It's my birthday tomorrow, my 52nd birthday, and I am currently bleeding heavily into the biggest size maxi pad they sell at the grocery store. I have a foggy Monday morning brain after waking up in the middle of the night - as I always do now - to change another soaked maxi pad and red stained panties. It took me forever to fall back asleep because I immediately started bleeding through again. It's become necessary to have "period sheets" because there's no way to keep the flow contained on those first couple of nights.
This is my first period since mid-August, over nine weeks coming. I was hoping it was gone for good, though I knew that was unlikely. Menopause is a big transition, and like other lifebody transitions, it takes its own sweet time. The only option is to ride it out.
It's not just messy physically, it's sloppy emotionally, too. My highs are higher and my lows hang on longer and dip down deeper. The sense of big changes on the horizon goes far beyond what is happening to my body. Hijo will graduate in 2-1/2 years. My parents are elderly. There will come a time in the not-too-distant future when I will be unmoored from the largest forces in my life. I have to figure out what to do with this terrible, exhilarating freedom.
I watch Hijo go through adolescence and in a way, I am too; a middle-aged version of figuring out who I want to be, and what I want, and what's really, deeply important to me. Just when I think I know one thing for sure, another thing occurs to me and I'm back in a messy world of vast possibilities. There is no single, clear path. All I can do as I move forward is to keep putting out absorbent materials and to do my best to wash out the inevitable stains.