What to Expect When You’re (not) Expecting… Menopause

Remember that book we all read, back in the day, when we were expecting our first babies? Well here’s my blog version of that helpful little book, but it’s about the other fun thing that happens to us women. Hello. My name is Andy, and I survived menopause. And so did my husband. I remember when my Mom went through “the change of life” as we whispered about it, back in the day. She wore loose fitting mumus to try and stay cool, fanning furiously for no apparent reason. And of course I totally get what she was going through now! Sorry Mom! Most of my friends are still fanning themselves, and throwing off the bedsheets at night, and I’m over here on the other side of menopause waving and laughing! So let me offer a few words of encouragement to my ladies who are still cha-cha-cha-changing (and a few things to expect along the journey)!

When I realized what was happening to me, I was actually surprised! I was 40ish, and totally not expecting this life change to happen so soon. And my symptoms were so typical! Talk about denial!

Irregular Periods

I remember taking pregnancy tests, because my periods became irregular. Like really irregular. My best friend, Robin joked that she would have been so jealous if I was actually preggers, and I let her know I’d be happy to share if I was! My daughter was 18 and just starting college, my son was beginning his sophomore year of high school. That would most definitely have been an interesting turn of events!

Hot Flashes

This term is a misnomer. They aren’t flashes. They don’t “flash”. They boil. From the center of your being and burn up your neck and onto your face, leaving you a nice shade of sweaty red. Fortunately, mine usually happened in the middle of the night. I’d throw off those sheets, sometimes stripping my gown and having to change because I was drenched. Good times. I say fortunately, because many of my friends have them during the day. In public. If you ever see a middle age lady fanning herself furiously, a slight bead of sweat shining on her upper lip, do not say anything! Just step away, and let her ride it out. She is not responsible for what she says if you make a smart remark. Trust me on this. Just trust me. This process might go on for years. I’m sorry but it’s true. Blame Eve. It’s all her fault. I learned that peppermint oil, placed on the back of the neck helps! It instantly cools and smells nice too. Clary Calm contains a proprietary blend of essential oils that soothes as well. I use both of these!

Sleepy?

So just about the time you finally recover from the lack of sleep you suffered when your kids were little, and you’re finally feeling all rested, you will receive this little gift from Mother Menopause. Tossing. Turning. Sweating. Essentially catnapping at night instead of sleeping deeply, it can wear you out!  You can treat those baggy eyes with Rodan & Fields Redefine Multi Function Eye Cream. You’ll still be exhausted, but your eyes won’t give it away!

Menopause Brain

You walk into the room and completely forget what you went in there for. You start a project, walk away to answer the phone and forgot what you were doing. You put the butter in the cabinet, and your keys in the refrigerator. You call your kids each other’s names, often. This symptom is very similar to pregnancy brain. It’s not really fair that this situation happens to us twice in our lives. The restless sleep doesn’t help things either. I’ve tried several natural solutions, including Lavender essential oil and Melatonin.

The Desert

I was trying to think of how to put this delicately. Let’s just say that your body becomes as dry as the Sahara. Dry. Everything gets dry. When I say everything, I mean every- single-thing. Your hair, your skin, your nails, your eyes, and your “you know what”. Fortunately, there’s help for all of that. Lots and lots of nice help. Get help ladies. Get help. Trust me. Life’s too short to feel like a shriveled up old prune. Talk to your gynecologist about your symptoms. Now is not the time to be shy! You also need to rethink your skin care routine too. You can reduce those visible signs of aging and dry skin just by upping your skin care game.  I use Rodan & Fields Redefine Regimen, and just added Active Hydration Serum to my daily routine. It’s made a huge difference, my skin just drinks it up!

The Dreaded Meno-Pot Belly etc. etc. etc. 

Yep. it’s a thing. And it truly stinks. Your cute little tummy that may have been left a little soft from childbearing will start travelling north, directly under your bra. You will have fat in places you never had before. Your butt might spread,  and your boobs will drift south, reaching out for that pot belly. It’s lovely. Fight back with exercise and diet to the best of your ability, but I’m here to tell ya, you’re going to notice a change anyway. Embrace it, learn to highlight your best features, and try to live as healthfully as you can. It will all balance out eventually.

Mood Swings

This was the weirdest one. Because I’ve never been a moody person. I’ve always been optimistic and joyful. Silly even. But during those years, I was all over the place. Laughter! Giggles! Tears. Hysterical tears for no reason. Hallmark commercials slayed me. People irritated me to death. Which was difficult because I worked with the public, and I didn’t like most of the public! I was a weirdo. I felt like a weirdo. Luckily, this symptom didn’t last long. I didn’t enjoy it in the least!

A Little Introspection (okay a LOT of Instrospection)

There was an adjustment period as things were winding down, and reality hit me. A lot of introspection about who I was, and what was I here for. I could no longer have children. Even though I didn’t want to, it was really difficult to admit that part of my life was over. I had days when I felt old, especially when compared to some of my friends who hadn’t crossed the menopause bridge yet. Here I was, shrivelled up and used up and finished. I really had to work through some things y’all.

And then there’s Life after Menopause!

I’ve crossed the Menopause Bridge and I’m basically back to normal. Or the new normal. Some of these symptoms still hang on, but in a milder form. Especially the interrupted sleep and the foggy brain that goes with it. But, after all that scary and annoying stuff, let me tell you what’s awesome about being on the other side of menopause. Freedom. No more periods! No having to worry about if it’s a safe day to wear white pants. No planning trips and vacations around the monthly visitation. No cramps. Hallelujah! No cramps. I suffered for years. What a relief to not have to feel that pain every 28 days. No more birth control pills, or pregnancy scares. Just liberating freedom to enjoy the empty nest and embrace growing older. There’s also a self confidence and acceptance that arrives with the end of the menopause journey.

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I love being a woman. It’s been such a blessing to carry babies, to nurse them, to nurture them. Even if there were times I felt like my body was fighting me, I feel like it’s all been worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I could sure use some sleep. And does anybody know what I did with my keys?

Thanks for dropping by and reading my recent ramblings. Hope you enjoyed it! Have you experienced any life changes lately that made you reexamine your life? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below!

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3 thoughts on “What to Expect When You’re (not) Expecting… Menopause

  1. I will definitely need to remember the lavender oil! I feel like I am rapidly approaching menopause since I have quite a few of these symptoms already!

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