Period. End of Sentence.

WARNING: The following post contains lengthy, frank discussion of female biological processes. Just skip this post if you're not interested or prone to the feeling of TMI. No hard feelings. I'm 5 days late with my period. This is very unusual for me.

I've had a good time teasing Leroy about all of this. You see, it's only funny because he underwent a vasectomy years ago. That doesn't stop me from quoting the statistic that "spontaneous re-canalization has been reported in less than 1% of patients." Unlikely, but not impossible. I've also thrown in digs about cravings, late night feedings and looking for a house with a nursery close to the master bedroom.

He doesn't think I'm funny.

I thought it was hysterical until this morning when I realized that my amenorrhea could have another cause.

Menopause.

Yeah... that diagnosis is much more likely. I feel so stupid. Suddenly, my "condition" is not so funny anymore. At least not to me. Previously (within the last year) I had taken offense to the suggestions that I am at the age for perimenopause. I was once in a discussion with a male friend whose daughter was undergoing some difficulties with menstration and I said that I was fortunate to have never had any of those issues. He asked me, with all sincerity, "You still have periods?"

I almost kicked him in the teeth.

There was another incident involving a waitress and a wisecracking comment regarding her perception of our common age. (She was at least 20 years older than me.) She referenced a menopausal symptom and I recoiled at the suggestion.

She didn't get much of a tip.

The real problem is that I've always somewhat considered my periods as blessings... and a grace. When I as very young, I read an article about a nun who was being interviewed about her vocation and the sacrifices that she made. When the writer asked about her feelings regarding sexuality and child bearing she explained. She said that every 28 days, God gave her a gift. It was the gentle reminder that her body was created to bear life. Each month, her body prepared, waited, cleansed itself and started the process all over again. So much of our life is cyclical. She viewed this process as an extension of the larger understanding of life, death and resurrection. A personal reminder of her signficance in a bigger concept. She also recognized the gift of free will. Although she had made a committment to celebacy, God did not take away her choice. God did not take away her privledge of being a woman.

Her words completely changed my perspective of "the curse."

Now I am gently being pushed to recognizing the purpose and gift in this new phase in my life. I'm not going to lie to you and say that I'm throughly prepared to take on the challenge. I am not. I'm still in shock in the realization of my entrance into the unknown. I'm going to research and see if my little nun has since written about the issue... to see if I can gain the insight, understanding and acceptance that came so easily before. This is my prayer.

In the meantime, for someone who is constantly cold, hot-flashes don't sound like such a bad thing...