Menopause is Real
This really happened.
Yesterday morning I woke up in one of those crazy sorts of sweats. I felt like a gummy bear. It’s the kind that makes your hair frizzy. Like you were in a rainstorm while you were sleeping.
Anyway – I jiggled my way onto my back, wherein I immediately noticed that my stomach looked like I was six months pregnant. My belly button was even popped out. Though newly married, I assure you 68-year-old-Old Spice and 54-year-old-me are not pregnant. But “what the hell” I thought as I stared at this stomach of mine.
I quietly examined my distended belly. I thought if I curled up to Old Spice, with his also sweaty frizzy hair, I would find some immediate comfort.
Under my morning breath, I quietly said, “I am so fat.”
Without hesitation my darling new husband said to me, so matter of factly, “We both need to lose weight.”
What?! Because lately feel I am also losing my mind, I asked Old Spice to repeat what he said. Hopefully my hearing was also going.
Nope. Sure enough, Old Spice patted his equally six month pregnant belly and said “We both could lose some weight.”
I have mentioned many times that Old Spice’s greatest quality is his authenticity, his brutal honesty. But seriously. Why? In bed with your new wife? Who, I will mention, is 14 years younger!
But I’m not upset, and … this is not about Old Spice.
How Does Nothing Fit Since Yesterday?
It’s about me really just wanting to lie on a couch in a caftan. I am serious. Like Mama Cass Elliot used to wear when she sang with the Mamas and the Papas in the late 60’s, sitting on a stool, singing. For me, just the caftan … no musical ability required. Actually, let’s go one step further. My current aspiration is to be wearing a caftan on a couch while binge watching 13 episodes of something completely mindless.
Connect that to my husband’s new interest in bonding over healthy eating and here is what I have discovered: One day you just wake up and literally everything is too tight. I mean actually nothing fits.
Of course, I can still fake it. You just need the extra long double control Spanx that go up so high they reach the underwire of a too tight bra. But that requires a lot of effort and it is so not worth it. Another new discovery? I simply can’t tolerate “uncomfortability” anymore. I just cannot.
I can no longer be miserable to look thin. Breathing is far too important.
Midlife Discovery: Breathing Beats Vanity
Case in point: I was recently at an all-day funeral. I had my one simple “go to” plain black dress. Done and done. But on this particular morning, this simple black dress required the double Spanx. I was rushing and I had no options. I had no choice.
Jump several hours later and I am in an Uber en route back to the hotel. Without a second of restraint, I told my very lovely elderly male driver, “I am sorry but I need to take off my Spanx. I am old and I am tired. I can’t breathe. Please understand. Please don’t be offended.” I rolled those things off my body so quickly Mr. Uber didn’t even notice.
Menopause Is Real
The point here is that menopause is real and alive and taking over my body one part at a time.
I never really believed in Menopause. It is a phenomenon that happens to other people who are elderly. (Sort of the exact same way I never believed in PMS. I was already a bitch. I needed no excuse.)
So I did what every disbelieving woman does in the face of menopause: I went to the doctor certain that I must be seriously ill. A virus or a parasite has taken over my internal organs. What else could it be?
Thankfully, I love this doctor and have total faith. After blood tests and scans she looked at me and empathetically grabbed her own belly. And then she handed me this pamphlet – more like a book – on Menopause.
Staring at me, I finally cracked the cover last night. I am the woman on every page. Who knew someone wrote my biography. There is an entire book dedicated to my mind and body. I am that sleepless sweaty, raging, often bitchy woman who wants to sit on the couch wearing a caftan. I will likely not sing on a stool or choke to death from a ham sandwich — like Mama Cass did. But I will wear a caftan. Peace to this new comfortability.
Menopause is for the lightweights. I firmly apologize to all the sufferers, losing mind and body all at once.
Menopause Action Plan?
As for Old Spice and our joint diet … so easy for him to say. Losing ten pounds for a man is so much easier. Simple … just don’t have pasta and bread and Caesar salad with dressing at lunch and boom … they will lose 10 pounds.
On the other hand, for me that ship has long sailed. I have never eaten pasta for lunch, or a basket of bread. In fact, unhealthy or not, I eat the same way I have always eaten. Yet now it makes everything too tight. Truth be told, at this point, I prefer anything with an elastic waistband and not a tight elastic waistband. Most of the time, belts are truly optional.
Mother’s Day Wishes
Peace to all the size 6’s onto whom I will pass my clothes. Forever now, I am somewhat free to say, “They will never fit again without further undergarments.”
And so, to the mothers and the menopause, Happy Mother’s Day. May you get to wear a caftan this weekend. And may you forever be comfortable in your own skin.
Reprinted with permission from Stuff of Life Blog. See original post here: http://stuffoflifeblog.com/2017/05/12/menopause-is-real/.
Lauren Chesley is a contributor to LEAD Cincinnati, Venue Magazine and Make it Better, is writing her first book and blogging along the way about the journey of being "unapologetically you" post-50 at www.stuffoflifeblog.com.