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Hormonal - Day 26

There are times I feel like the whole world has been doused in hot sauce.  Everything looks red.  It doesn't matter what the situation, I'm gritting my teeth and mad.  There are other days when blue is the color of life.  I'm sad, sad, sad.  Nothing feels right and I can't shake the feeling that I just need to go to bed and start over tomorrow.

These types of days creep up with a general feeling of unease every four weeks or so.  Other times they rage in without warning as I'm holding a precious newborn.  Remember my freak-out with baby Trevor in my arms?  I had another full-blown "moment" as I rocked twin baby girls.  Tears at that moment defied reason.  The path to having them included miscarriages, a cancer scare, and early pregnancy trouble.  Here I was, holding two dreams come true dressed in pink - with tears streaming down my face!  Why??  Because I wasn't pregnant anymore!  I wouldn't feel these babies kicking in my belly ever again!  They were born and they were beautiful!  No reason and every reason for me to be sobbing like a baby.

Momma said there'd be days like this and she was right!  It's called hormones, girls!  Every now and then your body puts you on drugs and your world goes a little bit off-kilter.  It's ok.  It's temporary.  And there are some simple strategies you can learn to manage these feelings more than they manage you.

*Know Thyself
 It's not weird to have a monthly entry on your calendar called "Period!" and another called "Period?"  (Although you might want to think twice about putting it on your family calendar that you publish for everyone, including your teenage boys, that can be a little awkward!)  You do need to learn the rhythms of your body and figure out what "normal" looks like for you.

The ability to predict is the name of the game here.  If you know that your cycle averages 28-30 days and for about a week before you turn a little bit into Eeyore, you don't ever have to be surprised by it! If you've told yourself to expect a mood dip next week, you won't stop the feelings, but you will stop the irrational thought that you're turning into a maniac and need to go live in the woods alone.  You'll take the power out of the feelings.  And shut down the crazy.  Take a page from the Boy Scout book and be prepared!

*Take Care of Yourself
 Vitamins, naps, chocolate, and friends are what you need during these periods of your life, pun intended!    Vitamins and naps because they are good for you.  Chances are you're not eating as healthy as you should every now and then and a good multi-vitamin with iron will fill in those blanks.  Nothing runs good on empty, including your body.  And I think you all know by now why it's spiritual to take a nap.  Chocolate, do I really need to explain that one?  A well-timed indulgence should be one of your highly honed skills.

The most important way to take care of yourself when your hormones go crazy?  Friends, good girlfriends.  You need to be spending time with a sister who will nod her head while murmuring affirmation and then turn around and stick her finger in your face and tell you to straighten up!  Girlfriends are the canary in your emotional mine. Your life preserver on the rocky seas.  If you let friends see the real you, they will tell you when your feelings step over the line of temporary and normal and you need to find a bigger solution than waiting it out.  And friends will drive you to the doctor and hold your hand while you explain.  You need other women to feel normal when you are and be able to see it when you're not.

*Don't Give Yourself a Free Pass but Do Give Yourself a Break
A reason is not an excuse.  Knowing why you feel emotional doesn't make it ok for those emotions to be in charge.  You know this.  You teach it to your children.  No matter why you do something wrong, or how understandable it is, you are responsible for the words that come out of your mouth, the attitudes of your body language, and the look on your face.  What you say and do when you feel like crap is on you.  Own it.  Apologize.  And make it a good apology.  One that ends right after "I'm sorry" with no explanations about how bad you were feeling attached or "reasons" for your behavior attached.

But goodness sakes, give yourself a break!   When you can possibly afford it, take at least one day a month to let yourself give-in to downtime.  The world will keep spinning if you don't baby yourself and don't get anything done for one day.  The world will keep spinning if you take more than two days after giving birth to expect yourself the enter the regular world again.  Slow down and just be!  There are days when "being" is hard and it's ok to go slow. Those days are the reason Little Caesar's and couches were invented.

*Love being a WOMAN!!!
I can't tell you how many times I rolled my teenage eyes at my Mom's response to my complaints about "woman problems."  You could always count on her answer.  Every time.  If you talk to her about this today, I know what she'll say and now I'm old enough and experienced enough to have traded my eye rolling for head nodding and agreement.

My Mom will get a look of rapture on her face and say, "But isn't it worth it??  Think about what those hormones make it possible for your body to do.  They turn you into God's tool for making new life.  Your body can hold a baby while God knits it together.  Your body can feed it when it's born!  It's amazing, so amazing! Feeling emotional sometimes is totally worth what those hormones accomplish - they're magical!"  Faced with the option of a trade, I'm quite sure every one of you would welcome the emotional crazy as a small price to pay for the miraculous potential.

Besides babies, another thing great about the more emotional side of woman-hood is this:  Emotions are one of the key conduits for intuition and that gut feeling you're glad you heeded when you suddenly felt like something wasn't quite right in the quiet house and went to check on the children downstairs.  You know that feeling, and it serves you well.  "Spidey-sense" mom-style is another perk I don't want to trade.

It's time to turn this thing around.  You aren't your feelings but they are a valuable part of you.  You can handle your emotions and be the one in charge.  You know where they come from and why.   Let's teach our daughters to welcome and celebrate the fact that women feel things and feel them deeply.  Let's not be afraid to walk through a little pain for a worthy goal.  Wave your banner high, fall in love with the things that make being a woman great.

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  1. All of these are so true! I don't know if you do Natural Family Planning or Fertility Awareness, but those are both great ways to better understand all the crazy things your hormones can do to your body and how your cycle changes with stress, sickness, and age. Great post! And I love the picture of your family at the top. They are absolutely beautiful!

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