Children, Menopause

Guest Post: Madi and Me, Facing Those Changes Together

A guest post by my friend and fellow writer tutor, Lisa Wiley:

Ah, puberty!  Oh, wait. . . We are supposed to be talking about menopause aren’t we?  Well, at my house, they seem to be one and the same.  I was 35 when my daughter Madison was born.  The anesthesiologist thought it wise to announce “getting a late start, are we?”  I was livid!  Madison was frank breech and would need assistance making it through the birth canal in one piece.  And this was NONE of his business.

I think back on that day with vivid clarity.  Where was the baby that I gave birth to ten years ago?  Gone are the days of packing diaper bags.  I gratefully leave that chore behind.  Now, we face the changes of life together.  She grieves each day over issues such as hair and nails, crying in the bathroom as she learns how to deal with the mass of tangles that were a gift from her dad.  She angrily looks at me as the enemy.  My straight dark hair reminds her of the way hers “should” look.  I try to remind her that when I was her age, my mother nearly ripped my scalp off trying to detangle my hair too.  It doesn’t help.  She has reached the age of the prepubescent; it won’t be long now.

As for me, the gynecologist that confirmed her birth gently reminds me that the things that I am dealing with are normal, and healthy.  Really?  It is normal for me to go off like a rocket, once a month and need medical intervention?   It is normal for me to crave the one thing that would cause me to bite the head off of anyone that stands in my way?  Caffeine, you are NOT my friend and I will not give in.

When I held that precious little baby, I did not sign up for this?  Did I?  I always enjoyed the medicinal quality of my cycle each month.  It prevented illnesses and brought me back to a certain normalcy.  It was more dependable than many of the people that surrounded me. Where would it go?  Our visits are growing shorter and shorter.  Would I weep for it, or be grateful that it is finally gone?

The daughter that I held, so many years ago has changed as well.  The always smiling, bright, intelligent burst of sunlight is now a smoldering preteen.  Her presence reminds me that while I am facing the demise of my ability to procreate, she is just entering hers.  She will not be the same going through this, and neither will I.  I pray for strength.  We are both changing so much and we are forced to face it together.

Photo Above:  Madi before this year’s dance recital.

Photo Below:  Lisa before the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society dinner at a conference in Myrtle Beach. Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society of two-year colleges. Lisa was Piedmont Community College’s chapter president for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Biographical snippets about Lisa:  Back in school pursuing a life-long calling of becoming a psychologist.  Recently accepted at UNC Chapel Hill.  Mother to one gorgeous daughter.  Widowed for the past eight years.  Sings on the praise team at her church, where daughter Madi plays keyboard.


Future Grandmas Beware: The Times They Are a Changin’

Well of all things!  Pregnancy, childbirth, and baby care have changed.

How dare they!

Of course they dare.

Babies should be placed on their backs for sleeping, and please don’t cover them up with a blanket, no matter how comforting that blanket looks.  And no teddy bears in the bed either. SIDS rates have gone down remarkably thanks to these simple steps (and some others.) Yes!  What wonderful news.

There’s a baby sign language, developed because kids are able to communicate with hands before words, which sounds funky but fun. I hope I can catch on to it.

And there’s a movement (pun somewhat intended) called ” elimination communication.” You help babies use the toilet by holding them there when they give you clues they have to go. I’ll believe that one when I see it, but more power to today’s moms if they can make it work. Nobody ever said changing  a poopy diaper was  on the A List of Motherly Joys.

If you’ve just had a meal, read the next one with caution.

Since human mothers don’t consume their placentas like most (all?) mammals, there’s a trend for them to do so. If it’s too much for a mom to cook it up and eat with a knife and fork, she can have the placenta encapsulated and pop it like a vitamin. Studies have shown this helps with post-partum depression AND perhaps menopause.  I’m going to sneak one of Kath’s. I’ve got a few symptoms left.  Love to see what a little dried placenta will do. Report to come. (You can read an abstract for one study here.)

But guess what hasn’t changed?  The anticipation and wonder and happiness of carrying a child and giving birth.

That’s how Kath feels. And that’s how I feel, even more now than when I was pregnant myself.

Since menopause, I barely cry. I think my regular  this-is a-bad day or I’m mad-at-the-world tears floated away with the estrogen.

But in moments when I think about my grandbaby to be, those good old tears can come springing back.

Photo: Kath, above, reported on Baby Eats Real Food that her uterus is now the size of a a soccer ball. I’ve had a great time reading the blog and hearing what young mothers are talking about it. Hats off to them. Everywhere I go, I see darling kids. Moms of today seem to be doing a very good job, even though they don’t do it EXACTLY like we did.