Pregnant or Perimenopause?
It begins with an odd juxtaposition. I'm at the drugstore picking up a pregnancy test, but thanks to my elderly eyeballs I can’t read the package. So there I stood with a potentially fecund uterus and with certainly past-their-prime optic lenses. Hmm, is this perimenopause?
There had certainly been signs: the rage that comes out of nowhere, the headaches, the fatigue, but these can all be attributed to lots of things. A late period at 43, when my cycle had been pretty regular is my canary in the coal mine; menopause is coming. If I'm like many, menopause will be a decade-long roller coaster and I fully intend to keep my eyes open for the whole ride while throwing my arms up and screaming on particularly nasty slopes and bends. I once read that there have been nearly 120 billion people who have ever lived. If I make a quick and unscientific allowance for those who didn’t reach adulthood I can halve this number and safely assume nearly 50 billion (with a B) women have gone through menopause before me. I can do it.
That pregnancy test was negative as I knew it would be and relief washed over me, but a different kind of relief a negative test would have provided for me in my 20s. This is the relief of a woman who is grateful for her two healthy children, and can certainly not handle the demands of a newborn, but a relief that is also heavily flavored with a feeling of loss that is hard to put words to yet. I know I do not want more children but I think I still want the chance to have children, and that door is very rapidly closing. I will take effort to not look too long at that closed door, I don’t want to miss what’s coming.