Move into the heart: what I know about peri-menopause

The only thing I knew about peri-menopause
Came from my mother who told me that it came early for  her.
Unlike my mother who had  2 children by the time she was 22,
I give birth to my first baby at 35, then another one at 37, and again at 42.

I desired natural birth.
I birthed at home with a midwife. 
I nursed for years.

I think, perhaps this won't happen to me—the whole hormonal deal. 
I eat healthy, I exercise... I'm different.

Then I notice the rage coming out of the blue.
My emotions going from zero to 60 in a split second. 

I quit coffee.

And one night lying in bed,
Feeling like crap after losing my patience at my youngest over brushing teeth,
I face the possibility that hormones may be a part of what I'm feeling.

I wrestle with guilt and relief all that night,
waking in the morning as exhausted as a prize fighter who has fought a full 10 rounds.

I decide I will get informed.
I'll stop thinking that this "won't happen to me."
My daughter and I have years of
her childhood left, and I don't want to be this version of myself.

I cry to a friend about it on my cell phone as I drive back from drop-off at school.

I explain what I'm feeling,
and that my 7 year old deserves more
and that of course I must be dealing with hormones...

I'm almost 50.

My friend who doesn't have time for the feelings prescribes vitamins for me. (She has a lot of knowledge here and I get upset at her for not letting me have my feelings).
I apologize days later, but rush to the pharmacy for vitamins.
They help.

Oh my god, they help.

My body starts to ache
in ways I'm not familiar with.
I'm a warrior woman...
I don't have sore shoulders or feet.
This is not my body, I think.

I go to a chiropractor,
I do a home hormone test,
and go to my natural doctor
(who is also a dear friend) who shares her findings
and gives me supplements.

I don't have hot flashes until one morning in the kitchen making breakfast.
I feel a wave of heat
and I end up crying to my husband.
I cry out of the overwhelming sense that I'm old.
Overnight,
in the midst of a hot flash,
I feel my life is ending. 
And indeed it is, in some ways.
I am transitioning to a part of life
that I've never really heard about, except in loss.

I decide that morning in the kitchen
with my husband looking at me with total confusion
that I am going to educate and
transform this experience, just like I did with my birth experiences.

::

I start reading. 
I take my supplements, (sometimes).
I experience vertigo so badly that I lay on the floor in between making French toast
and peanut butter sandwiches.

I keep researching
and I find solutions,
but what I'm mostly interested in is the grief.

The grief of losing the young woman I once was—
the beauty, the skin, the body... the superficial things.
I grieve that she never felt worthy or thin enough. 
I grieve that time has passed so quickly and that I never really took her in.

After fully feeling into this, I decide  
that I will feel now
that I will cry  now
that I will embrace this time
with honesty and bravery 

I'm alive, for god's sake.

Love,
Carrie-Anne


a note about this story:

I wrote this a while ago, before my 50th birthday. Just the other day, I sat with my dear friend and read her these words that I wrote last year. She is a natural doctor and wise beyond measure.

She told me, "Tell the women that during the childbearing and menstrual years, all the life force goes to the pelvis. During peri-menopause and menopause, that the energy moves into the heart. Now we can do our lives' work. We can be clear and say what we need."