A few months ago when I did a blood test we found out I'm perimenopausal. That means the years-long process of closing down the baby factory has begun. It's still operational. In fact, supposedly I have the reproductive system of a 37-year-old, which, as a 46-year-old is ... what, um, neat? Anyway.
What this means for me is that I'm producing less progesterone lately. And how that plays out for everyone is going to vary widely. No hot flashes for me, yet (maybe because I do so much sweating in the gym). But I am one moody bitch for 10 days out of the month. And I get bloated during the same time period. Like, human water balloon bloated. My waist expands by a full inch. I'm not exaggerating. I've measured before, during, and after and it actually fluctuates by an inch.
I'm already doing all the other stuff that helps minimize symptoms, so my doctor has me on some herbal supplements and they seem to be working this month. I haven't made anyone cry (that I know of) and I'm not so bloated. We'll see how it goes.
When I bring up perimenopause with friends my age there's this palpable sense of relief. Finally, we're in a safe space to talk about this! Maybe it's because I work in youth-obsessed media, there's almost this paranoia about admitting you're old enough for that. Oh no, don't let the millennial readers find out! It will scare them way! They'll scamper off like frightened mice!
But we do need to talk about this more. Don't you think? Maybe it's just that it's new to me. I'm like that asshole parent who thinks she's the first woman ever to experience motherhood. Or those annoying people who think their new love is lovier than everyone else's. You guys, I've discovered this thing? It's called PERIMENOPAUSE! I figured it out. You're welcome.
I'll tell you what, though. As a friend of mine was just telling me, they need to call it something else. Because it sounds medical and dire, like something is terribly wrong with you. Why don't men have a terrible word like this? "I'm perimenopausal." "Oh my God, I'm so sorry. Can they do something about that?" "Yes, they're putting me down tomorrow. Now that I'm no longer reproductive I am of no use to the world. I'm leaving you my skinny jean collection, which I'm too bloated right now to wear."
Anyway, I have more to say on this subject. Much more. But this is just to say, let's have a conversation about perimenopause. And let's come up with a better word for it.