A Few Days in the Life of a Peri-Menopausal Woman

Rachael CrowMenstrual Health, Musings

cup of herbal tea

When oh when will there be a menstruation book for mothers? For peri menopausal mothers? Whilst I am deeply grateful for the wonderful books that led me to the power of my menstruation- Red Moon, Wild Genie, Her Blood is Gold, Code Red, Wild Power and others…there is very little mention of how to live your cycle whilst mothering, let alone whilst in the throws of peri menopause and mothering!

Having recently taken part in a “Commit to Kindness” month, I realised how much the little moments of self care are SO NEEDED. During this course we went over the basics of cycle charting and a few books were mentioned- Code Red being one of them…the Chapter to Dudes was flagged up as a good one to remind our husbands of our cycle needs-  and as I reread it I noticed how much my cycle needs have changed now I’m peri menopausal.

The intensity of my seasons has shifted, spring and summer are fleeting and in autumn and winter I just want quietness and alone time, my sensitivity it peaking and I don’t want to be touched, poked, grabbed, sat on, shouted to/at (this is the kids….not husband!), I’m quietly seething inside and screaming ‘just leave me be’……but some months it’s just not possible! At the end of the day I’m touched out and crave time alone.

So here’s a sample of my last few days…and a bit of back ground, my little family (me, husband, children ages 7 and 4) live in a static caravan as part of a community, there’s 56 acres of beautiful land….but none of it is defined as our “garden” or our “private space” apart from our actual living space. The intensity of living like this for me has meant I have resigned from the community and next month I am separating from my husband and going to live in a house. A house…yes!…with my own room, a bath, the kids room is big enough for them to play in and have sleep overs….I can’t wait!

So meanwhile…I’m a peri menopausal woman (did I mention that?) crammed in a tiny space, that feels like a fish bowl….and on rainy days…it’s hell! PS I’m also in my 27th year of parenting…yep…it’s wearing thin!

Day 26.

I wake up feeling tired and headachey, I’ve been spotting on and off for a few days, feeling heavy in my womb, ready to bleed. I’ve been away with the kids for 3 days visiting a friend so I’m overwhelmed with things I still need to do before I can let go and bleed…I can hear Ambers voice telling me to “drop the bundle”. (ie..just let it all go, pick it up later!)

After breakfast chaos with the kids, I slip away to pack up some sewing things for my seamstress to get on with while I’m at camp next week and then drive over to see her on my way to a meeting. She isn’t in, so I leave it all in her porch.

I have an emotional meeting with the women I run the girls lodge and camp with, it’s all good, we work well together and can be totally honest with each other. We work through stuff and plan next steps for our camp.

Then I drive to a friends to borrow a tent for camp, have a quick cuppa and a chat and head home.

Chaos resumes at home, I’m feeling frustrated, irritated and hungry! I make lunch and dump my ‘bundle’ on my husband- communication between us is not good at the moment and the lack of clarity about so many things is really upsetting me, so I let him know. He goes off to his work shift til 10pm.

And the blood flows! I sit in the sun having a cuppa and some raw chocolate while the kids play on the trampoline and hammock. Dorothy has been ill so she’s fairly fragile and is taking it easy too.

I make an easy dinner of stir fry and rice noodles- which Emrys doen’t feel like eating, he’s hot and looks like he’s coming down with the illness too.

I get the kids ready for bed and spend the evening making a drum someone had ordered from me, I fall into bed and listen to a lovely “Winter Yoga Nidra” from the Commit to Kindness course.

Emrys is hot and wanting cuddles – all night- and then before I’ve had time for any real deep sleep he wants to get up and have breakfast at 5.30am. And so starts another day.

Day 1

Fully flowing today, heavy loss, feel tired and spacey. Craving alone time and rest.

Emrys has a bowl of porridge, Dorothy gets up about 6.30. I put a DVD on and sit in the garden for a bit of “Me time”, having my morning cuppa and writing my journal…I hear shouting…Emrys has vomited ..I run for a bowl and sit with him catching vomit until daddy takes over.

Dorothy gets invited out to the beach for the day…phew…thats one of them sorted!

I have a Skype session booked in with Melanie Swan to do a Vlog with her about pads- we have a lovely chat and get the vlog done quickly.

I drive up to our Red Tent yurt and pack the things I need for camp. Whilst I treasure these times in the yurt on my own, today isn’t a rest session…I pack cushions, rugs, throws, cups, herb teas, books…into a huge pile, for collection later! Well… I’ve managed to have an hour or so on my own.

Then one of the women I work with pops by, I tell her its my Moon Time- but she proceeds to bring up a difficult issue, it upsets me but I don’t want to have conflict in my moon time so I listen and she leaves. But I’m left feeling “icky” with it and pissed off she brought that into my moon time.

My husband goes off to a presentation at work, I make some lunch and then Emrys and I spend the afternoon curled up on the sofa watching Dragons! At least I’m resting now!

Hubby gets home and cooks dinner, I’m crabby as I’ve had no peace and quiet, and an awful nights sleep…I want the kids in bed early but he drags the bed time routine out way too long and I get snappy that they need to be in bed NOW!

I run myself an epsom salts bath (I say “Bath”…I do live in a caravan so actually our bath is a large trugg that we fill from the shower- one of those crap showers that is either burning hot or freezing cold- so a ‘trugg-bath’ is the most relaxing option!), so I sit in the fetal position, knees up to my chin, doing my best to relax and fantasising about having a bath I can lie down in!

Fresh PJs and pad on, I have a cup of chaga tea and watch a film about a Norwegian adventurer before hitting the sack.

Day 2

Another awful nights sleep. Emrys had a temperature in the night and wanted to sleep wrapped around mummy’s neck all night. 4.30 am he starts asking to get up but I’m firm with him- it’s not morning! We both fall back to sleep til 8am- and thats a lie in for us!

Bleeding is a lot lighter today, I’m teary and emotional-feeling grief around not having been able to fully drop in to my menstrual temple/womb cave, and overwhelm again at the to-do list that’s waiting to be actioned, and frustration at the knowledge that I’m going to be parenting full on for the next 3 days while my husband is away working. (one of those days also happens to be our wedding anniversary, which hasn’t been mentioned by either of us and it looks like it will pass by unacknowledged. How are we supposed to “be” around things like that whilst in the throws of separation?)

cup of herbal teaI’m a lot slower today, gentle with myself in my morning routine, a cup of warm water, then my cacao brew (usually drunk outside to get a peaceful few moments in nature) in the bedroom today as its pouring with rain outside. I journal, meditate and pick an angel card “Nurture- Nurture yourself as you would nurture a child”…perfect card for today.

I emerge feeling calmer and suggest to my husband that some shopping gets done today in preparation for what we need at camp next week. He mumbles something about packing some stuff at the barn and disappears.

The children want to paint and sit absorbed in painting dragons for an hour or so while I write a shopping list and check my emails.

I send Dorothy up to ask daddy about the shopping and she comes back saying, ‘he’s not coming, he’s fixing the barn roof’…resentfully I bundle the kids into waterproofs and into the car to face the supermarket- one of my worst nightmares! Usually if I have to go into a supermarket I go in the evening when its fairly quiet! As a high sensitive I find the hustle and bustle of people and artificial lights over stimulating- add that to 2 kids wanting to buy everything and being on my moon time- this is not a pleasant experience!

I do it as fast as possible, saying No to all requests of plastic crap and sugary treats…get home and collapse.

I curl up in bed and the tears flow, the sadness about my family, my relationship, anger about my moon time not being recognised and supported…anger that theres no “how to..” guide for men, or mothers who really want to reap the fullness of their blood time, and sadness again thinking that it will all be the same next month.

I get a bit of rest time, hubby pops his head in with a cuppa. I emerge 20 mins later, feeling a bit rested. Its 5pm…no sign of any dinner being prepared…I suggest sushi (having bought the ingredients whilst shopping!) and 45 mins later food is on the table. I don’t know how meal times are in your house but ours tend to go like this “sit down and eat your food. Use your fork, not your fingers. Stay on your bottom while at the table. No you cant get down yet. Come on, 5 more spoonfuls.” over and over again. Life with small children!

And so we head into bed time routine and about an hour after the kids go to bed, I hit the sack.

Day 3

Our wedding anniversary.

Bleeding is lighter, feeling drained and emotional.

I’m awake at 6.30am feeling physically more refreshed- although there is a little 4 yr old next to me having crept in during the early hours. I sneak out of bed and write my husband a letter; neither of us have acknowledged this day. How do people who are separating celebrate a wedding anniversary? I remember the dreams of our future on that day- some of which have exceeded our expectations but more recently our ‘dreams’ have become a nightmare. Well for me at least. I cry as I write to him, I do love him, but I can’t continue living like this.

The kids wake up and it’s on with the day…..hubby is off to camp, he’s on site crew so has to be there early and get things set up. As he leaves I give him my letter and gift and say Happy Anniversary, he gets emotional and says he will come home tonight- I sigh (I’m not good with unplanned changes- actually I was looking forward to a quiet night and the bed to myself!) and we hug…the kids pick up on the unexpressed emotions and hug us both.. “family hug” they say- which brings tears to both of our eyes.

He leaves saying he’ll text me.

I set the kids up with a game and sit down with a cuppa to collect my thoughts and plan my day……

I also ponder on the “5 chambers” of menstruation mentioned in Wild Power- Separation, Surrender, Renewal, Vision and Direction…did I pass through any of them…Am I stuck in Surrender? Maybe thats for another blog post!

And so this brings me up to date- a few days glimpse into my life as a cycling peri menopausal mother…anyone relate?

(c) Rachael Crow, All Rights Reserved 2017