Last Friday, I attended another coffee night with the 1.17 Moms, a local adoption support group. As is customary, we closed down Starbucks and conversations lingered in the parking lot until it started drizzling rain.
This time, a Facebook friend I met years ago during my fertility clinic days joined us as she is now a hopeful adoptive parent. It was wonderful to catch up with her in person, and as we talked, our conversations turned to what became of our fertility struggles.
As I shared previously, it seems that I have POF (Premature Ovarian Failure.) Basically, my ovaries are headed to bingo nights at the nearest geriatric care facility, leaving my 31-year-old body facing menopause much earlier than planned. Sounds hot, right? Hot flashes, that is.
Honestly, I had a really hard time with this information at first. While it was comforting to have a diagnosis, it was also bittersweet. It brought up some tough emotions, and I once again had to say goodbye to the idea of pregnancy. I wrote the following at the time:
As I’ve written, neither Charlie or I have ever cared about having “our” child, but as a woman, it has been hard letting go of the idea of experiencing pregnancy. Maybe I shouldn’t still want that. I feel selfish admitting it. But there’s still a part of me that aches to know what it would feel like to have a life inside me….to give birth. To watch my body change. My logical self tells me to get over it. And yet….there’s still this wondering.
In the past few months, blood tests supported the doctor’s theory on my aging ovaries, although no one can tell me exactly when I’ll fully make “the change.” I did go visit my normal OBGYN a few months ago to help manage some of the increasing symptoms. My cycle has continued to shorten to 24-25 days, and I’m having frequent headaches. Also, there are times that I kind of want to punch the world in the face while eating an entire bag of Oreo cookies. Don’t worry….I refrain. Mostly. 🙂
Ladies, remember when you were 12 or so, and you first started your period? Remember how things weren’t always regular at first as your body figured out what to do with this mass of crazy hormones, and the smallest thing could send you into a torrent of tears? Yeah, so the doctor said apparently my body will pass back through a similar stage on the return trip. I’m a 31-year-old trapped in the hormonal landscape of an adolescent. Yay. Fortunately, I at least have some experience and more logic for the journey back.
Anyway, at coffee night, I shared an abbreviated version of this health update, and my friend’s eyes widened.
“No way! You too?”
Then we hugged and laughed and joked about how totally unsexy it is to be facing menopause at our age. (For the record though, we are still so sexy. Our personalities more than make up for a few hormones.) I don’t know about her, but I found great comfort in the “me too.” There’s so much strength in simply knowing you’re not alone in something, and she’s the first person I’ve been able to talk to that shares this particular path.
And in talking to her, I realized I’ve come a long way in the past few months. I can talk about it without embarrassment or the painful sting. I can find the humor and choose to laugh. In fact, I’m seriously considering a “Farewell to the Period” party at some point in the future. Someone suggested burning tampons, which would be sort of awesome. I’m also taking suggestions for creatively themed cocktail names.
In the meantime, I’m moving on with my full and undeservedly blessed life, and I’m thankful to a faithful God. I’m thankful for friends who sit in coffee shops, nails salons, or on couches and share their stories, knowing that by sharing burdens, we conquer fear and hurt. Together, we find healing and peace.