Okay, real talk.
I’ve never had my period before.
I was debating on whether or not to hold off on writing this post considering that it’s only my third post, but I think it’s important that I let y’all know that my life isn’t all sunshine and sweet potatoes…there’s some major things going on in my life that give me all sorts of feels.
And right now I’m feelin’ this post.
When most people find out that I’ve never had a period (given that the conversation even comes up in the first place), they usually respond with a “Wow, you’re so lucky!” or “OMG I wish I was you!” and I usually respond with a confused stare.
Because I’m not lucky.
But first, a little background on why not having your period sucks big time.
There’s been a lot of talk on the subject of amenorrhea lately, which is the term used to describe absence of a menstrual cycle. However, most of this talk relates to secondary amenorrhea, which is when a female has started her menstrual cycle but loses it for a prolonged period of time. In my case, I have primary amenorrhea, which is when a menstrual cycle has not even started. Usually the cut off age for when amenorrhea becomes a concern in girls who haven’t had their periods is 16.
Currently, I’m 18.
So yeah, not only am I legally an adult and feel more mentally, emotionally, and spiritually mature than I have ever been in my life, but I cannot do the one thing that adult women are blessed to be able to do…create life.
This idea that I would not be able to have kids without a period didn’t bother me five years ago because I was only 13 years old and assumed I would start it eventually. But then I turned 14.
And then I turned 15.
And then I turned 16,
And then I got tested (blood tests, hormone analysis, X-rays, ultrasounds, pelvic exams, chromosome analysis) and everything looked “normal”.
And then I turned 17…and well, you get the picture.
It wasn’t until this summer when I really decided to address this issue once and for all instead of waiting for my period to magically start, because let’s be honest, if your period hasn’t started by the time you’re 18, there’s probably something a little off.
It just really hit me when I was at the gym one day and saw this mom with her adorable two kids trailing behind her. And then it was like everywhere I looked I saw glimpses of the joy of motherhood. The glowing pregnant woman in my yoga class. The mother on a bike ride with her children on the trails I walk on every morning. Even the numerous women with young children that I am familiar with on social media were constant reminders of the blessing and miracle of motherhood and the joy of starting a family.
That’s when I knew something had to be done. Because I knew that whatever it was that was wrong with me, it was preventing me from eventually enjoying one of life’s greatest joys.
I did the research, I listened to the podcasts, and I’m pretty sure I found the answer…or, at least an answer.
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that I’m an avid runner. Exercise-induced amenorrhea is very much a thing and could likely be preventing me from menstruating, but running is the love of my life and I don’t know if I’m willing to give it up. Many, many women healthily menstruate while accomplishing amazing feats like marathons and triathlons without any issues whatsoever.
It wasn’t until I started reading about “set-point theory”, which is commonly referred to by Robyn Nohling, RD of the blog “The Real Life RD”, that I started to understand that everyone has a different exercise threshold at which they can healthily menstruate. This means that some women need more energy than others in order to manage maintaining their necessary bodily functions in addition to their reproductive functions. Since I am not able to menstruate with my current energy expenditure and energy intake, this means I need more fuel. This means I need more energy to support all systems in my body. The solution?
I’m trying to gain weight,
And I’m totally 100% okay with it.
I think it’s pretty freaking hilarious that I’m trying to do the one thing that it seems like every woman is avoiding like the plague, but weight is so over-stigmatized anyways…but that’s a whole other post.
This is the route I have chosen to take in an effort to kick-start my period (versus my doctor’s route: pills), and I am embarking on this path of my health journey confidently, knowing that I am trusting my intuition and listening to my body, two things that I have not always been able to do and am very, very happy that I am able to now do.
So yeah not having your period sucks and it can be scary and emotional and frustrating…
But for me, it’s also extremely liberating, because I have ultimately learned how to take note of my body’s cues and act on them instead of shrugging them off. And that’s a pretty freaking awesome thing. Period.
If you have period problems or want to learn more about set point theory, head on over to Robyn’s blog: http://www.thereallife-rd.com/