Dear Partner.....About Perimenopause....
Dear darling partner,
I wanted to write you this letter to explain some things that are going on for me at the moment (and probably will for the next few years. I know. Bear with me!).
I’m hoping that this letter will help you understand a bit more about what’s up with me, and be able to support me as I go through this in ways that will really help.
So, about perimenopause....
You’ve probably heard of menopause? Menopause is a point in time (when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12-months) whereas Perimenopause is the years leading up to that point.
From what I've learnt, in those years (perimenopause) leading up to menopause, a woman’s hormones are going IN.SANE! Like, literally the worst, biggest, gnarliest rollercoaster you can think of. I can testify to that. That’s me at the moment. That’s my body and my moods and my emotions.
But I don’t need to tell you that. I know you've probably noticed things are changing.
Firstly, most importantly, I need you to understand that perimenopause is absolutely real. It’s not something I just made up to cover myself for being so cranky lately. I wish it was, I really do.... but it's real.
You can read this article here from Harvard Health - I would really love it if you read it.
Perimenopause isn’t really talked about so it’s no-one’s fault that you don’t know about it - heck! Even alllll us women out here are only just finding out about it.
The weird thing is, even though we women have noticed these changes in our bodies and minds during these years leading up to menopause, there’s not really been anything that explains it.
Not out there in the media, not even the doctors seem to know much about it. Amongst us, we've kind of known something is very, very up but could never put our fingers on it.
But despite there not being much acknowledgement at all about perimenopause, I’ve noticed things are changing - so many things. And it's not just me, women everywhere are waking up to the fact that yes, those changes they're noticing are absolutely real. It's not in our heads, it's absolutely real.
Those changes are physical, mental and cognitive, and rocking me to my very core.
Perimenopause is often called the Second Puberty because of the similar symptoms we experienced when we were going through puberty in our teens - except now we can’t skulk in a dark corner of our bedroom for 12 hours a day, for a few years until it’s over (sad face).
This Second Puberty means I’m experiencing things like being super moody, insomnia, chronic anxiety, skin breaking out and hormones wreaking all manner of havoc on every cell in my being.
On mood - please know when I’m cranky, tired, super moody - it's not you (well, maybe sometimes. haha).
Please, please take this on board. Sometimes, thanks to the perimenopause hormones, I’m simply not able to control how I feel.
When I’m being grumpy (and maybe even a little bit scary), hold my hand (actually best don’t touch me) and ask me what you can do to make things better. That one thing would be a game-changer.
If I don’t know what I need in that moment, please just tell me you love me, are there for me and that you support me if there’s anything I need. Hug me (if safe to do so. Repeat: ONLY if safe to do so).
The moods and anxiety that come with perimenopause rattle me to the point where sometimes I’m not sure who I am anymore and it can be really distressing for me. It’s all very unpredictable and utterly exhausting. That’s why I’m pretty much good for nothing when bedtime comes around.
What also comes with perimenopause is sore joints (sore everythings in fact!), hot flashes (to help you understand: imagine the burning pits of hell burning within you. Then, times that by 150,000. So please keep the aircon on and windows open, it’s always hot in here!), itchy skin, my periods are all over the place, weight gain, migraines, loss of libido and my brain definitely isn’t as sharp as it used to be.
Oh, and I can’t sleep anywhere near how I used to.
So when you look at all that, you can understand why I might be a hot mess everyday.
Please be patient with me.
The fertile parts of my body are winding down but I know now from everything I’ve read and learnt that I’m going to pop out the other side of this whole thing and be back to my old self (though maybe a little scarred and wiser from this whole ordeal!).
I want to come out the other side of this with you so please hang in there with me, please read up on it, let’s talk more about it all together, ask me how I’m doing and what you can do to support me and we’ll get through it.
Oh and if you want extra bonus points,
buy me a bag or 3 of Peri Chai Latte to soothe all these miserable symptoms.
The Partner's Guide to Perimenopause is right here.
You can also have a good look through our blog here, we have heaps of helpful articles to help you both through.
If you'd like to know the science-y/study-y side of the impact of supporting a woman through perimenopause, read on:
Your Support Through Perimenopause Means the World
An experiential study in 2016 found that “The training of menopausal health for spouses improves the quality of life in women during menopausal transition.” Read about that here.
Another study, where they conducted at-length interviews, found that when men better understand menopausal changes, it “fosters the development of better emotional support for their wives, which improves the quality of marital relations.” Read that here.
Communication is key in these transitional years, like having conversations about the impacts on your sex life might be really uncomfortable but important to discuss to help you embrace the different options. Here’s a post we wrote about different options women could try.