It had been 15 months of non stop 40+ hour work weeks, almost entirely sleepless nights, and a to-do list that just never quite seems to slow down. I was on a steady path of putting every once of my being into the needs of my daughter, my husband, my job, my friends. I never seemed to be able to fully recharge my batteries even if I slept in, stopped working out entirely, and hid away under blankets. My brain was foggy, my productivity and my patience was withering away. Even more wild, I was starting to experience weird food allergies that I had never had before.
I looked in the mirror one morning and thought, who the heck are you, girl? You used to be energetic, powerful, sharp, and extremely productive (type A here). Now you can’t even get out of bed in the morning and all you want to eat is sugar and cry. I had become a shadow of myself.
So I went to the doctor because something was not right and I knew it. I told him I my symptoms of intense fatigue, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning and an overall feeling of blah. This was not me. I had to stop this runaway train. I use to be someone that was up at 5:30am, worked out, and raring to go for the day. Although there were occasional mood issues around pms or stress, they did not debilitate my life or my day.
Now I felt like every day was unpredictable and exhausting.
When I sat across from this older “seasoned” male doctor and described my symptoms to him, in an open, honest, and vulnerable way, I was left almost speechless at his response.
“Honey” he said, “All your symptoms don’t sound medical, they sound like a symptom of motherhood.”
My extremely expressive and uncontrollable facial expressions must have said it all. I was disgusted and shocked.
He continued on to say, he could run blood work but that it would be pointless. Maybe I should just try not to work so hard at being a mom and it would pass. If I wanted he could give me an antidepressant.
I sat there on the table, just in awe of what was said to me.
So I responded “So you mean to tell me that I just need to accept this as my new normal because I am a woman and women just need to know their role is to feel like shit?”
He was the one left speechless now.
He ultimately ran by blood work and I kindly thanked him for his absolutely useless waste of my time and left.
As I left, I felt so much emotion around the way in which it seems that we are now in place of life where women are just to ‘accept’ that feeling like crap is normal and untreatable. That somehow we ‘asked’ for it by becoming moms or putting too much on our plates. We feel like we ‘should’ do more, be ‘better’ or are not doing things ‘right.’
If you dare step out and ask about these symptoms you will receive a prescription or label both of which do not eliminate the issue, just bandage it up(and don’t misunderstand me, prescription medication absolutely has a place and is necessary for many without apology).
It was from that experience that I dove headfirst into understanding women’s hormonal health and the impact it has on our energy, our moods, our weight, our fertility, and our overall quality of life. I refused to accept that this was my new normal. I refused to ignore that the person I had been for the last 29 years was just gone.
But I will admit, this fight is not easy and can make you feel like a hypochondriac when you continue to be told ‘you’re fine.’ or ‘take this.’
But don’t give up. Don’t let them make you doubt yourself. You are the expert on your own body and there ARE solutions that I will start to chronicle for you in this space over the next few months.
But here is what I want to leave you with. If this chronic fatigue, weight issues (and other slew of issues) was actually ‘motherhood’ why do women who do not have children or women who have grown children, also struggle with intense fatigue, sadness, cravings, and weight issues? Is it just that we are women?!
No, it is because we have hormones pulsating through our bodies every single day that communicate from our brain to our organs, telling us if we are safe or not. And most days, we are all feeling ‘unsafe’ from the amount of stress we are put under.
These hormones are also responsible for regulating our hunger, our digestion, our reproduction, our libido, our breastmilk, our mood, and our energy levels.
The amazing thing is that our hormones are what set us apart from men.
These little messengers are actually incredible sources of power and vitality that are SO easily tapped into for almost no money at all and the need for medication can be reduced significantly when they are operating optimally in your body. Unfortunately, we have been told for so long that our hormones are ‘the enemy’ (pms shaming) and to just accept feeling like crap. We have somewhere along the line stopped listening to or even TRUSTING the signals they send our bodies every day.
How can you tell if you have symptoms of an underlying hormonal imbalance that doctors are failing to identify, treat, or support?
*Do you get intense PMS or ovulation pain/symptoms
*Do you have dry skin or acne
*Intense fatigue, difficulty falling asleep or difficulty waking up in the morning
*Mood swings, anxiety, depression
*Attention related issues/Brain Fog
*Food allergies or sensitivities
*Bloating, gas or stomach pain… after eating certain foods
*Cravings for Sugar or Salt immediately after eating or in the evenings
*Weight that will not budge no matter what you do exercise or food wise
We seem to think these are all ‘just part of living’ now.
But I can tell you that they do not have to be.
They are signals to your brain that something is off and needs some adjustment
Over the next few months, I am going to really open up to you all about my own experience with the symptoms I have talked about above and the way they impacted everything from my periods, to being able to get pregnant to my own postpartum journey- things I have never shared openly yet. Ironically, looking healthy and being healthy are two very different things.
If you are open to this, I would love to hear if you have experienced any of these things too.
I want you to take a minute and respond below or email me with what your #1 symptom is that has you feeling like a stranger in your own body.
Also, if you do struggle with PMS, cravings, low energy, etc. Be sure to check out my free guide that shows you how to master your cycle with the help of food and hormones, so that you can start feeling better immediately!