I hesitated in posting this because it deals with the specific aspects of my infertility – my period, or lack thereof. I hesitated because this isn’t a topic our culture talks about publicly very often (since the beginning of time across all cultures, really). Somehow periods, though completely natural and necessary for life, became dirty and secretive and shameful. Well, since half of the population of all time had or has or will have a period, I figure I’m not going to hesitate. This is part of my story.
A year ago in September I was in New Mexico for a weeklong retreat. My period was supposed to start that week. I remember all week long paying close attention to my body, wondering if this was it – maybe I was pregnant. I got home and still no period. Then a few days later my period came. If I recall correctly, it was around 5-6 days late. I’d never had a late period before then.
Just a month and a half later my doctor called to tell me something wasn’t right.
Ever since then my body is a constant reminder that something isn’t right. My periods are very light, lasting maybe 24 hours. It doesn’t seem fair – that I still get a period, sort of, that I still get monthly reminders that my body doesn’t work the way I want it to.
Again, this September my period was late. The only two times this has happened and in the same month in back-to-back years. Strange. Only this time it was around 10 days late. I knew better than to get excited, to let my hopes rise only to be disappointed again. Then in October my period came 9 days early. And again in November, 8 days early. When it’s normally 24 hours, this time I’m into day three.
What the f!#$?
I’m angry and annoyed and sad and frustrated and confused.
Yesterday I saw another gender reveal on Facebook. I am happy for them but I also want to scream and tell them to keep it to themselves. I want to unfriend all friends who are of childbearing age. I just can’t take it anymore.
It’s not fair.
It doesn’t make sense.
Grief never goes away.
I will always miss the child that I never had.
I feel particularly betrayed by my body. That’s confusing too, since I am my body, but also not. Every month my body shows me once again that it sort of works, but not really. Every month I still get cramps and deal with bleeding, but never enough to prove that my body is really working properly.
These inconsistent periods show that I’m probably premenopausal. I’m 38 years old. This isn’t right; this isn’t fair.
This morning I read a blessing from Jan Richardson’s book The Cure for Sorrow called “Stubborn Blessing.” Oh my, does she know how to speak the truth or what?
Don’t tell me no.
I have seen you
feed the thousands,
seen miracles spill
from your hands
like water, like wine,
seen you with circles
and circles of crowds
pressed around you
and not one soul
Don’t start with me.
I am saying
you can close the door,
but I will keep knocking.
You can go silent,
but I will keep shouting…
I am saying
I know what you
can do with crumbs
and I am claiming mine,
every morsel and scrap
you have up your sleeve…
Don’t you tell me no.
But, I’ve stopped shouting. I’m no longer knocking on the door. It doesn’t seem worth it anymore. However, I won’t stop you from shouting for me. I won’t keep you from knocking on the door. I just don’t have the energy for it. And, my body seems to be telling me that the shouting and knocking won’t matter anyway.
I’m struggling to love and accept my body. In some cases it works so hard and does so much for me. In others, well, there’s nothing left.
Heart, soul, mind and body. We have some work to do together. This isn’t a solo task. So, we’ll keep at it despite the constant reminders that we might as well give up.