For the sake of this post, I am borrowing Doc Brown’s DeLorean. (It’s a time machine, kids)
*Blasts back to 1981 aged 11*
Puberty starts with a bang, literally. It’s bonfire night, I presume I’m dying, Ma thrusts a sanitary towel the size of Wales through the bathroom door saying “stick this in your knickers, dear!”
*Fast forward to 1983 aged 13*
I inform my dad, “I’ll NEVER leave you! I’ll NEVER get married!! I HATE boys!!!” (except Duran Duran)
*fast forward four years to 1987 aged 17*
*fast forward to 1988*
Is handed a howling bundle of joy by an extremely cranky midwife with staffing issues. I am smitten, (with baby not midwife)
*fast forwards to August 1992 aged 21*
Cantankerous old biddy of a midwife (been delivering babies since the 1800’s) thrusts a sleepy bundle of joy in my arms. Smitten again.
*fast forwards to June 2009 aged 38*
Limps into labour ward looking like Alice Cooper. Within a couple of hours I am descended on by theatre staff who unceremoniously prepare me for an emergency C Section.
The 9lbs 7 oz bundle is extracted from my mangled womb and promptly pees on the nurse. For a third time, I am smitten.
*fast forwards to 2009 aged 39*
Gynecological consultant (male) cheerfully informs me that he is going into retirement, as are my ovaries. I am menopausal. I manage to refrain from lamping him one. I’m only 39! In my prime, aren’t I?
*fast forwards a year 2010*
Tries to look on the bright side of being 40 and menopausal by thinking of all the money I’ll save on not having to buy sanitary towels.
*fast forwards to 2012*
Post menopausal – ovaries have officially retired.
*fast forwards a year 2013*
Pelvic floor surrenders.
*rewinds back to August 1992 – maternity hospital*
Pleads to have a couple of stitches put in.
*fast forwards back to 2012*
Craves comfortable shoes, ruched tops and Alan Titchmarsh.
Orders Tena Lady’s by the pallet load.
erratic psychotic behaviour.
*fast forwards to 2014*
This has been my reproductive life and now it’s officially over. Kaput. Knackered. Finito.
Initially miffed that my eggs are about as much use as a chocolate fireguard, I soon reminded myself that I have three wonderful children and am lucky to have had the privilege, many don’t.
My journey has brought me to a place where I finally like who I am.
I look at this photo of 16 year old me and realise that I didn’t like myself very much. I mean, just look at my body language. Am I handcuffed?
I was 16! Why wasn’t draped across the sand in my bikini?
I suppose it’s something that I wasn’t wearing my cardi…
The hair is hideous but I only have the one chin and, what’s that, a belly button?
I haven’t seen that SOB in five years!!
So now I’m middle-aged.
I have a wibbly bum, rogue nose hair and boobs which look like a couple of deflated airbags (if airbags came in Borrower size)
Oh, and I dribble when I laugh.
‘OOPS’ moments? I’ve had a few…
But all this comes with the realisation that, despite disintegrating faster than a dunked Rich Tea biscuit (but with less finesse), I am more comfortable with my body than I’ve ever been.
Menopause isn’t the end of the world, it’s just part of life – a new chapter.
My body is curvy and that’s not another way of saying I’m fat. Well, OK, I am a bit fat but I like it.
The me in the photograph felt ugly. The years of having been bullied were ingrained in my psyche. Thanks, cows.
I have reached that wonderful time in my life where ” I aint bovvered!”
That’s not to say that I’ve given up on my self and lounge about in leggings and tea-stained tops…uh huh, I’m my mother’s daughter and she’d haunt me if I did. I mean that I’m not bothered by what other people think of me.
Time changes you physically and mentally. You start to see your loved one’s get ill and die and you know that one day it will be you in that box.
It’s important to love your body and, for me, it’s easier now because when I see the stretch marks and c section scar which cover my tummy, I remind myself of why they are there.
Lets get philosophical…
Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art which repairs chips and cracks in pottery with fine gold, silver or platinum. Rather than rejecting or hiding it’s flaws and imperfections – they are highlighted and the object is considered to be more even beautiful than before.
This is how I choose to see my scar and stretch marks. I embrace them for what they are – a beautiful reminder of three boys who gave my life meaning.
You reading this boys? Your mama loves you! I am a broken pot but I love you.
To the bullies, I raise two fingers.
No, make that one.
When we are young we try on different masks in an attempt to find our identities. Age brings acceptance of who we are and we’re less inclined to take people’s shit. Good, eh?
I’m finally OK with being me.
Don’t you think I’m looking older?
But something good has happened to me
Change is a stranger
You have yet to know
George Michael ~ Older