Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

February 11, 2007

Hormones, the bane of my existance

Filed under: Thinking — by mvmommy @ 1:14 pm

Lousy.. that is how hormones make me feel.

Irritable. Weepy. Paranoid. Insecure. Tired. Frustrated. Depressed. Overly Sensitive. Not able to sleep. Did I mention lousy?

When I was a teenager, I remember my dad saying to me… “Are you on your period?”. I believe most every woman has been asked that question before, and has subsequently wanted to leap at the man who has said it to her… beating him senseless with her bare fists while yelling… I AM NOT ON MY PERIOD YOU STUPID JERK… I AM JUST PISSED OFF, UPSET, FRUSTRATED, (ie. fill in the appropriate adjective). At that age, I didn’t really understand hormones – I just thought my dad was being insensitive (which he was). I didn’t realize that I probably would not have been sobbing about some test I had to take, if it was a week later in my cycle. I would have just dealt with it & moved on. The degrees of my frustration would have been dialed down about 100 notches if I wasn’t hormonal.

Later during my early twenties, I still hadn’t caught onto the ‘hormone affect’.

Yes, I was a slow slow learner. But in my defense, it’s scary how truly upset you can get about something while hormonal, insisting it is not the hormones that are making you that way. I mean… if you are upset… aren’t you upset for a justifiable reason? It’s hard to take a step back, look at the situation, look at the calendar, and then ‘talk yourself down’ while telling yourself you might be over-reacting. Come on.. how many of us have that sort of self-control and self-awareness?!

Thus, I remember calling in sick to work some days because felt like I might be getting sick… lethargic, tired, like the onset of a cold. I remember thinking, this can’t be due to hormones, because I am not on my period. (As if you could only be upset when it was your period. That those were the only days when it was okay for a woman to have a case of the ‘crazies’. Yes, again, it took me a while to realize that my ‘crazy days’ are the WEEK BEFORE the actual event – why doesn’t anyone tell you these things!!!!) Those days I knew were times that I should stay home, in bed, under the covers, curled up in the fetus position – avoiding my co-workers for fear of bursting into tears OR saying something I might regret because I was frustrated and random, unintelligible words came flying out of my mouth.

Clearly, the ‘normal’ hormones that came with my periods were working out fabulously for me (insert sarcasm here). So we heaped on fertility drugs and pregnancy hormones, and I had a whole new level of hell going on in my body. Infertility is stressful enough not to have your emotions being toyed with by the insane hormone drugs. Can you say, weepy mess of a person. Yuck.

But then I was lucky enough to get pregnant! I was so deliriously thrilled that I couldn’t understand any feeling that wasn’t pure joy. I was just reading a blog entitled, “Do You Think Pregnancy Bites? You are not alone.” And I have to say, I rejoiced a little.

I remember feeling pretty low at times, and not really knowing why. I couldn’t seem to explain my behaviour and feelings to people, because I myself didn’t get it. How was it that I could want to be pregnant more than anything in the world.. and yet, be bitchy, upset, paranoid, frustrated, and all together miserable at the same time? I left most conversations with friends, feeling bad about myself, and trying to fix something. In fact, at one point I went to see a psychologist because I was sure there was something wrong with me. Even the doctors seemed concerned because I was that much of a mess… UNTIL… they saw me after having the baby. I was like Sybil- two entirely separate personalities. At that point, they pretty much looked at me, and said… yes, you do poorly with hormones. Diagnosis confirmed. We don’t need to see you anymore. Glad you are back. And, oh by the way, good luck with that.

A little late, but better than never, I finally realized that there are women who are affected by hormones and there are those that are not. And then there are some women that fall somewhere in between. Often those that aren’t cursed with the major upswings and downswings, can’t really understand the ones that are. It’s a shame. But like everything else, unless you have gone through it, it’s easy to judge … and hard to sympathize.

So with all this new-found knowledge about hormones and how they affect me, I am more prepared to acknowledge my craziness for what it is … ‘temporary insanity’ that will go away in 7 days, or nine months if I am pregnant. I often can explain my behaviour better to my husband (who by the way, knew all this stuff for the past 10 years and was just waiting for me to catch up). And I can respect my body and my emotions more as a woman. blah blah blah.

However, now that I have figured all this out… I am no longer just a woman anymore, I am a MOTHER. So how does a mother … who is feeling hormonal… be a great mom?

As a mother… you can’t be sick, so you definitely can’t be hormonal. You cannot take a sick day so that you can curl up in a ball and stay under the covers. You can’t be weepy and irritable with your children for no reason. You have to be MOM. Solid, stable, and definitely not crazy.

Not that it happened to me…. but let’s suppose. You are feeding your kids lunch. They are eating rice. They are toddlers, so, not very good with spoons when they are distracted by shiny objects. And for the 10th time in 5 minutes, someone ‘accidentally’ throws the rice on the floor. The floor that you just washed, and cleaned. And your husband is not home, so you have to be the one who patiently picks up the rice. But you want to scream because you are so tired of picking up rice. So you almost start crying because you wish they would eat their rice nicely. And normally, you would take the rice away and give them something to gnaw on, but there is nothing in the fridge because you haven’t gone grocery shopping yet. And they haven’t eaten enough of the stinkin’ rice, for you to simply say lunch is over and move on. AHHHA STUPID RICE!!!!! Clearly, you realize that you are being hormonal, and the rice is really not the issue. Also, you know that rationally your kids aren’t trying to taunt you with their rice throwing… they are just being toddlers. So what do you do?

If this ‘was’ me.. and I ‘had’ been in that situation… this is ‘probably’ what I did. Dad would walk in the door about 3 minutes later, to the aftermath of ‘Battle Rice’. Music would be blaring on the iPod in the attempt to get some aggression out without any yelling. Toddler #1 would be allowed to go outside in his pajamas, in the rain, with rainboots on over the footie pajamas. Toddler#2 would be dumped in a stroller, in the rain, watching Toddler #1. Dad would be told to ‘be in charge’. And Mom would sprint to the car to take a long car ride in order to re-group… waving to the three boys left behind in the rain, who are slighly perplexed, and have NO IDEA WHAT HORMONES CAN DO TO A MOTHER!

That is probably what I would have done if it were me.

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1 Comment »

  1. Michelle, are you on your period?

    Comment by Joel Bittle — February 13, 2007 @ 5:09 pm |Reply


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