Menopause Journal: Am I pregnant or is it menopause?

Say it Ain't So!

I have a friend who had a chaotic childhood and attributes it to being a menopause baby. She said her mother was crazy and would lock herself in her room for days. I think I understand.

For years when I went for my yearly gynecological exam and mammogram, my doctor, who's about my age, asked if I was going through "the change." I answered, "No, at least I don't think so." The fact that I still had a monthly period seemed to say to me that I was not. Her secretary, in the same age ballpark, confided that the entire office staff was early, but everyone is different ? some women go crazy, some hardly notice. Since that time, my gynecologist has adopted a baby and left her practice, perhaps as an act of menopausal madness.

If I'm not pregnant, it might be menopause. Right on time. But isn't there supposed to be some warning? Aren't periods supposed to get irregular or trickle down, or something?

My mother never said much about menopause. She was always too busy taking care of us kids and teaching violin. She'd had a hysterectomy so maybe she didn't have menopause. I'll have to ask her. All I can remember about that time was my dad seeming a little melancholy about no more babies. My god, what will my mother say if I'm pregnant?

I can't be pregnant. My children are in their early 20s. What would they say? They'd have to face the fact that I've had sexual relations since their conceptions. And, worse yet, I'd be almost 70 when the new kid graduates from high school. What an embarrassment I'd be.

But for some reason I don't want to do a pregnancy test. I don't want to know that I'm pregnant, but I'm also not sure that I want to know I'm not. It's not that I enjoy having my period, but it's such a reassuring signal. It's a signal that I'm not pregnant, but also a signal that I'm not over the hill.

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