told Kendall all of that stuff early on. She got her period when she was 10, poor kid! Now, she's the go-to friend when her friends need to know how to use a tampon. She's proud of that :) Great post; I can certainly relate! BTW, I now am off the pill and take ChasteTree Extract instead; it's cheaper and regulates hormones somehow--No more "monthly mental illness" for me!!

As for the Giveaway in the Sidebar, I think that's okay, but can I send you the code for the a button?

Lynn Freeman said...

Hola Liz! Well....I just couldn't let this one go by whilst catching up in my cyberland. I have been, as you know, sans period for a year and 3 months now. It is, without a doubt, beyond heaven. And, as you also know, my hysterectomy was very necessary for my health. Honey - I lived with the same ugliness you do each month - the cramping, the clots the size of huge pancakes - one even the size of a small football (sorry TMI, but you started it!!!) the gushing, dripping down my leg, soak a super tampon and 2 jumbo pads once an hour for 3 days, no white EVER in case I ever got a mid cycle (which I did), bloating like I was, honest to God, 8 months pregnant and the utter, sheer fatigue, nausea and inability to even function near the end. Mother Nature's gift my ass. I know hysterectomy and all that are icky to you and I fought mine for so long too. I'm a phobic - I don't know if you know that about me. The mere fear of becoming even more seriously ill with severe anemia etc. made me go get what was an eventuality done. Based on your past history of anemia, you are headed that way again my dear. How about ablation? Next best thing, common, uncomplicated and routine procedure? Could be your answer. How about Depo?

You ask me anything - bounce anything off me about this cuz I know it all man - I don't about everything in life, but I researched from here to hell and back when it came to facing my life as it was an an impending hysterectomy. I feel your pain sister. Just not anymore :)

Alix said...

Brave and wonderful post. We others in the Sucks To Be A Woman Club salute you and offer you a shot of tequila.

Sorry you feel crappy, but listen to me Liz - are you listening? - I never want to hear you say again that you would take menopause over what you have right now. You know not of what you speak. It's no magic bullet, as much as I wish it were. Menopause is just the puncutation on all the other nasty womanly shit we have to deal with.

I'm thinking hysterectomy is the only way to go.

Joanie said...

OK, I'm 53 year old and I STILL get my period! From the time I was 38 until about a year ago, I had mine for 10 to 14 days. YUP! 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. It's finally down to about 7 days.
My 3 sisters? All done before the age of 50 (my nun sister went to Rome, shook hands with Pope John Paul II and never got hers again).
In November, I was 10 days late ... I thought FINALLY!!!!!! I told John I was late and he said he'd "do right by me" (gag)!! I said "OH!!! So you'll buy the gun so I can shoot myself??" Then I got it (period, not gun). GRRRR!!!!

What this all boils down to, Liz, is don't hold your breath waiting for menopause to take hold. You could be getting your period for a long, long time.

Joanie said...

Lynn, your description fit my monthly routine down to the letter.
I have to put towels on the bed so I don't ruin sheets and mattress.

Liz said...

I'm about due for my annual OB visit anyway. So I guess this is the time to bring up options...

Lynn Freeman said...

Oh Joanie....I forgot about that. 3 towels that were just mine, plus a Depends diaper changed 3 times a night otherwise I'd be swimming. It's really amazing, when you think about it, that we had any blood left in our bodies! I read somewhere that the "average" woman menstruates between 1 and 4 tablespoons per cycle. I can't even conceive of that on any level.

Anyways, sorry Liz. You should absolutely bring up your options and discuss with your OB. Trust me, there is absolutely no reason to suffer the way you do.

Candace Jean July 16 said...

I was a mere 40 when I gushed blood clots down my leg at Target while looking at Halloween socks. That was it. After nearly getting arrested for bolting to the bathroom with a pair of pumpkin socks, I went to a PAY PHONE (most of you have probably never heard of those), called my OB-GYN, and scheduled a pelvic clean-out for the next week. 1 mg of Estrace daily since, and it's still the best 40th birthday present a woman could give herself. It was my way of shaking hands with the Pope.

Alix said...

What? You mean you're not on the 3 month (occasionally 6 month) plan like me? Snort. That's and extra three weigh-ins and hops into the stirrups you're missing. Again, you win. Feeling any better?

Liz said...

Still ucky but tomorrow should be better, I hope. Or I'll at least be used to it for the week.

Tubul ligation keeps running through my head.

I remember being a teen and reading the suggestion of giving your daughter a mirror so she can learn her body better. I think it was also a suggestion for learning how to use a tampon. With no discussion or encouragement from my mom, I did the mirror thing. Rather fascinating, really.