Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#perimenopause #stillseventeen #polkawhaaaaat

I can't even begin to describe how insane my life, and the other four lives in my house, has been over the past few months. So much goodness, so much business, so much school stuff, so much extracurricular activities. All my babies were born within three weeks of each other in March/April, so we had birthday parties for a one year old, a seven year old, and an eleven year old. There's been a testing and a diagnosis and school IEP team meetings regarding my youngest daughter which has been so hard (a story and a post for another day). We've celebrated and played Little League baseball, and won track meets, and participated in piano festivals, and written grants, planted gardens, been in the news not one, not two, but three times in about a week's time. Life is so wonderful and fun and the adventures are amazing and my life is charmed indeed.
 
During all this living of my life, friends I graduated from high school and college with have started celebrating their fortieth birthdays, with grand weekends away, raging parties, and quiet retreats at spas. I've been thinking about how I'd like to celebrate mine, sneaking up on me in just six months. I've also been thinking about how scary it sounds to be 40. How middle of my life I am. Is it really half over? Maybe. But we're all dying, every day. I'm not super afraid of my mortality for my sake, but for my childrens' sake. I have to be around as long as possible for them. There's also this nagging part of my brain that I can't shake: I still feel seventeen. I'm not alone in this notion - one of my dearest gal pals from high school, Mandilyn, feels just the same way. So much so, in fact, that we've been hashtagging each other in all sorts of posts on social media about buying jewelry at Claire's in the mall and loving Taylor Swift and our affinity for the high school TV drama Friday Night Lights as #stillseventeen.
 
As life would have it, Mother Nature has added insult to injury by officially setting into motion PERIMENOPAUSE. Like, seriously, I went to the doctor because my body has gone HAYWIRE and here's the documented proof because THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING I'M STILL 39 AND I JUST HAD A BABY FOR CHRISSAKE:
 
 
The journey to this diagnosis was two months in the making and many late night internet searches for what seemed to me to be unrelated symptoms that turned out to be related after all. So, to aid my fellow young friends who have entered menopause freakishly early, and should they come upon this blog post in a frantic late night internet search to find out if they are crazy or dying or just MENOPAUSING, here's a list of a few of the crazymakingly odd symptoms that you may be experiencing right now and may last for 5-10 years and may get worse or change AREN'T WE LUCKY:
  • Mittelschmerz like you can't believe, but the cramping and back pain doesn't just last a week, it's constant!
  • Menstruation for three weeks straight! Heavy and filling the toilet with lots of internal tissue and clots.
  • Headaches!
  • Moodiness and tearfulness! And not just during PMS or menstruation, but all the time.
  • Moments of sudden rage! Like maybe you are making scrambled eggs and talking with your husband and it turns into an argument and you slam the plastic spatula on the stovetop to make a point and it breaks and he's like WTF ARE YOU CRAZY?! and in turn you pick up the entire pan of eggs and throw it on the floor BECAUSE YES.
  • Bloating! Again, not just during PMS or menstruation, but a permanently puffed out belly.
  • Gingivitis! Swollen, bleeding gums that make it so painful to eat.
  • Lack of appetite! Everything tastes off and weird like it did when you were pregnant (hello again, crazy hormones!) which is probably fine anyhow because GINGIVITIS.
  • Hair loss! My hair is falling out in huge clumps, just like it does a few months after I give birth. At least it's growing back; I've got a head full of baby gray hairs to prove it.
  • Acne! I keep breaking out. ON MY BACK. Which hasn't happened since I was in high school (the irony of #stillseventeen is not lost on me here).
  • Weird muscle and joint aches! I threw my back out for the first time in my entire life last week. Ain't got no time for ice when you're crawling after a toddler on the floor. Also, picking up a 25 lb. baby in this condition SUCKS.
  • Sudden dark spots appear on your face! The technical term is melasma, or hyperpigmentation of the skin due to extreme changes in hormones. Sometimes it happens during pregnancy, or sometimes you just wake up one day when you're 39 AND LEAST EXPECTING IT and your upper lip is strangely dark brown.
  • Itchy dry skin! I feel like bugs are crawling on me and my EARS ARE PEELING. Thank goodness for bulk jars of coconut oil from Costco.
  • Breast swelling and tingling! This actually ain't that bad. Except it feels like I'm pregnant but my body is actually doing the exact opposite of making a baby (sob).
  • Heart palpitations! This happened when I was pregnant as well, it's something due to hormones and thinning of blood, but it is also a version of hot flashes, I guess. Anyhow, my heart will flutter and race for a few seconds several times a day and it's real off-putting.
I'm stopping there because I'm literally in tears over it. Turning 40 and the loss of my fertility is making me so sad and depressed and I KNOW IT'S FINE and part of life and I'm so lucky and it's no big deal and it's the biggest deal ever and I just have to go through it (MENOPAUSE EVEN THOUGH I'M ONLY 39) like every woman before and after me and be brave and look on the bright side. I'm trying.

So I bought myself a blue polka dot bikini.

Because I deserve it.

And #YOLO.

And #STILLSEVENTEEN.


 
Swim Sexy blue polka dot bikini from Swimsuits For All, size 18 top and size 20 bottom. It might be the best plus sized swimsuit shop in all the world, because of the high quality and ability to order different sized tops and bottoms. It was recommended in a Facebook group I'm part of called the Curvy Girl Guide, and the suit has become such a tour de force we've christened it with it's own hashtags. #polkawhaaaaaaat #thesuit


Monday, April 6, 2015

BOOK REPORT: 101 Ways to Help Your Daugher Love Her Body

Sit up straight so your tummy doesn't hang out. Thin is always in. You look so much prettier when you smile. Guys like girls with big boobs. Now that you've got your period, you'd better be careful. I'd kill to have legs like yours.

UGH.

Having just watched the season premiere of the final season of Mad Men last night, and the powerhouses of the female lead characters Joan and Peggy and the struggles they have fought throughout the seven year run of the show (which takes place from 1962-1970), I just want to vomit a little. Things really haven't changed that much for women in the past fifty or so years.

That's why books like these are so important.


This was recommended somewhere on the Internets, either via the reading list on A Mighty Girl's website or Amy Poehler's Smart Girls Facebook page, but I can't quite remember. (Regardless, both these websites are the ultimate resource for those of you parents of girls.) I picked it up at the Boise Public Library, where I get all of my books because 1) public libraries will change the world and 2) a library card is one of the most powerful things a girl can have in her purse.

 
The book has two authors - one a clinical psychologist, the other an award-winning journalist - and both are women. They combat those clich├ęd phrases I started with above, all things I (unfortunately) continue to hear spouted to women and girls all around me.  
 

The tips are practical and so easy to implement and there are plenty of them geared towards fathers, too. Seriously, skills like teaching them how to read a recipe and how to read a map, to more intangible things like how to say no and how to ask for what they want. It's such a great how-to guide that reminds us, most importantly, that as parents we are mirrors to what our children learn and know and do. Take a long hard look and reflect what you want her (or him) to see. I can't recommend this book enough as one of those parenting books you should definitely have in your arsenal.