So it was that I was trying to cram everything into the smallest of bags whilst the Uber driver waited patiently outside.
I loved this vintage Ted Baker bag, the zip had already busted and been mended due to cramming everything from an umbrella, pumps, purse, tissues, make up and keys into too small a space.
On this night, and in order to save the bag, something would have to give. I had already ditched the purse but as every forty something woman will know, an umbrella, tissues, make up and flat shoes are essentials. However the items which were preventing the zip from closing, was a couple of persistent tampax.
My period has been AWOL for the past couple of months and before then, was like the pain in the arse friend who turns up every now and then, usually at the most inopportune time. As a result, I had taken to making sure that I had supplies in every bag, they had become manky, smeared with make up and bent out of shape having spent months neglected in the bottom of those bags. So, with vintage bag in hand and super plus in full view, I asked myself – when is it safe to toss aside the tampons for good?
I was around 47 when I missed a couple of periods and was delighted – I felt great. I gave a cursory thought to osteoporosis and HRT, but one look in the mirror assured me that this was a long way off – brittle bones are for old folk!. This menopause malarkey was going to be a breeze. Hot flush? What hot flush? if anything I was always on the cold side. And what of that dry feeling below that I’ve heard about???? Nope, this too had passed me by. So it was that I packaged every tampax, pad (including the hefty night time ones), and stuffed them in a drawer somewhere and made a mental note to give them to my niece when I next saw her, only for me to retrieve them some days later. Irregular periods were now the way forward.
The thing is, we all learn about periods at school but for what follows years later, you have to do your own research; there is no invitation from the GP when you are in your mid to late 40s, inviting you for a quick chat to run you through what to many women, is a daunting new phase of her life. For me, I had no idea whether you are supposed to go to the doctors after missing a period or two or whether you have to start HRT straightaway or at all? Like I said, I didn’t feel at all unwell so saw no need to trouble the doctor. It wasn’t exactly rocket science, I was in my late forties so knew this was the menopause ! Wrong – it’s called peripause apparently – i.e. the 12 month period when you would be wise to ensure that those tampons have a place in your bag. It’s during this period that you question whether you have early onset dementia because your memory is shot to shit- you can’t remember names, you speak quickly because there is a real chance you will forget what you’re talking about before you get to the end of the sentence; you can’t find where you have put things and frequently leave keys in the lock (this list is not exhaustive).
So now that I am at this phase, how am I supposed to feel about it? I was having a laugh with a male friend when he asked if I could still have babies. Without hesitation, I said, of course I can, but then thought, well actually probably not. I do wonder why I was so keen to give the impression that my ovaries were in top form – he knew how old I was so wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if I fessed up to drying up.
I’m looking forward to a period free life, but that’s possibly the only bonus. A declining libido i’m sure I will cope with, but a dry vag will be horrific. It will be interesting and daunting having to get to know my body all over again – every cramp has me thinking here she comes and it turns out to be a bit of indigestion. But strange of all is that during the course of writing this blog, I have taken off and put back on my dressing gown about six times – one minute i’m as hot as fuck and the next i’m trying to justify putting the heating back on. Is this actually a hot flush or just a problem with the thermostat?
Happy New Year -fabulous you xxxx