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Surviving, Even Thriving, Through Premenopause

Surviving, even thriving, through premenopause     Pre-menopause hit me like a flash flood.I was not prepared for the sudden changes in my body, emotions, and depression. I had always heard that the women's body experiences a slow , trickling down of fertility and menstrual cycles that can take up to 3-5 years. I assumed this would be the case with me, but I assumed wrong.

     I was blessed with normal cycles since the age of 15 and was extremely blessed with fertility in my marriage. We were blessed with our eighth child at the age of 46! The way I felt I simply assumed my cycles and fertility would last for many more years.

     At age 47, after our baby was weaned, I quickly became pregnant again, only to experience a miscarriage. After my recovery I hoped my body would regain normalcy…but it never did. I had about 3-4 more cycles, no pregnancy, then bam, like a flash flood, the night sweats, hot flashes, dryness, gray hairs, weight gain around my middle, and overall depression marked my days.

    I was quickly losing perspective and felt hopeless that I could ever be normal again. I was sad enough that my womb which had so easily housed the formation of eight children now felt more like a morgue. I embraced my calling to be a mother of many and had given up my “career” as a public school music teacher. I found myself without direction and sense of purpose.

     Here are some of my “survival” tips that have helped me thrive through this season of unknown territory and an uncharted path.

1. Accept things as they are.  Choose to walk through and stop fighting the inevitable.

2. Maintain disciplines: Prayer, journaling, exercising, and read, read, read to keep your brain active.

3. Take up a new project. Start playing the piano again, learn an instrument (I started learning the cello!)  Learn an art form such as calligaphy or chalk drawing, photography, join the worship team at church, take a class or do anything that nourishes your creative side!

4. Do not sit around!  Stillness will lead to depression.

5. Ask for money for your birthday so you can shop for a new "look."   After 15 years of maternity and nursing clothes I really was looking rather outdated.  I’m still in the process of shopping for my next season look!

6. Be generous with your time.  Look or oppportunities to give yourself away.  You still have so much to give with the talents God has given you!   My oldest daughter and I volunteered once a month for an after school program called “Good News” clubs which met in the public schools!  I taught scripture songs and my daughter taught some fun dances.  Our family began ministering in music at the holidays at a local retirement home.  The list is endless.  Go with your passions and giftings.

7. Finally, get together with a good friend and express what you are going through.  She will help clear the fog and bring perspectivve back to you.  Healing will occur but you must be willing to open yourself up and be vulnerable.  You are not alone!  Every woman has either gone down this path or she will at some point.  As much as I love my husband, this is an area he simply cannot understand.  Express to your husband what you need during this season of changes.  I told my husband that I needed more time with him alone.  We took walks together, drives together to simply fill up the gas tank, and more mini dates together.  Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs to him.  He cannot possibly understand what you are going through unless you tell him.

I am not “out of the woods” with these hormonal changes, but the Lord is giving me fresh strength, courage and resolve each day as I purpose to live every season of my life for the glory of His Name.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Alyson Shedd

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