Put a Smile on Your Face

The Next Family

By: Stacey Ellis

When I hear the word “menopause”, I think old.  I just do.  Not old as in 80 years old, but “past your prime” old.  My mom went into menopause at the age of 55.  That seemed normal.  Most of my friends are in their early 40s.  The concept of menopause is completely foreign to them.  Well it’s no longer foreign to me.

I haven’t had my period since April.  So I went to see my doctor and had that good ol’ FSH test run – you know the test that your whole fertile life hinges on.  Sure enough my FSH was 63.  For those who don’t know – anything over 10 is bad for attempting to become pregnant.  Over 15 is a “don’t even try” to get pregnant and well, above that is simply menopause.

It didn’t shock me.  Like I said, I hadn’t had my period for months.  And now this finally explained my complete and utter irritation with the world around me.  Every morning I wake up irritated.  Every night I go to bed irritated.  It’s not anger, or depression…it’s down right irritation.  Like a bug that bites you and you can’t stop scratching.  Or a cricket that simply won’t stop chirping.  The best way I can describe it is irritated.

I don’t want my daughter to be around negative energy so I put on my best ‘show face’ and make sure the game is on during our time together.  We have an hour commute to daycare and an hour commute home.  We play children’s songs or she sleeps.  I make sure evenings are full of “happy mommy”.  But sometimes I really wonder how much she can sense.  She seems to be very intuitive for a nearly-one-year-old.

And so after five months of being period-free –and I must admit, as irritated as I have been, that has been pretty darn nice– I got it…heavy, long, for over a week.  I was like, “What the___?”  Sure enough, when you take hormone replacement therapy, it can trigger, of all things, your cycle.  WHOOPA! I’m in menopause with an irregular, who-knows-when-it-will-hit, cycle!  It doesn’t get more irritating than that.

So today I woke up and decided I wasn’t going to be irritated. I smiled before I got out of bed.  I smiled before I took my daughter to daycare.  I smiled through my whole day. Smiling helps.  Really, it does.  It doesn’t take away what is crawling under my skin, but it helps.  And so tomorrow I will smile again…because irritated people aren’t really fun to be around.  And I like when people want to be around me, especially my daughter.

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