Navigating the next phase photo by Jamie Street

Mid Life Musings

In the spirit of our name, we want to explore what it’s really like to menstruate. In this post our lovely Nicola starts to explore what periods are all about in your forties…

Today I have been reviewing books for our website. Super titles aimed at girls and their parents
addressing all aspects of puberty and periods and how we can support and nurture our young
people through this fantastic transition.

There has been an explosion in books on the subject in recent years and it is testament to the
dedication and consistent campaigning of women across the world. I find it really heartening that
as a mother I can turn to any number of authors for help and insight into any aspect of my
parenting journey. In fact I have been able to do so right from the moment I realised I was first
pregnant.

It is with this in mind that I turn to the point at which I find myself now. I am Day 1 of my menstrual
cycle, hence the reflective mood and I realise that I as this time of the month roles around again I
find myself asking “What now?”. I am turning forty five this year. My babies are growing up. The likelihood of us having anymore is down to roughly zero. My hair is turning grey in places and some days I seem to creek when I get
out of bed. Other than that I am fit and well. My cycle is still as regular as it has ever been. I do
wonder if I am ovulating every month as the telltale signs seem to have diminished. I feel no
strong desire to take an ovulation test as I’m not trying to get pregnant. Some months my PMT is
terrible. Some months I have cramps reminiscent of my late teen years and I still keep coming
back to the question “What now?”

What is the point of my menstrual life now? I have spent my adult life to date coming to terms
with my cycle. Working to address the various difficulties I have experienced in relation to it,
experimenting, consulting various practitioners to bring balance into a complex system that had
none for many years. Thankfully there has been considerable literature available for me to consult
from across a spectrum viewpoints and I am happy to say I have come to view my cycle as an
ally.

If my menstrual cycle is my hard-won ally then what do I do with the prospect of it stuttering to a
stop? The process of bringing my cycle and my appreciation of it into balance has been a long
road. I find myself wondering if the journey through perimenopause will be similar. Will I find
myself panicked and sweating and wondering what the hell is going on? I hope not.
While mainstream culture is beginning to break down the taboos around menarche and
menstruation it is still very quiet about the other end of the story – menopause – and quieter still
about the road from A to B. From a quick look online there seems to be a beautiful burgeoning of
groups all over the world celebrating women at our time of life and offering support and
information. There are also some very interesting looking books that offer to put the
perimenopausal years into context.

What I propose to do is explore this time in our lives as it unfolds for me and take a deep dive into
the literature that I come across, sharing my findings as I go. I’m hoping this will help me to
answer my initial question and allow me to move into this next stage of my life with curiosity and
an open mind. I hope you’ll join me….

 

Thanks to Jamie Street for the image.

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