When Your Doctor Knows More than Your Husband (why menopause stinks)

Almost eight years ago, I had a hysterectomy.

I was thirty-four years old.

In many ways, I was lucky. I’d had all my children by the age of 30. Four, to be exact.

The Day of the Last Gift’s Birth

I’d experienced the joy of pregnancy and childbirth. And not to hurt anyone’s ego, but my four pregnancies were stellar. Magical. The births were…well, near about perfect.

And for three pregnancies, my body did a fair job of bouncing back.

My first two children were born when I was almost twenty-one and twenty-two. I know our culture wouldn’t agree, but in terms of biology, those are some prime childbearing years. Other than a mild case of a flipped cervix, my body went back to pre-pregnancy like clockwork.

About to Give Birth to Baby One- Can You Tell?

The third pregnancy and childbirth at twenty-eight was a tad more difficult. I gained more weight pre-childbirth, I was more stressed out because I was teaching, and I didn’t quite lose all the weight post-childbirth.

And then the fourth pregnancy happened, and although it took some time, I was able to lose the weight once more. By thirty-one, I was hovering somewhere around 128-132.

More Babies, More Problems (why menopause stinks)

I thought that was big. Just writing that makes me giggle now. (cue slapping my forehead like an idiot)

By thirty-three, I was struggling a bit. My periods were heavier, more clotty, and I was in constant pain. Something was up, and I needed to be seen.

When the doctor said “hysterectomy,” I didn’t think much of it. No period?? Sign me up!

And the first couple of years after were blissful. I didn’t notice much weight gain, nor was I crazy, as I’d feared I’d be.

Then thirty-seven hit. Wowza.

It was like the floodgates of menopause hell opened. All of a sudden, every bit of weight I had shifted to my belly, back and ankles. My face swelled up, my eyelids drooped, and I gained massive undereye bags.

I stopped sleeping, stopped wanting my husband, and stopped being able to control what I ate. I was insatiably hungry non-stop, especially for sweets, which I’d never been a huge fan of before.

And don’t get me started on my anxiety, depression and irritability. Bless every soul around me. They needed it all the help they could get.

I’m pushing forty-two now, and nothing I’ve done to try to change, even giving up wine, has worked.

Hiding Behind Cardigans, As Usual

So yesterday, I went to see my gynecologist.

I thought this would be the usual–check the hoo-hah, squish the boobs, chat a little, leave.

Instead, he sat down, rolled his stool closer, and said, “Tell me what’s up.”

This is a guy I haven’t seen for quite some time. Eight years to be exact (he’s not my regular gyno–he’s a specialist), but he remembered me like it was yesterday, and I know he was telling the truth because he mentioned my hair color, which was previously blonde.

His words yesterday stung my heart because he looked in my eyes and said, “Your joy is gone.”

And he was right.

What Happens When You Lose Hope

For the last decade, I have struggled with joy. It’s lack of presence in my life is due to many factors, past, present and future, and I’m sure as time goes on I’ll write about them as raw as I did the first time I had my blog. But suffice it to say, I’ve been joyless for a pretty good while.

Lacking joy is not any different than losing hope. Hope is the anchor that grounds your soul. It allows you to stay steady because you believe something good is waiting on the horizon.

When you’ve lost hope, you’ve lost a will to go on. And in this day and age, where suicide has lost a lot of its stigma, the thought of losing the will to go on is plumb scary.

I’ve experienced this kind of loss with loved ones. But I’ve also experienced it myself.

After having a good cry with my gyno, he determined that in all likelihood, I was in full blown menopause. Makes sense, considering I haven’t had a period in eight years.

But he also said something that struck me–and cued my tears, which meant that this was the linchpin of my whole attitude as of late: he said that women struggle with menopause not only because of the physical symptoms, hard enough, but also because of what it means as a human.

Did you know that human women are one of the only species on the planet that doesn’t die right after childbirth?

Women live longer, but what we’ve seemingly been “created to do” (this is a lie, but hear me out), is over for years before our probability of death.

And, as usual, men are able to just keep going on and on, and, as usual, society rewards them for it, giving them drugs to keep their things moving, and young women to adorn their arm at every turn.

It’s enough to make an old gal (eyeroll) like me vomit. I mean, I’m not a man-hater by any stretch, but talk about unfair.

For a long time, growing up as an evangelical Christian, I believed that this was the way it was supposed to be. That women had their part, men had theirs, and somehow it was normal, okay and even religious for the man to have a better, more-rewarding, happier life.

I don’t feel that way anymore, and I’m more than convinced that women are simply still misinformed about the years after childbearing is over.

We give up more often than we fight, and it’s time we stop doing that.

What Women Should Do Instead of Hating Themselves

Women can’t change men, but we can change other women. We can enlighten each other about the possibilities that await a future where we put ourselves first.

I’ve spent the better part of my lifetime catering to everyone around me. I’ve had the people-please disease, I’ve walked on eggshells, I’ve neglected my own wants and even needs for others’, and I’ve just accepted and assumed that this was the right and noble thing to do.

I’m done with that.

I left my gyno’s office and called my husband immediately. I told him that things were going to change, no matter what the outcome was.

He was more than a little shocked, I’m sure, because, though I’ve talked about these hopeless feelings of mine at length, I can’t say he’s been listening.

And that’s okay. Because my happiness isn’t his job to provide. It’s not my children’s job, my workplace’s job, or even the universe’s job.

God gave that job to me.

And whatever it takes, I will reclaim my joy.

I hope you’ll stick around to watch me do it.

With love,


This entry was posted in parenting and tagged , on by .

About toniof10

In 2023, I quit my teaching job to open a snow cone stand and haven't looked back! Now, I'm running my own business and writing about my midlife adventures on the side. Join me to chat about getting sober and healthy, staying married, raising kids, chasing dreams, aging naturally, and choosing to accept the abundant mystery of God's Grace!

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