Lady bits

Back when I was 12/13 I had great trouble with my period.  It wasn't just adjusting to the newness of it, but it was adjusting to the ...

Back when I was 12/13 I had great trouble with my period.  It wasn't just adjusting to the newness of it, but it was adjusting to the pain, the nausea, the chills and sweats.  I felt like my body was breaking down.   In the years since then, I've come to learn that I not only rock some dysmenorrhea but also frequently get hemorrhagic ovarian cysts (and have had a few rupture)!  I don't have PCOS, or endometriosis.  So yeah, I know I'm not going to die, but it's more than just a little uncomfortable, and sometimes I just need to stay in bed and take lots of pain meds for a day at most.

I always know when it's going to be bad.  The day of or the day before I can't eat or drink anything, or else I will feel vomity.  I'm more likely than not to get a migraine or a headache.  My cats start guarding me because they can sense it as well.

For as bad as all this seems, worse was my mom's response.  She was basically told (by her father, as her mom was too uncomfortable to talk to her about these things) "this thing is gonna happen, and you just have to take care of it."  My mom didn't have sisters to talk to, or the internet to find out information on.  She was pretty alone.  But it ticks me off that she thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill every time my head would be hanging over the side of a toilet and I'd be shaking violently.  ((though I will say at this point, my brother and father were AWESOME after my mom died -- always taking care of me, helping me hold my hair back, making sure I had enough "supplies.))

In turn, she didn't have much advice to give me other than to basically say "suck it up." A few months before she died, she wrote me a letter about this (she said it's b/c I wouldn't listen, but I know it's b/c she had a hard time saying these things).  It's a little embarrassing, because I think at that point I knew more about the birds and the bees than she did (thanks to health class, gym class lectures, etc.) however it'd take until I was in college to know that the pain I had on a regular basis wasn't normal.  So I'm a little tiffed that she didn't take me to a doctor or ob/gyn to investigate this pain that was diagnosable and treatable.  I just suffered for a while.  And drank lots of hot tea.



April 1994

Dear Roberta,

Various things have occurred lately which have prompted me to sit down, try to collect my thoughts and write this to you. Please understand that I love you with all my heart and have thought about just "talking" to you. But, our discussions often become unfocused and occasionally heated. I want to remain FOCUSED and do not want there to be any upsetment for either you or myself...Therefore, I am writing this to help BOTH of us to keep focused. Certainly, I will be more than willing to sit down with you and talk face-to-face whenever and about whatever you may want.

First of all, as I said, I love you with all my heart and have always tried to the best of my ability to teach you and prepare you and guide you as you have entered the various phases of your life so far. I have tried to be honest...either in telling you what I know from my own experience or in telling you what I don't know (but will try to found [sic] out) even at this ripe old age. So, what I have to say is NOT meant to criticize or hurt or make fun of you...Please do not take it that way, for that is definitely NOT my intent. Perhaps I do not always say things to you in the best of ways, but I TRY to talk to you openly and honestly about everything....My own mom tried, but had a tough time talking about a lot of things i needed and wanted to talk about when I was growing up. I grew up in a time when the word "SEX" was equated with something dirty...not a natural part of life... and, more importantly, recognized as a very special gift from GOD!

When I try to talk with you about "female things", it is not meant to embarrass you in any way. Roberta, I was once your age believe it or not. I (vaguely) remember what it was like to see my body changing from day to day and week to week...to be stuck somewhere between a little girl and a young woman. I recall how uncomfortable I felt with all the changes going on both physically and emotionally. (Unfortunately, I was not told how NORMAL it was to be so confused at times and that as a female, my body was busy producing things called hormones.) The explanation I got about my period came after the fact (my Dad tried his best to tell me about it in a gentle way) and in all truth, all i remember is that I was kinda told that this "thing" would happen once a month, last for about a week, and meant that one day I could have a baby. In all honesty, you know about the "FACTS OF LIFE" than I did until I was married to your dad. I (we) don't want YOU to be as naive, confused and unprepared as I was. Your dad and I want to try and prepare you to face and survive those demands and situations you may encounter during the next few years.

Keep in mind: Women are NOT the "weaker sex"....as in unable to cope with life. If you take apart the word FEMALE into two parts, you get "FE-" (the abbreviation for IRON) and "MALE". Hmmm...Interesting concept: It seems to me, that composition would make us pretty darn strong...not necessarily physically stronger than a male...but, able to deal with most of the things that come our way in life. Perhaps, it is a very special inner strength we possess.

PMS is NOT just premenstrual syndrome (a dis-order), but also stands for an internal "warning system" which alerts a woman that the (order-ly) changes are occurring inside her body. Those symptoms prepare us to be ready for the monthly cycle and all that it entails: some times moodiness (not rage), a bit of water retention (bloating), maybe a mild back ache or headache, even sometimes a craving for a certain kind of food. Sometimes we may feel extra tired -- other times we may feel full of energy. PMS in this sense is something for you to get to know and [sic] almost a little internal "voice" which tells you what is going on within you at any given time of the month. Sometimes, you might have a very uncomfortable period...some cramps, intestinal discomfort, whatever. Other times, especially once your cycle becomes regular and you are more accustomed to this monthly "friend", the only inconvenience will be in remembering that you have it and you must wear a sanitary-pad.

Roberta, the world can not come to an abrupt stop just because a woman has her period. When you and John were little (and i did not talk to either of you in such an open way), I did NOT take to my bed for a week and stop being a mommy just because I had my period. Dad certainly did not stay home from work to care for you. There were times I was more uncomfortable than others, but I still was able to function....maybe all I need was a cup of hot tea to make me feel a little better... or some Tylenol or Pamprin to make me feel better. Sometimes, it was just a matter of riding it out, knowing that eventually I would feel more comfortable. PMS does not mean "Pain Most Severe"!!! Please trust me: I have had my period for thirty, yes 30!!!, years as of May 1994. I think in those thirty years I have experienced enough of the ups and downs to be able to give you a little guidance.

God designed our bodies to be very special...ultimately to give birth. In this design, He has also given us the ability to be very strong...able to give birth without all sorts of painkillers and be able to function almost immediately after that birth. I was walking around very soon after giving birth to both John & you....Sure, I was tired and a bit uncomfortable...but, I knew the sooner i got up, the sooner I would feel better and be able to care for you without help from anyone. The "voice" inside me helped me forget for the most part the discomfort of childbirth...so that I could concentrate on the wonderful experience of motherhood.

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4 comments

  1. I actually probably eat well over 2000 calories a day, thus I am gaining weight. Thanks for the suggestion though.

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  2. I eat around 2000 as well, and I"m losing.

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  3. You've got to take care of yourself, and total incapacitation is not normal. My mother told me that giving birth to two of her three babies hurt less than the "cramps" she got in her twenties, so she took me seriously. For me, ibuprophen is the miracle drug - like flipping a pain switch to "off". It changed my life, because I didn't need to plan around when "my Aunt Martha" would be with me.

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  4. Dot isn't always a bad guest. Sometimes she's in just for a short visit and doesn't require much fuss.... but sometimes she's a heinous bitch.

    For me the worst part is when I can't control my body temperature. I'll be sweating and shivering at the same time. Vomity on top of that.

    I try to take care of myself as best as possible, but there are just days when I do completely shut down. For a while I felt weak b/c my mom could handle it and I couldn't, but she never got it as bad as I do :(

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<3 Robby