Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pregnant or PMS?


When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was in complete denial. Not that I was pregnant. That was so obvious my mother in law told complete strangers I was too large to fit into my car. I went quickly from a ninety nine pounds wet girl, as my husband’s boss used to say to a wife the size of a duplex. All because of a baby? No. Not so much. Maybe more because of the baby, the macaroni and cheese, the constant peanut butter and jelly sandwiches chased by a spoonful or two of just peanut butter followed by at least one bowl of cookies and cream ice cream and milk to wash it all down. And hormones convincing me those are all good choices. Times three. For each baby I had, I had an extra bowl of ice cream each evening. They are still very young and I am back to a size six, but my butt will never be the same. I really only say that because my butt is the one thing I don’t have time to look at. My kids like it well enough. It’s their view from the their height, and since my oldest is now six years old and I let her say the word butt, it’s quite the topic these days. So with my kids checking my butt daily for change, I’ll keep focus on things like the baby blanket they left in my belly and my thighs that have become so close to one another they seem to be sharing secrets; like the secret of how to keep them from touching one another.
What I can’t get a handle on these days is PMS. For years I denied I had PMS. It was a gentleman’s term created to give men a reason to blame women for their own faults their wives disliked. Then I got pregnant. Nine months of premenstrual syndrome. Growing bigger by the second and pissed off about it, I denied I was completely miserable during my entire first pregnancy. My husband tried to tell me how angry and mean I was, and I denied it all the way to the hospital. And really for the fifteen months of nursing after the baby was born. By baby number two my hormones hadn’t evened the slightest amount, so I was crazy still and knocked up again. Rinse and repeat; by baby number three I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Lost among hormones coming and going as they please, no sleep and making milk faster than the Keebler elves can dip cookies into a vat of chocolate, I spent most of my days chasing a preschooler and a toddler and nursing an infant. I only knew if it was day or night by whether the coffee pot was churning out the coffee – which was decaffeinated because I didn’t need a baby on speed after all – or whether or not I and my bed sheets were soaked in milk. After our first baby was born, I caught my husband putting a can of cat food into the coffee filter as he was preparing to make coffee, so who knows if I even had my coffee making skills on target for daytime hours anyway.
After being pregnant for twenty seven months and nursing for forty five months, I was surprised to find myself waking from a dreamlike state with three healthy, rather happy and well adjusted children. Two of them were in school and the other was walking and talking. My husband was still married to me by choice and it was time to find myself again. I was sleeping for the first time in six years. All night. Every night. Did I say all night? I even made a new best friend that helped me sleep. It was my little blue pill. I would ask my husband to get my little blue pill and he wouldn’t even become defensive thinking I was accusing him of needing that blue pill. He would get me Tylenol PM and within two hours I’d be fast asleep dreaming of all the things I might be able to do the next day after at least six hours of good slumber. Those things of course would never get done because…well because I have three kids. So every few weeks I’d get by with what I could do and the other week of the month my family would want to move away from me. Far far away. Once the house was cleaned and I had some time along I would come back from cloudy hell and be nice to my family. On about month six of this, my husband asked me if it’s possible I could be pregnant. Once I even took a test to find out what I knew. I wasn’t pregnant. I was facing PMS. It was getting worse by the month. So indeed I have come to realize there is not much difference in being pregnant or dealing with the hormones of just being a woman. I no longer need my uterus really. The ovaries have done great work for me. My hormones adjusting up and down, across and sideways, over, under and all around just plain sucks! But here I am with three beautiful children, a supportive husband and no monthly trip to the Bahamas to get away from it all for just about ten days. I am convinced the monthly trip to a beach somewhere all along would solve all my problems, but I can’t convince my husband to give me the plane ticket each month and stay home and clean the house for me. My next step is to find another solution starting with exercise and a healthy diet – which I have down at least three weeks of the month.

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