Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our Lady of Eternal Surprise

"What?! Not again!"

That is the thought that runs through my mind every time I realize I've got my period.

[And with that, men and my children and anyone else who is too delicate to contemplate the miseries and mysteries of the female reproductive system, I give you warning to close this browser tab and go back to Facebook. Or here: The Useless Web]

Now that it's just us girls, I can be frank.

I've been menstruating for 37 years now, and you'd think I'd have become accustomed to this frequent onslaught of ickiness, but, no, I have not. Or you'd think that, at the very least, I'd have become acquainted with the calendar and my body's relationship thereto, but, again, I have not.

I know women who can plan their vacations according to their menstrual cycles; I am not one of them. Au contraire, Steve and I used to joke that the surest way to bring on my period was to plan a romantic weekend away.

Every time I start my period, it is as if I had expected the previous one to be THE LAST PERIOD.

Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, or denial, but I blame this on a few things:

First, until I became pregnant with our first child when I was 25, my cycle was extremely irregular. Only during the months of "trying" -- taking temperatures every morning, trying to see if I could tell when I was ovulating -- did I come close to anticipating my period. Even then, my cycle was anywhere from 16 days to 45 days.

Second, when you combine breastfeeding-induced lack of menstruation (I was very, very fortunate) and pregnancy, there is a total of 6 and a half years in there that I either did not have a period at all, or they were irregular. Can you believe it? Neither can I.

Third, since Steve got his vasectomy almost 17 years ago, there has been absolutely no risk of my becoming pregnant, so I stopped worrying about it. It has been deeeeelightful.

Finally - and best of all - I am finally, finally entering menopause. Though there have been some miserable symptoms (migraines, sweats, clotty periods), I mostly have welcomed them as harbingers of the end of this stupid cycle.

So I'm always caught by surprise.

One of these days, though, I'll wander down the "feminine hygiene" aisle at the grocery store and suddenly realize that I haven't had to buy any of those things for, lo, these many months, years, even. I'll buy a box or two for the guest bathroom and do a little happy dance. Maybe even burn a little incense in a hag-like ritual of wise-woman crone-hood.

And, with my luck, I'll get my period the next day.

1 comment:

  1. So, I too have started menopause. Or I'm going back to my twice a year cycle. But the menopause? Chris refers to my situation as bizarro world. EVery typical symtom I would expect to have I get the opposite. And all my doctor can say is "yeah, that happens in rare cases". Except, of course, increased headaches. That I'm doing. Figures!


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