Day 24 (Week 4)
File under: clumsy//snacky//hangry//sloth
Current theme song:
It’s been a long time since I posted one of these, but (among other things) I’ve been a bit busy having a baby and raising said baby and that’s a long story — like 16 months long! For those who read my post about being pregnant and missing having my period, I’m happy to report that my cycle has indeed returned postpartum. My cycle even sort of returned before I got my period, I’d say about eight months before. (The old familiar waves of emotions, moods, energy levels and bodily aches came back about two-ish months after giving birth. I call this my “ghost cycle” and if that is ringing any bells for you, stay tuned because I’m working on a “ghost cycle” post…again for like, say 14 months now…so far).
Now that I’m about to begin my seventh period bleed postpartum, things are pretty much back to the old rhythm, meaning my premenstrual days are back to sleeping like crap, having lots of lucid dreams and maintaining an insatiable appetite that is not unlike a chasm of which there is no bottom. Give me all the foods.
But I suppose I can’t complain. I’ve heard that, for some, periods after baby can be a lot more intense, namely the PMS and cramps. However, for me, I’ve actually had less painful cramping and lighter periods than pre-baby, and as for PMS, well, OK, that’s pretty much about the same, maybe even slightly more enhanced by the many challenges of being a new mom. For instance, I’ve had to dig really deep to find extra patience for a budding toddler at the peak of my typical Week 3 increasing clumsiness, brain fog and overall heightened sensitivity. In other words, zero patience. But as I’ve learned, life is a lot harder with a little when you have zero patience. So, somehow, you find it.
But anyway, enough about Week 3, I’m talking and experiencing Week 4 here. Just hovering on that precipice of periodland. With a kiddo (and other adulting) I can’t just pull the covers over my head and stay in bed all day, which is exactly what I prefer to be doing. I’m normally a more introverted person, but during Week 4, all of that high energy, strength and built-up confidence from Week 2 that makes me think I have even a shred of extrovert collapses into a pile of Netflix-watching, cat-snuggling Jell-O. Yes, I’d prefer to hang out with my cats than attend social engagements. (#catlady…now you know too much.)
This isn’t just me though. This is science. I can point to an estrogen crash as the catalyst for my sudden desire to hide under a rock until the big hormone drop and the sweet mercy of Cycle Day 1.
Not sure why you’re suddenly cancelling appointments to veg out and watch Fuller House? (Or literally anything because that’s better than the prospect of stepping out your door right now.) Don’t beat yourself up about it. This handy “cheat sheet” from Gabrielle Lichterman will help clear up a few things.
New readers please note:
The Cycledork Chronicles are based on my 4-week menstrual cycle pattern that lasts around 29 days on average (note: I do not use hormonal birth control). I’ve been keeping track of my cycle for years (even before apps!) and because of this I’ve uncovered patterns that have helped me better navigate my life and become a kinder friend to my body, my mind and my period. An expert I am not, except of my own body and cycle experiences. My hope is that some of you might be able to relate, celebrate, or commiserate. Or at least get a good laugh as I chronicle my ladyhood. For me, the more I learn about my own body and cycle, the healthier, happier and more empowered I feel. I hope you do, too. (Learn more about charting and the Fertility Awareness Method here.)
I welcome any and all thoughts in the comments!
Want to better understand your cycle hormones? Read this: Back To The Basics: What Is a Menstrual Cycle?