Truth is… there is no saying when they’ll stop happening. I think the only way they’ll stop is if life ceases. Isn’t life just an ever-evolving state of being? Let me use my own life as an example.
I am 11 months postpartum with my second Nugget, nine and a half months past what some employers will allow a new mom for recovery if they did not have a cesarean. (I am not going to include my thoughts on this. That’s something for another post.) Let that sink in…nine and a half months past.
My baby is 11 months old and my body is still undergoing changes, changes I’ve never consciously experienced. I noticed my body start to change again last month when I stopped pumping and started breastfeeding only at night. With Little Nugget, I breastfed for seven months, but got my first menstruation postpartum at four months. With Z Nugg, I am yet to get it; however, my body has already begun to prepare.
Now, I know many will find the following uncomfortable, and believe me, it took me educating myself to become comfortable with what I’m about to share. (My attempt at breaking stigmas.) To be honest, I’m not looking forward to getting my period for the simple fact that I don’t want to worry about my menstrual blood leaking through my underwear and staining whatever I’m sitting on, but truth is, that’s just what might happen—just as it did when I was in 6th grade, when I thought my reputation had been tainted as bad as the jeans I bled in. (Again, it is not my intention, but I know discomfort is inevitable to invoke when speaking about something as natural as bodily functions.)
Moving on to the actual changes I’ve noticed:
An increase in cervical fluid. Don’t know what it is? Cervical fluid has the consistency of raw egg whites, helps sperm swim into the cervix, and can help a woman know when she’s fertile or when she’s going to get her menstruation. Before knowing what cervical fluid (or mucous) was, I used to think it was gross, but now I think it’s pretty darn cool and important.
Noticeable joint pains in my arms. You read right, joint pains. My arms felt like the arms of a malnourished 70-year-old. I racked my brain trying to figure out why my joints ached so much. I analyzed my lifestyle—I take my vitamins, stretch, and exercise daily—and broke down every little thing I did throughout my day to try and improve my well-being, but I just couldn’t figure it out. Then, the joint aches went away on their own after a few days.
Felt the all-too-familiar lower back discomfort. I clearly remember feeling this the day after Z Nugg turned 11 months. I felt sure that I was getting my period that day. I replenished my Diva Cup and felt so drained. I wasn’t sure if I felt defeated or if I had willfully surrendered. (Yes, there’s a difference.) After dragging my “menstruating” body around that day, evening time came, I showered, and got ready for bed, and still no period. Furthermore proving that my body is prepping.
An increase in minor breakouts and weight gain. Instead of explaining these two, I’ll just say that all I can attribute the changes to is the transitional time my hormones currently find themselves in. I’ve lessened (close to stopped) my breastfeeding relationship with my baby, and it makes sense to me that this is why my hormones are trying to find their new normal.
Even while being conscious of the changes, they were still a little bit of a rude awakening. It’s been about 22 months since my last menstruation, and although I was not excited to know I will be getting my period soon, I remembered the things I’ve learned from the Fifth Vital Sign. They reminded me to be grateful.
Menstruation is a sign of health. My menstruation will help me keep track of when I’m fertile, and when I am not, therefore having some type of birth control at work. I see it as the beginning of my birth control journey. I choose not to poison my body with anything that will alter my hormonal build, so cervical mucous it is!
To all my fellow women, what non-pharaceutical birth control method works for you?