Welcome to the World of Woman

I’m on a journey. A journey towards Womanhood. Yes, I know, I’m already 31. In some ways, I’m very much a woman. In other ways, I’m still only 13.

In March of 2008, I went off of the birth control pill. I thought, “Hey, I’m ready to be a mama. I’ll get pregnant the first month I’m off the pill, because that’s the most fertile, right? And next year, I’ll have a baby!”

That’s not how things went. As you’re probably guessing.

So, I had three periods, that kept getting longer and longer apart, until after the third one, they stopped. That was June 2008. By September 2008, I was a bit upset. I went to see my doctor (Thanks, N) and discovered that I had Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is where there are lots of little cysts on the ovaries from half-ripe eggs. The most Western medicine could do was to describe the condition, and tell you what is correlated with it, not why it happens.

I did a lot of research about it. I kept hoping to find a magic bullet that would tell me why my body was doing this, so that I could take a pill or something and have it be all better, so that I could absolutely avoid looking at my own habits for things that might need to change.

I saw a nutritionist (awesome woman who looks at the whole woman, including emotional and spiritual in addition to physical – Thank you, S). She had me get some blood work, which confirmed that I’m hypoglycemic, which is one of the things associated with PCOS.

Meanwhile, in my head, I knew that I wanted to become a mother. I also knew that I wanted to do it in as natural a way as possible, with as few as possible chemical interventions. Going a more natural way, was incompatible with my general impatience, and the idea that I started the year with – i.e. that I should be pregnant by now.

I had a lot of grieving to do. I had to let go of my preconceived notions about how this would all go. I had to let go of My Timetable – i.e. my perception of my family’s timetable or What’s Always Been Done aka having babies in your mid-twenties. I had to let go of my impatience.

Because the two ideas – getting pregnant now and being naturally supportive of my body – seemed to be incompatible, I had to pick which one was better for me. I picked letting my body figure out what it was about in its own time, since I have time.

So, having shifted the focus, at least in verbage, I started seeing an acupuncturist, because I like their holistic, integrated approach, even if I can’t fully explain it. It felt right. I picked a wonderful acupuncturist (Thank you, D) in my neighborhood, who I’ve been seeing since January. She’s very empathetic, and gentle. I loved the needles and herbs right away. I also like the nutrition and lifestyle suggestions she made – except for one.

She, along with my nutritionist (from an ayervedic perspective) and all the western suggestions for treating PCOS, strongly suggested cutting out sugar. HUGE RESISTANCE! How could I ever do that? Well, I eventually did. I began slowly, by increasing the amount of proteins I was eating to give myself more steady energy. That helped some. But I wasn’t fully there. Mostly, I didn’t want to accept that this was something that would actually be good for me to do. I didn’t want to change. I thought it would be too hard. I liked desserts too much. A million other excuses.

In March 2009, I had plateaued. My acupuncturist finally said, “Velma, you’re really hard to help.”

That sunk in. Here I was, paying people to help me do something I wanted to do, and I was resisting the very things they suggested that would help me get to where I wanted to be. It was also around this time that I had several helpful conversations with friends. One shared that while she can’t physically have kids, she absolutely know that her children are out there and she’ll find them at the right time. (Thanks, P.) Another shared that if my desire was to have a baby, then there were western drugs I could take that could help me do that (Thank you, S). Both of these ideas helped take the pressure off, and helped me reach that zen spot about the whole baby thing. I finally accepted that yes, I do want to support my body naturally to figure out what it’s about, and yes, I can reach a point where I can try western drugs to help, and yes, we can adopt too.

And, I finally accepted that not eating sugar was something that I wanted to do. Then, really, I just kind of stopped eating it. All of the prep work, and diet changes previous helped, but it was the removal of the mental block that allowed me to do it. So, I stopped eating sugar. I accepted that to be how I wanted to be (fertile) involved change.

A few weeks later, I had my first period in nine months. It was hard. It arrived at 4am, with a massive, doubling over, cry out in pain cramp. It was really hard to be grateful. It also came with grand emotionality. I was Kali with a vengence. I was so crabby. I was weepy. I picked fights. I yelled. I felt like a self I’d not ever really been. I felt like myself without filters. Without the ability or desire to keep any peace, serenity or calm. All of the things that usually bothered me that I could let go, I couldn’t let go. They just bothered me and I said so. To Mark. Forcefully. Not eloquently. Not in a way that could be heard. It was traumatic. I got triggered. I triggered him. It was not pretty. It lasted a weekend, and was gone.

A month later, I had a more moderate level PMS for a week. Still the filters were off, but I had moments of clarity. I was a little better about giving myself space. It was still traumatic.

This is where I feel like I’m 13.

So, I’m 31 and I’m having PMS for the first time in my life. I’m being Welcomed to the World of Woman.

I’m extremely grateful that my body is making progress towards being more hormonally balanced. I didn’t expect the journey to be so rocky or dangerous.

I don’t really know how to handle it. I’m just beginning to understand the signals. I’m just beginning to get some ideas about how I might better take care of myself during those times, so that I inflict less pain on myself and others. I also want to learn how to honor and communicate the conflicts that arise during those times. I probably am too easy going the rest of the time. Maybe I can learn how to voice what’s bothering me more of the time so that it doesn’t have to explode to be heard – by me or others. (Thanks, D)

Any experience, strength or hope you have would be appreciated.

Namaste.

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2 Responses to Welcome to the World of Woman

  1. Laura K. says:

    Premenstrual Syndrome
    By Sharon H. Nelson

    This is the time of the month when you find
    your husband’s a fool,
    regret having children, wish
    you had studied music, architecture, law, anything but how
    to get the potatoes, green beans, roast, and rolls
    all hot and on the table together.

    This is the time of the month
    when your patience has shrunk
    to the size of a pea.

    This is the time of the month when you discover:
    the house you live in is unsuitable;
    you’d rather throw out the dishes than wash them;
    you’ve always detested ironing.

    This is the time of the month
    when things you usually overlook
    irritate you to screaming;
    when things you don’t usually notice
    take on proportions that drive you to frenzy.

    This is the time of the month
    when you stomp
    out of the house,
    drive aimlessly round the city,
    just to get away from the noise,
    the electricity created by lives
    rubbing up against each other,
    and also,
    to remember
    the feel
    of your own flesh
    on your own bones.

    This is the time of the month
    when everyone’s wary,
    when they smile slyly and shake their heads,
    as if only they knew the name
    of the dis-ease that afflicts you.

    This is the time of the month
    when doctors are kind to you,
    prescribe tablets and capsules and liquids and rest,
    are in sympathy
    with those who must
    live with this anguish, this tension,
    this unfortunate physiological response to a genetic program,
    that seems to provoke
    witchery, bitchery, shadow, and shades in
    otherwise perfectly respectable folk.

    What if
    this is the time of the month
    when your perceptions are sharpest?

    What if
    this is the time of the month when
    the illusions you hug round you,
    warm and comforting and thick as a rug,
    flap in the chill wind of seeing,
    what actually is?

    What if
    this is the time of the month when
    the normal, the usual, are revealed
    as the lies you tell yourself
    three hundred and thirty days of the year?

    What if
    this is the time of the month when
    the tears you haven’t time for well up, overflow,
    and you know, as surely as you know
    what time of the month it is,
    that your husband’s a fool,
    you regret having children,
    you wish to study music?

    What if?

    –poem from “I Am Becoming the Woman I’ve Wanted,” 1994.

    I love this poem! It has helped me see more clearly that yes, the things that bug me when I have PMS I really should deal with; I deserve to have them resolved (e.g. working with my boss to make my working conditions fit my personality and me better), and at the same time, yes, it is perfectly legit to feel totally overwhelmed and stressed, and that means I am absolutely justified in taking extra good care of myself during these times. For me that means: making sure I get extra rest, get lots of alone time, reduce my exposure to noise as much as possible, be religious in taking walks or exercise during lunch time, eating lots of especially nutritious food, and sometimes avoiding caffeine, sugar, chocolate, and tropical fruits. And! taking anti-depressants for the first time in my life, being willing to go back on the pill until the very last minute (even though I’ve been on it for 20 years and that scares me), avoiding dairy products all the time, and taking extra care to get lots of magnesium, calcium, vitamin E and all B vitamins. Other things that are recommended for alleviating mood swings include the use of herbs (vitex aka chaste berry), stress-reduction exercises, certain acupressure exercises (Bean rubs my head and that’s pretty much equivalent to these), use of neurolymphatic massage points and neurovascular holding points, and yoga. For more info, see “PMS Self Help Book” by Susan M. Lark, MD.

    I know you are already doing lots of these things!!! Keep up the great work, and hang in there!

    love, Laura

  2. Intriguing read. There is certainly currently quite lots of information all over this topic all around and about about the net and some are most defintely greater than others. You could have caught the detail the following just correct which makes for a refreshing change – thanks.

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