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I peed in a glass jam jar this morning and took a test. The test was to look for high levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, which gets high when oestrogen levels are low. Oestrogen levels drop when you’re heading into menopause. The test was positive.
It was a bit of an odd moment for me to be honest, because on the one hand the test looked very much like a pregnancy test, but then it represents basically the opposite. It inevitably got me thinking about the day, 26 years ago, when I did do a pregnancy test for the first time, and everything that has come since. It could also explain the ongoing midlife unravelling.
It couldn’t have been better timed if I’d planned it for a smooth introduction to a post about reflections on pregnancy and early parenthood, in partnership with Feel. Feel makes supplements with a difference – clean, high quality nutrition tailored to particular life phases or areas of your health that you’d like to target, like digestion or cognitive function. They also produce a pregnancy formula, built to assist fertility, foetal development, help to reduce nausea and contribute to your overall health and energy levels.
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There are lots of perks to being a young mum, but I often wish I had paid a little more attention to things like diets, pregnancy supplements and generally learning about things. When you’re very young you have a sort of arrogance about you, like you know everything and nobody can possibly teach you anything. While this definitely contributed to a very relaxed pregnancy and birth in one sense, I do wonder if I missed something, whether if I had spent more time reading or discovering or looking after myself, what impact that might have had.
This youthful attitude can be a benefit though. I didn’t get bogged down in anxiety, over-thinking, worrying about all the things that could go wrong, and I definitely appreciate that.
There are other positives to being a young mum too. Apart from anything else I can’t even begin to imagine how exhausting it would be to have a toddler right about now. I know people are starting families later and later but honestly, I just don’t think I’d have the stamina. As a young mum I don’t remember the same kind of tiredness I sometimes feel now – you have so much more energy generally, so much more enthusiasm for life!
I love now, aged 43, telling people casually that I have an 18 and a 25 year old, and seeing people look kind of shocked, and then try to pretend they’re not shocked, and wonder what they should say. It’s always nice to be told you don’t look old enough to have grown-up children. It’s the chubby cheeks and wonky teeth I think.
One of the things I loved most about being a young mum was how many relations it meant Bee had. As well as a full set of grandparents and step-grandparents, all still relatively young themselves, Bee had a grand total of SEVEN great-grandparents when she was born. You can imagine how precious she was to them all. I had all four of my grandparents into my twenties and I know that had a really big impact on my life. Bee still has one of her great-grandparents now, aged 25.
The follow on from that of course is that I get to be a young granny myself. I like to think that people don’t automatically assume ‘Granny’ when they see me with Joey, and I love that being a young mum means I should (hopefully) get to see Joey grow up and maybe have children of his own.
The other thing I was thinking though, as I looked at the menopause test this morning, was how quickly it goes. I know everyone says this, and it’s hard to reconcile with the fact that days with young children feel about a week long at least, but when you look back you really do wonder where the time went, and how quickly the rest of life is going to go by.
When my girls where little I was always impatient for the next milestone, excited for them to get older and start to appreciate my sense of humour. What I realised though is the window where they do think you’re funny is small. Sometimes I wish I’d known to enjoy every moment more thoroughly, to not be so keen to have them grow up, but to instead cherish every day.
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