Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Art of Ageing Disgracefully - Warning *Secret Women's Business Discussed*

WARNING: TMI following, not for the faint-hearted.

I have decided a lot of people are inherently deceitful. Nobody ever tells you about the effects of growing older until you are mid-crisis and then they chime in with  a gleeful "Oh, didn't you know about that?" It is not the first time I have experienced this.

There are times in life where there seems to be a cone of silence fixed in place. It is as if others want you to join them in their misery and so do not warn anyone of implications of certain actions. A little cult group waiting patiently for you to stumble in, then they pounce.

Here are  just a few examples:
  1. Post childbirth changes. Yes, we are all told about the pelvic floor bits, and the stretch marks and the physical change in appearance like the bigger waist and saggier boobs, but did anyone mention to you about the horrific differences at that time of the month? You know, the unmentionable monthlies? When my cycle resumed I was convinced I was suffering from some terrible complication, NO-ONE had seen fit to explain that my normally average or light period would transform into this deluge overflowing even the super, super pads. And the clots - hell, I thought I was giving birth to a residual twin or something! I foolishly assumed, after a friend had calmed me and quietly informed me it was normal, my body would gradually adjust and return to its pre-birth patterns. My youngest turned ten in August. I am still waiting.
  2. Children's sleep patterns. I was aware our lives would change, knew sleep deprivation was on the cards for at least a few years, but was floored when talking to a dear friend (or she was until this point) about the fact that my oldest had sleep issues at four years of age. She tittered gleefully before stating "Oh, didn't I mention it? Once you have kids, you can forget about regular sleep patterns for the next eighteen years of their lives. If it's not one thing, it's another and once they are teenagers you'll be clock watching until the wee hours waiting for them to come home!" Great. Just great. I am not a pleasant person when sleep deprived (refer previous posts). Is this the hidden real reason for the high divorce rates in our country? Low tolerance due to sleep torture? No, you did not discuss this with me at any point, and you know it.
  3. Mood swings. Another post birth treat. Not the baby blues, or PND, but the hormonal swings which become a part of your personality after babies. One week of the month I could quite easily murder whilst in a boiling rage. Quickly, effectively, painfully kill someone. A seething cauldron of anger bubbles just below my surface calm, and I am tipped into fury within an instant by the most inane things. My family pussy-foot around me that one week. And sorry, Lisa Curry-Kenny-Curry or whatever you are this week, those damn tablets do nothing for me. Add these lovely emotional upheavals in with the sleep loss and... I'll say no more.

Now I am discovering the joys of ageing. There are all these lovely little things going on with my body that my gentile, ladylike Mother takes great pleasure in commenting on. To her great excitement I am moving into her territory of expertise. Hair seems to be the biggest issue at this early point. No, not grey hair, we all know about grey hair, some of *us* began to go grey in our thirties, hell some I know started as early as the twenties! No, I am talking about the mutant hairs growing thickly in places no hair has sprouted before. Rogue eyebrow hair springing forth overnight, so some mornings I resemble a female Groucho Marx. Foot hair - I have never in my life had foot hair! Ah well, now I do. My normal hair line progressing slowly down my face, a widows peak - I can do an Eddie Munster impersonation without makeup! Not to mention the fine, downy fluff beginning to cover my whole face! I could support the hair removal industry single-handed... And apparently this is all normal!

Skin is another problem. I have always had what the English term a peaches and cream complexion. Very few acne issues as a teenager: clear, fair, glowing skin. We are told about the loss of elasticity, the lines, the age spots but who in hell ever knew about the pimples? And the hyper-sensitive skin allergies? I have never reacted to skin products, had very few problems at all. Now in my forties I have to tell the salesgirls "oh yes, I have an extremely sensitive skin which will react to a lot of products..." What the? Why didn't somebody mention this way back? Pimples, blackheads, motley allergy-prone complexion. I feel like a teenager worrying about who is looking at my zits!

Last but not least, are the food/digestive reactions. Or should I just say the farting issues. I am in no way a delicate little petal and quite honestly admit to being the guilty party in teaching my sons the old pull my finger trick, but the amount of gas I am producing nowadays? And the distinct odour? Well, I certainly have learned to move quickly away from the area of the offence to avoid any black looks or finger pointing. Especially as I may misinterpret said action as joining in the fun and go to pull it. According to my doctor it is still only a part of the ageing process. A part which nobody mentions. Ever.

Somebody needs to write a blunt, factual and maybe somewhat humorous account of this process. Then it wouldn't be quite as big a shock to so many of us. Especially me.

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