As pregnant women, we are told of hormonal shifts and the resulting mood swings. New mothers are warned about post-partum depression. But when does someone take you aside and explain what your first returning period might be like?
With my first child, my menstrual cycle returned six months post-partum. I had returned to work a month prior and was not pumping as often as I’d like. It had been a glorious break from the monthly ritual while trying to put my energies elsewhere. With child #2, I had more than a year without my moon time. By this point, I had grown somewhat accustomed to not having a menstrual period. I wasn’t experiencing the predictable loss of energy, comfort, and emotional control.
Enter the red dragon. I had been experiencing a particularly difficult week of parenting my daughter – then three – and my year old son. Everything was a battle. I tried to micro-manage the kids’ behavior. I was irritated by everything they said. And my body felt different. I am used to always operating on somewhat of a sleep deficit but this was an ache on a lower frequency. This, I would find out, was a return of the hormonal patterns that initiated the reproductive process to begin with.
Parenting can be stressful business. Add to this the rigors of work and living in the city. The emotional toll that my premenstrual attitude wields on my family is reason enough to mark it on the calendar and give my spouse the heads up. This time is a time for me to rest, gather strength, and in some small way mourn the passing of a potential new descendant that might have grown in my womb.