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Perimenopause - the end and some final thoughts

Posted Dec 02 2008 9:03pm

Well, ladies, here we are.  We’ve finally come to the end.

Yes, yes, I know it has taken me a while to get here.  I’m a bit slow out of the gate these days. But I’m here and ready to wrap up the series with some final thoughts.

First, I hope, in my own Magnolia way, I’ve been able to provide enough information, insight and direction with this series, and that you’ve been able to glean something useful and valuable.

At the very least, I hope I’ve been able to point you to more resources and other sites that can help you as well.

I am not, as my standard disclaimer is, medically trained. Nor am I a clinician.  Sometimes I wish I were.  Especially if I thought it could help you more.

I can only give you the best that I have - my hard won insight and the benefit of my personal experience. 

So, in that regard, please take what you can from The Magnolia Diaries and leave the rest. 

The Conclusion of the Matter   

Perimenopause, as we have learned, is no easy row to hoe. 

Its roller coaster ups and downs, cruel unpredictability and unrelenting torrent of raging hormones leave so many of us feeling we’ve been to hell and back.

And we don’t even have a t-shirt to show for it.

We battle our way through the night sweats, the hot flashes and the mood swings, only to be left with the deadness of our womb.

Is it any wonder that so many of us get depressed? 

And then, just when you think you have this thing whipped, perimenopause makes one last demand:  A paradigm shift. 

That’s right.

Your fertility has ceased, the aging process is clearly underway and now you’ve got at least 45 to 50 years under your belt.  You are officially middle-aged.

Previous definitions, assumptions and beliefs no longer apply.

Many women, myself included, begin the process of completely re-evaluating their entires lives.  Questions that you thought had long been answered are now being revisited - along with a few new ones as well. 

A self-image that has evolved in large part out of our fertility is forced to be redefined. 

Questions like, “Am I still beautiful? ”  “Will I still be desirable?”   and the proverbial,   ”Who the hell am I now?   are just a few that many women ask.

We transition from mother to grandmother and sometimes from wife to caretaker. Needless to say, coming to grips with so much loss and change can be emotionally overwhelming and daunting. 

And it just seems so unfair at times.  I mean, isn’t it enough that we’ve lost our fertility, our hair is turning gray and that we hardly recognize our bodies anymore? 

Now we get to have an existential crisis  too?  Say it ain’t so. 

Unfortunately, it is.  The life that we once knew is over. The years that have brought us to this point have essentially abandoned us at the door of a new life and we get to figure it out all over again.

But take heart menopause mavens, there is an upside.

After every ending there is a new beginning. And  this new beginning marks the second half of our lives.

I like to call it Volume II. You can too if you would like.  After all, with everything you’ve been through to get here, you can call it any damn thing you want as far as I’m concerned.  You’ve earned it.

You’ve also earned the distinct advantage of being able to begin this volume with the hard won experience and knowledge acquired in Volume I.

So you’re not exactly going into this one blind, you know? 

And since it’s your story, you get to edit.  Heck, you can even re-edit if you want.

And if that’s not enough, just go ahead rewrite the entire narrative.  It’s yours to rewrite. 

It’s also your voice and your prose. And the wisdom of your years will give it the perfect rhythm and the perfect meter. 

You can decide who the characters will be and how they will be written into the story.  Or you can decide to not write them in at all.  In short,  ( pardon the pun ) write it any way you want.  Yeah.  Go ahead.

Think of it as your reward for persevering, enduring and making it through to the other side - and, God help us, for not murdering any immediate family members along the way. ( Can I hear an amen sistahs? )

Even though middle-age and perimenopause  ( with its rabble rousing band of hormonal gypsies ) has likely left us feeling a bit worn,  a little tattered, and maybe exposing a bit of our shelf wear, we can still be thankful.

We’ve lived long enough to know that you cannot judge a book by its cover. 

Shiney jackets, glossy images, catchy titles or even a fancy leather binding do not gurantee a good read.

Instead, it is in the details of the story and how is it told that brings it to life and captures the imagination. 

So, in some weird way, we can actually thank perimenopause. Because, without having experienced it, we wouldn’t be here.

And if we weren’t here, we wouldn’t be as seasoned, interesting or tethered to the things in life that gives us the material to craft Volume II . 

Yes, it’s been tough, and maybe if we had been given a choice, we might have chosen differently. 

But we weren’t and we didn’t, and so here we are:  Mature, middle-aged and with a story to tell.

And boy, is it a page turner.

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