So, yesterday someone suggested that I might be in early menopause.
Let me tell you about it.
Yesterday was my last "Parent-Baby Group" at the hospital where Baby Girl was born. (They call this "Parent-Baby Group" in an effort to be all PC and everything, but the truth is, it's just moms. And babies.) I didn't go to the 0-3 month group, because those were the months where I didn't feel much like doing things that started at a certain time. I liked getting out of the house [read: I was often desperate to get out of the house] but I wanted to do that in my own sweet feet-dragging way, and not feel perpetually late to everything, which is what would have happened. Also, my job involves a lot of people-time, and it was nice to be a little bit more solitary for awhile.
So I joined the 3-6 month group because a bunch of moms told me in effusive tones that I absooooluuuutely had to do this, it was the best thing ever, they met these women who are still their best friends even though their babies are all in high school now, etc. I went. It was okay, in the way that walking into the high school cafeteria and recognizing immediately that everyone else is already sitting with a group and you are the odd kid out is also, "okay." Like in every group, there were some moms I connected with and others I didn't. This was fine.
Yesterday, our topic was, "guilt and parenting." We were supposed to write down all our guilt-triggers on a piece of paper, talk about them with the group, and then put them into a bucket which symbolized casting away this guilt. I have never found this to work overly well, but it's a nice symbol. We all re-hashed the things about which moms have felt guilty for a thousand years: sleeping methods, breast-vs-bottle feeding, to-work-or-not-to-work-outside-the-home, etc.
My first guilt topic was this: I feel guilty that I don't feel guilty about liking my job and enjoying work. (Did you follow that? I know.) This is a post for another time.
My second one was this: I feel guilty that I have absolutely, totally, 100%, no doubt, zip, zero, nada, NO sex drive whatsoever and (this is the guilt-inducing part) not much interest in doing anything about it.
From what little I've read and heard on this topic, I feel like it's pretty normal for new moms to feel this way. Breastfeeding depresses your estrogen supply, which means you aren't as interested or, um, capable. Because of, you know, the fluid levels and the lubricating factors and the...yeah. You get it.
But infertility ups the ante on this, because it's not just that I've had no real desire since the baby was born: I was nauseous for, well, about the entire pregnancy, and on fertility drugs off-and-on for several years before that, and when you look back at it, it's about five years since I really had much sustained interest in this area. Which is not to say that we haven't had sex in five years. (I think my husband feels this way sometimes, but he would also admit that this is not quite the case.)
So I talked about how this made me feel guilty, and all the other moms were nodding their heads in recognition, and then the group facilitator gave me some suggestions (which, oddly enough, just made me feel more guilty) and then she casually mentioned that "at your age, you might be peri-menopausal" which she said as if this was no big deal but was pretty much like hitting me in the face with a Mack truck, because my "age" is, in fact, THIRTY-EIGHT and if that's entering early menopause, then thanks a whole freaking lot lady, you've been very helpful.
Let me assure you (as I wish I had done to her, had I not been too shocked to say anything coherent) that I have had every fertility test in the book, so if I were entering early menopause, I would already know about it. And my mom didn't start menopause until her early 60's, the same as her mother, so I'm not too worried. Mostly, I wanted to slap this woman in the face. I mean, I'm not opposed to menopause. It happens to us all. But maybe this is not the best thing to say to a woman with a 6-month old child who has just confided in you that she isn't much into Barry White music at the moment. Maybe you could jump to something a little less drastic than, say, the end of her fertility and gradual slide into silver hair and polyester pants and a weekly game of bridge. For which she will apparently need to get a babysitter for her kindergartner.
At what point do you think I should do something about this whole sex drive thing? I mean, Group Facilitator Lady said sweetly that we could "be creative, it doesn't have to involve intercourse," to which I said, "yes, my husband is full of suggestions on that, it's not a lack of information I'm worried about here," but I really am wondering if there might be something wrong. Like, can I take a pill for this? Because that would be great. Because I do love my husband, and I miss that part of my life, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it.
Other than buy up some polyester pants and call it a day.