I’d like to believe I live in harmony with my body. I’d like to tell you about the wonders of herbal tea and yoga and how connected I am to the phases of the moon. But it would be a load of crap. Don’t get me wrong. I chart my cycle (sorta) and I really, really tried to have a natural birth before my two epidurals. I know some gentle stretching and breathing exercises can do a body good, but I also need a little edge to keep up with my life. That means a healthy amount of caffeine, not always enough sleep, and a somewhat less-than-perfect diet. (Believe me, I’m living like a monk compared with my pre-motherhood days.) So maybe I have it coming.
But I was under the impression that menstrual cramps are a thing of the past once you have a kid. All that housing of a baby for nine months and then expelling it through a series of intense contractions is supposed to get your uterus in tip top shape. Your monthly shedding should be a cake walk for any uterus worth its salt. Instead, I’m popping Advils to keep the cramps at bay three days into this, my third post-partum period. (Yeah, okay, I did have 15 period-free months first. I can’t complain about that.) The Mayo Clinic distinguishes between primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary is your basic period cramp, and that should diminish with age and childbirth. Secondary indicates something wrong with your plumbing (ie. endometriosis, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or uterine fibroids or polyps) and can strike at any age. I’m not really concerned. These cramps are probably less severe than they were and are easily masked with ibuprofen. I’ll mention them at my upcoming check up, but I don’t expect there’s anything wrong. Still, I had hoped they were vanquished altogether.
(Photo courtesy of Herodoto.)