Today, it’s official: my childbearing years, during which I never bore a child, are over. One year after the start of my last period, I’m done with cramps, stained underwear, and tampons (thanks, o.b., for your many years of service), and I can consider myself menopausal.
I have had no symptoms - no night sweats, no hot flashes – and I‘m no more forgetful or depressed, and no less juicy, than usual. I feel sexier than I ever have. And the likelihood of my becoming pregnant has been so minimal in the past decade anyway that I’d compare it to the chances of the Large Hadron Collider creating a black hole.
So what, exactly, is changing? Well, there’s certainly a sense of finality. My monthly ebb and flow is no more, and I will never have a child unless I adopt one.
But as I cross over into cronedom, I’m thinking about ebb and flow in different ways: the channeling of my creativity, the discipline of taking care of myself year in and year out, the obligation I have to the children in my family and in the world to make this planet a better place and to teach what I know.
To mark this occasion, tonight, for the first time in my life, I am going to go to a mikveh, the Jewish ritual bath, and as I submerge myself in the water I'll think about everything my womb has been through: the pregnancies that didn’t last, the pregnancies that couldn’t last, the IUDs, the diaphragms, the hormones to help me get pregnant and not get pregnant and stay pregnant. And I am going to bless those experiences for what they were and what I learned from them.
Then, I ‘m going to walk back into the world and find every ounce of joy I can in my passionate, messy, complicated life. And I wish the same for you, whether you have ever had a uterus or not.