The Following post is by one of our apprentices Abby Kaufmann:
About a year and a half ago, I started having some symptoms that I self-diagnosed as perimenopausal. I am not a doctor, so how would I know that these symptoms were indeed possibly the signs of perimenopause? The big clue that something was up with me was missing a period. Since age 13 I have been a straight up 28 day regular as clockwork kind of woman. I knew I was not pregnant, and I do not have any other issues that typically cause changes in the menstrual cycle. I, therefore, assumed it might be the beginning of perimenopause. I was 47.
I began first, to look online, where all the information of the universe is held. Oddly enough, I found almost NO information. I was somewhat surprised. After all, people can go onto the internet to find out how to do so much, understand all kinds of things, get resources and support for myriad concerns. Yet, I felt let down by my search. Maybe I hadn’t looked properly? This WebMD page is certainly a good start. I didn’t even know what it was that I wanted to know, other than what to expect from my body. What I did find was that ANYTHING could happen.
I called my mother. She is a pragmatic person, and told me, “Oh, it’s no big deal”…. And yet, I recall her being miserable for what seemed like FOREVER. My aunt suggested I have the doctor test me to see where I was in the perimenopausal cycle. Although that seemed to be a reasonable suggestion, I wasn’t sure why I would NEED to do that. My grandmother was suddenly widowed around the time that her perimenopause probably took place. Her hair turned white almost over night, and I suspect that in her stress, at 51 with an immediate need to find work she may have been too grief-stricken and traumatized to notice that she was having hot flashes. She claims she never “went through any changes”. In a family of three formidable women, I was still lost. All I knew on my own was that I was, indeed, on my own. like!
It seems that although it may be typical to begin perimenopause around mid to late 40’s. that many people don’t start until later, although many start earlier or even EARLIER…. In the words, everyone’s experience of transitioning is different.
These posts will be about MY experience, thus far. Perhaps I can share something that will be helpful, or resonate with other women. The postings will NOT be about bashing others, promoting products or drawing lines. I don’t want to be pushed into a box for the withering, drying up ladies… At the same time, I do not wish to be a seeming alpha female who never seems driven off track. No, I am a real person, and this is an experience that has it’s ups and downs. I am not happy, because this is a milestone that heralds TO ME that although I am a vibrant, productive and energetic woman, I am on the road towards the end. I can no longer pretend that I will live forever. That bums me out. Yet, with this experience, I actually don’t want to either…. I was also hoping to open up the discussion in a embracing way so that our partners might find some insights as well. I don’t want to become invisible to society, to my community or to myself! I want to be empowered with knowledge, yet I am offended by gratuitous remarks such as “they aren’t hot flashes, they are power surges”…. NO DAMMIT!! Hot flashes are incredibly disruptive to me and uncomfortable. They, however, neither accentuate nor diminish my “power”.