April 8, 2011

A Little Pregnant

I'm not pregnant. Not even a little. There was a time when I was a little pregnant and then I became more pregnant as time went by until Veronica, Jr. was born. And that was the last time I was pg....there may have been an incident or two, but without talking biology here, no other actual positive pg tests were ever achieved after that one time.

Before moving to HK, a good friend of mine and I talked about putting together a writers' group. We planned to Skype once a month or so, and she created a FB group for the members. We are a small but mighty group of 6? (You know who you are!) One of our first writing assignments involved posting a recent grocery shopping list as a way to introduce ourselves and where we were in the lifeline. I pulled out my last grocery list (written in purple ink on a yellow post-it note) and read through each scribbled off line: dry cat food, cat litter, chicken, onions, yogurt (plain), celery, raisins, pg test.

"Pg test?" you may ask. Well, I didn't know what else to think! It had been two months since my p, I felt nauseous, various parts of my body hurt, emotions were all over the place. And I'd heard of late-life pregnancies (and just how late is 47? Okay - in terms of childbearing, it is late...) and there was this little-ish part of me that sort of could see Mr. Veronica and I being parents. Once we worked past the sleepless nights, diapers, bottles, pediatrician visits, not to mention the actual 9 months of pregnancy, labor and delivery....I'm tired just reading about it. Nonetheless, I had momentary daydreams of holding Little Boy's hand, walking through Wanchai Market, watching him play soccer, playing with his cousins... typical, romantic notion stuff that tells you just how far removed from reality I am when it comes to babies, kids - and - I'd be 64 when Little Boy got his driver's license. 64. That's something to consider! And this is all just nonsense because I didn't buy the pg test. I made a doctor's appointment because it had been so long since I'd been to the doctor that I needed the annual maintenance checkup anyway.

There were the usual questions, including, "When was your last p?" I responded, "About 2 months ago," and out came the plastic cup and off I went to fill it. I kept telling myself I wasn't pg, couldn't be pg and that this really is the beginning of a new time in my life. And, the doctor confirmed it. I wasn't and it is.

Its been a bit of a bumpy road, but not awful - yet. When I first started reading about symptoms of peri-menopause, I almost couldn't get out of bed. It sounded life-ending. I thought I'd shrivel up and blow-away with the first strong wind. I'd decompose into a wad of wrinkles and incontinence, too-bright lipstick and eyeshadow highlighting the crevices in my face. I know I'm painting this over-the-top picture, but you also know, I'm kinda right. And, it is kinda scary - things changing. But its also kind of awesome!

For the last two months, despite some very minor physical discomforts, I have been p-free! Meaning, cramp-free, leak-free, bloat-free, responsibility-free! What a delicious, heady feeling! I feel like the world is opening up before me. So many options and opportunities. I've done my time! Soon, I'll never have to wonder, wish, deny, hope, dream about being pg again. Okay - there is some background here, I've known for at least twelve years I couldn't have any more children. And, back then, I did grieve about it. I came from a large family, I understood large families, I wanted to create a large family. "Knowing" I couldn't have more children never really stopped me from hoping, though. And you know what? When my p finally stops for good, then I don't have to hope anymore. The answer is final ("Its final now!" you're yelling at the computer screen. And I'm here to tell you, its not over til its over). And its a good answer. I am so excited to look forward and see months, years of freedom! I get there are physical changes coming, some having arrived already. But they're not the life-ending, heart-breaking disasters I thought they would be.

When I first posted my shopping list for my writers' group, I commented that not having a monthly cycle made me feel out of sync. In my mind I picture a board game, and there are 28 spaces, all in a circle. Every day I advance one space until I have gone all the way around the board. I have spent the last 36 years going in a circle. I knew where I was in the span of time because of what day it was in my cycle. Feel good and sexy? Must be ovulating! Feel fat and furious? Must be pms-ing! Feel average and even-keeled? Must just be a regular day.

But now, as I advance, square by square, there is no circle. The circle lays behind me and there is a straight path before me. I'm free to go forward and explore; to be a part of a different kind of mystery. Really, its like receiving an honor badge! Remember when we first got our periods, people would say, "Oh! You're a woman now!" I think that entering menopause makes you the most woman-est you'll ever be and I wish women would congratulate each other on a job well done! Children, no children, fertility issues, physical anguish, joy, pride, sorrow, loss - the race is done. We've made it. Cheers! Bottoms up! Woo-hoo! On to the victory par-tay!

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