As soon as I hit 29, I knew I wanted to find my husband. I had it all planned out. I would meet the man of my dreams, fall madly in love, buy a home, have children, and live happily ever after.
I was determined to find my Mr. Right as quickly as possible, so I went looking for him, well, I say I went looking for him, what I mean is that I just made sure that I was ready at all times in case I bumped into him – I always did my hair, kept my legs smooth, never went one day without mascara, and always kept my eyes peeled, every single day, looking for that one perfect man. Then, on November 19th 2003, I found him.
It was an immediate connection and sure enough, we were engaged 6 months later. He was a bass player in a band. Life with him was amazing – it was fast, and cool, and rock and roll.
Two years later, I was ready for stage 2, so I announced: “I want us to start trying for a baby”.
The baby planning didn’t happen as quickly as the husband planning did, but, between the age of 32-36 I worked damn hard, with the help of IVF to have our twin daughters.
The four years that it took me to get pregnant were tough. It was lonely, scary and hugely isolating. I didn’t really know what the hell I was doing. I didn’t research, I didn’t reach out to anyone, I just got on with it. A mistake I will never make again when it comes to my body.
No one told me that understanding what my body was actually going through, would help in the slightest. Nobody talked about IVF back then. No one said, “understand why you can’t conceive and go from there”. No one said to me “your husband is a bass player in a band, have you discussed making lifestyle changes?!” No one told me to do my research. It sounds ridiculous now that I say it out loud.
Anyway, despite the agonising four years of TTC, with some major bumpy roads along the way, including developing the most severe and life-threatening side effects to IVF that you can get, we did get there in the end. Our beautiful twin daughters were born on Nov 1, 2010.
Life with twins was hardcore to begin with, but, it has gotten easier over the years. With the girls turning 10 this year, I feel as though I am just getting back to who I was when my husband first met me and `i am ready to enjoy that sweet rock and roll again in my size 10 jeans…
Well, that was until one of my girlfriends said to me recently “do you think you are peri-menopausal” upon hearing that I had walloped a coat hanger into a squeaky door to “make it stop squeaking!!!!”.
The word hung in the air……perimenopause.
I laughed the word away. It couldn’t be that time already!!! But this year I turn 46, so ….oh my god!!
Since hearing those shocking words, as they cut through the angry air, I have been through several stages of what I can only describe as grief for my youth:
1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance.
After a lot of deep thought, I am now ‘comfortably’ settled in stage 5 and am able to look at my life with fresh eyes:
I had put my moods down to tiredness and my less than flat stomach down to an allergy to bread (deluded!).
I had noticed my skin was getting dryer, but I thought this was down to the amount of wine I drink to the amount of water I don’t drink, ratio.
I had noticed that my lower cheeks looked a little ‘jowelly’….but I was just ignoring that.
I had put my sleepless nights down to stress and once again, the amount of wine I was drinking because of the stress.
Deep breath. It’s coming……
As part of my acceptance of the next stage of my life, I have decided to take hold of the soon to arrive (peri)menopause and gain as much control of it as I can. Unlike the lack of preparation I made for my baby-making plans, I will be ready for this next chapter of my life.
So here is my plan:
I will do my research and talk to experts and ask questions.
I will understand what my body needs to compensate for the things it is losing.
I will look at lifestyle changes.
I will read up on supplements I can take.
I will read books and talk to friends who have been through it.
I will look at a new skincare regime.
I will look into a new fitness plan.
I will not enter this stage of my life unprepared and naive, as I was in my mid-thirties when I couldn’t figure out why I just wasn’t getting pregnant. I will take control, love my body and try and understand why mother nature felt the menopause was so damn necessary!
(I will also oil that f**cking squeaky door before I rip it off its hinges!!)
In the first stage of her plan, Sara talks to top women’s health expert Dr. Sherry and asks her what life in the menopause is like….