Hello Blog - Good-bye Fertility
Well, I guess it’s a bit ironic that I'm writing my very first motherhood blog on the day that I have lost my ability to have children. I’m 49 with 8 children from 21 to 4 years old. For the last four years I’ve struggled with incredibly heavy periods. Yep, I know – great topic for my first post! But, stay with me because it seems that these types of issues can affect a lot of women, particularly as we move into our forties.
I’ve had iron-deficiency several times and, for at least the past year, I’ve been anaemic. So, for particular reasons, and with great apprehension, I chose to have an endometrial ablation. This procedure basically burns the lining of your uterus meaning you will most likely never have another period and it renders you unable to have any more babies. For some women this doesn’t present a problem, but it does for me.
Honestly, I’m happy to keep having a “normal” period for as long as my body keeps having one. And, I want to know when I go through menopause. My period helps me know if my cycle is going along according to schedule, or not. It helps me understand why I might feel a certain way at certain times. I guess it’s the marker that I’ve become so used to tracking over the last 34 years that I feel like I’ll be flying blind.
But, it goes beyond just missing a period. It’s coming to terms with the fact that I can no longer have a baby, even though I wasn't going to have anymore. I guess I was just waiting on my body to go through that process when it was ready. It was supposed to usher in that new chapter of my life, not an ablation. My body would have done it slowly and I'd have time to adjust. The ablation was sudden and took me by surprise.
So, I'm feeling a little sad. But, at the same time I'm overwhelmed with a sense of appreciation for the blessing of having so many years of a regular and healthy menstrual cycle, for being fertile, and for having a uterus that did the job! What an absolute joy and privilege it has been to have a baby grow inside me. I am a raging pile of hormones right now. I'm sad, yet I'm so, so grateful.
And, that's the interesting dynamic. There's a mixture of emotions for women at all stages of motherhood. When you have a bub that just won't sleep you're exhausted, you're irritable, and you may even question why you had a baby in the first place. But, you also burst with love and joy at the little one who is keeping you up at night. What a journey it is to be a mum!
Now, I know that most of you reading this will probably not be at the stage of life I am at, but I want to share something important. Heavy periods can affect many women, particularly as we age. I was quite clueless about all the conditions that can cause them and, honestly, I just thought I needed to do a bit more exercise and lose the few extra kilos I was carrying in order to fix them. Turns out I ended up with several conditions, but my main problem was endometrial hyperplasia which can lead to uterine cancer is some women.
If I had known more about these types of issues I would not have waited so long to do something about it. Earlier intervention could mean a different, less invasive treatment. But, more importantly, it could prevent the development of cancer. So, I will be hammering into my daughters the importance of knowing their bodies and what is considered "normal". If you are not sure about what a heavy period really is, you can do a rough estimate of how much you lose by reading this link. For the last four years I knew I had a heavy period, but when i actually calculated how much I was really losing, I was shocked.
The positive thing to take away with all of my moaning about the ablation is that we are so fortunate to have medical treatment and options available. I am grateful that I have had access to good medical care that can help me. I am grateful that I got to keep my uterus.
As I wrap up my very first blog, I'm wondering why I'm just throwing myself in the deep end. Seriously, who talks about their periods and their uterus in their first blog! Well, it seems that I do. I guess this experience has been a stark reminder of how quickly time goes. It's made me look back and be thankful not only for my fertility, but for my good pregnancies and childbirths. As I write this, I know there are many women who have not had a positive experience like I have and I do not want to rub salt into a wound. It's just that every woman has a journey regarding fertility and this was mine. Blessed beyond belief. Ever grateful.
Lyn is a homeschool mum of 8 children and has spent the last twenty years mostly pregnant, breastfeeding, or chasing toddlers. She likes to remind her older children that prior to becoming a mum, she actually had a life. Her home is full of love, laughter, and noise......and some squabbling. She loves to talk about motherhood and has a soft spot for the baby and toddler years. If you'd like to keep up with her blog, scroll down to subscribe.