GENUINE WARNING: This post is going to make many of you uncomfortable. It’s explicitly about the issues I’m experiencing with the Menopause, and is worth repeating only for the fact that I never realised just how horrendous it was going to be. BE AWARE THEREFORE, there is massive squick ahead.
If it wasn’t bad enough that my daughter decided to gift me the vomiting bug late in the week, I also began to menstruate. Except this isn’t like any kind of ‘period’ I have ever experienced before. As a guide, I’m normally quite regular and fairly heavy in my blood loss, mostly because (I assume) of having carried two kids plus a C-section scar from one of them. The last time I actually had a menstrual episode was late November, leading me to realise that those hot flushes and hormonal swings really were the signals that menopause is real and happening. I’d been spotting for about a fortnight, trying to bleed but singularly failing, and I’d kind of assumed that I was done in that department. I was wrong.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
The weekend was, to be honest, an utter fucking nightmare. Any hope of a romantic celebration of 29 years together with my husband on Sunday had evaporated by Saturday afternoon, after I’d worked my way through 20 sanitary towels in less than 24 hours. I was light-headed and nauseous, and it had nothing to do with my stomach issue, which had finally vanished. As a guide I probably wear a packet of product (if that) and have been using a Mooncup as an environmentally-healthy alternative where possible. This time around my Mooncup couldn’t cope, and the flow was horribly and continuously unrelenting. Needless to say my husband was an absolute fucking saint and by teatime yesterday, *finally* my body decided it was done. I’d estimate I’ve probably bled four to six times heavier than I have at any point in my life, and I was probably more dehydrated at the end of Sunday night than I’d been after the vomiting.
Amazingly, the Internet was remarkably helpful: I did briefly think that maybe I was haemorrhaging about 3 am on Saturday morning, having gotten out of bed too fast before summarily falling over and right on top of my husband who, like a trooper just slept right through it. Mostly, I am grateful for being able to read up about this stuff when nobody I know is experiencing anything like this to either talk to about. I thought that maybe it might not be a subject for a blog post either, but I can still recall with abject clarity how much menstruation and sexuality generally was taboo even when I was young. An awful lot has changed in 30 years, and it occurs to me that stigma only happens when you allow it. This process has happened for thousands of years and yet nobody talks about it, because it effectively marks the end of a woman’s usefulness. If you cannot carry a child, then to some you become something less worthwhile. Which is so fucking stupid it’s ridiculous.
Without putting too fine a point on it, and so I don’t overegg my personal pudding, this is the most comfortable I’ve ever felt with sexuality, my own body and how I use it since I first experienced arousal. The removal of fertility does not and should not mark the end of a woman’s ability to do ANYTHING in that regard, and treating her otherwise? Stop it. Just don’t go there, because it’s a fallacy. Okay, the journey is painful and at least in this case debilitating, but now this has happened once I’m ready for it. There will be much crossing of everything that this is an isolated incident, but part of me thinks it won’t be and if there’s a repeat I’ll seek some medical advice going forward. Fortunately for me both kids were away this weekend and my husband has bent over backwards not only to make me feel loved, but to make clear that he understands what’s going on.
I’m just looking forward to returning to some semblance of normality, and not having to sleep on the toilet.