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Am I a Perimenopausal Mum? (Part 1)

1
I’m very open about age because quite frankly I don’t want to hide it (and my eye bags give me away), but I didn’t think I was a perimenopausal mum. I’ve embraced my forties, and for the most part, I like this decade. What I’m not loving is subtle changes occurring in my body. Changes that are difficult to articulate, and often, no one seems to believe. Then I heard about the perimenopause and the ‘Aha’ moment hit. Feel free to read it and weep.
The Menopause’s poor relation
There is a lot more openness now about the menopause and what
SelfishMother.com
2
it entails and how to manage it. There is a long way to go to make it a taboo-free subject, but with forums and support, there is more on offer for women than years ago. The mention of menopause often gains sympathy and empathy.. Yet, if I even mention the ‘P’ word, I receive looks of confusion and I have even been told that I am making it up.
What is Perimenopause?
It’s only in the last few years that I even heard of the perimenopause. Essentially, it’s the period that occurs before menopause and can last from between two to ten years. It
SelfishMother.com
3
tends to begin when a woman is in her early or mid-forties, but there is no set age. While the menopause is a definitive change, the perimenopause is the onset of change. Hormone levels will fluctuate. When these hormones, including progesterone and oestrogen, are out of balance, then symptoms can occur.
The symptoms?
Not every woman will experience the same symptoms or health changes. Some women may breeze through perimenopause or the menopause; for others, it may be more challenging. The list of this hormonal imbalance is long but may include hot
SelfishMother.com
4
flushes, irregular periods, weight gain, brain fog, difficulty sleeping and night sweats. What a bunch of treats to enjoy.
Am I a Perimenopausal Mum?
I’ve noticed changes in the last few years that have encouraged me to look into what is causing them. I have struggled with my weight in a way that I haven’t in the past. Could it just be that as I’m getting older, it gets harder to shift the pounds? Possibly. I am so forgetful now that if I don’t make lists, things don’t get done. My sleep is a lot more hit and miss. I’m more tired, and I
SelfishMother.com
5
have anxiety about things I rarely gave a second thought to in the past
It’s hard to diagnose
The problem is these issues could be down to other things. Young children affect sleep, memory and fatigue levels rather than pointing to a perimenopausal mum surely? All I can say is that I don’t feel quite ‘right’. I visited a doctor who helpfully organised for me to have every blood test under the sun. When all the results came back as normal, I was disappointed. I wanted something to show up, so it could be ‘fixed’ and I could start managing my
SelfishMother.com
6
symptoms.
More GP visits
After that first GP visit, my anxiety spiralled. I cried a lot and lacked any sense of happiness. My weight was getting me down as I was eating well, exercising regularly, but nothing would shift my rather expanding, pudding-like tummy. I went back to the doctors and was told that I needed to reduce my stress levels. Except I didn’t feel stressed, I felt anxious. Months later I was feeling worse, but the doctor just wanted to give me anti-depressants for my non-existent depression. They refused to accept it might be the
SelfishMother.com
7
perimenopause.
Now what?
I’m convinced I’m in the early throes of the perimenopause; it’s just very difficult to assess and diagnose. When PMT lasts for almost a week and I want to hand my children into the nearest charity shop, it’s quite a worry. I don’t have to be ecstatically happy every waking hour, but my hormones seem beyond my control.

I’m currently embarking on a specialist nutrition and exercise programme aimed at perimenopausal and menopausal women to see if can help me. I’m determined to find a supplement that can get me

SelfishMother.com
8
through the tough times without resorting to anti-depressants.
SelfishMother.com
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- 22 Nov 19

I’m very open about age because quite frankly I don’t want to hide it (and my eye bags give me away), but I didn’t think I was a perimenopausal mum. I’ve embraced my forties, and for the most part, I like this decade. What I’m not loving is subtle changes occurring in my body. Changes that are difficult to articulate, and often, no one seems to believe. Then I heard about the perimenopause and the ‘Aha’ moment hit. Feel free to read it and weep.

The Menopause’s poor relation

There is a lot more openness now about the menopause and what it entails and how to manage it. There is a long way to go to make it a taboo-free subject, but with forums and support, there is more on offer for women than years ago. The mention of menopause often gains sympathy and empathy.. Yet, if I even mention the ‘P’ word, I receive looks of confusion and I have even been told that I am making it up.

What is Perimenopause?

It’s only in the last few years that I even heard of the perimenopause. Essentially, it’s the period that occurs before menopause and can last from between two to ten years. It tends to begin when a woman is in her early or mid-forties, but there is no set age. While the menopause is a definitive change, the perimenopause is the onset of change. Hormone levels will fluctuate. When these hormones, including progesterone and oestrogen, are out of balance, then symptoms can occur.

The symptoms?

Not every woman will experience the same symptoms or health changes. Some women may breeze through perimenopause or the menopause; for others, it may be more challenging. The list of this hormonal imbalance is long but may include hot flushes, irregular periods, weight gain, brain fog, difficulty sleeping and night sweats. What a bunch of treats to enjoy.

Am I a Perimenopausal Mum?

I’ve noticed changes in the last few years that have encouraged me to look into what is causing them. I have struggled with my weight in a way that I haven’t in the past. Could it just be that as I’m getting older, it gets harder to shift the pounds? Possibly. I am so forgetful now that if I don’t make lists, things don’t get done. My sleep is a lot more hit and miss. I’m more tired, and I have anxiety about things I rarely gave a second thought to in the past

It’s hard to diagnose

The problem is these issues could be down to other things. Young children affect sleep, memory and fatigue levels rather than pointing to a perimenopausal mum surely? All I can say is that I don’t feel quite ‘right’. I visited a doctor who helpfully organised for me to have every blood test under the sun. When all the results came back as normal, I was disappointed. I wanted something to show up, so it could be ‘fixed’ and I could start managing my symptoms.

More GP visits

After that first GP visit, my anxiety spiralled. I cried a lot and lacked any sense of happiness. My weight was getting me down as I was eating well, exercising regularly, but nothing would shift my rather expanding, pudding-like tummy. I went back to the doctors and was told that I needed to reduce my stress levels. Except I didn’t feel stressed, I felt anxious. Months later I was feeling worse, but the doctor just wanted to give me anti-depressants for my non-existent depression. They refused to accept it might be the perimenopause.

Now what?

I’m convinced I’m in the early throes of the perimenopause; it’s just very difficult to assess and diagnose. When PMT lasts for almost a week and I want to hand my children into the nearest charity shop, it’s quite a worry. I don’t have to be ecstatically happy every waking hour, but my hormones seem beyond my control.

I’m currently embarking on a specialist nutrition and exercise programme aimed at perimenopausal and menopausal women to see if can help me. I’m determined to find a supplement that can get me through the tough times without resorting to anti-depressants.

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Corporate to Kids

Who: Sarah - Queen of self-deprecation Job: from corporate HR career to Mum, Writer and Blogger Children: two boys with a 13 month age gap!! Obsessions: writing, Haribos, rainbows, coffee, fizz

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