Motherhood and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea

Oh, I know. You think that since having kids is not on your radar that you can swipe left on this one. Guess what. I actually wrote this for you. Of course, I’ve got some words for the ladies who are totally here for this topic also, so pull up a chair and get cozy. Probably grab an adult beverage and hang on tight, because we are going to go there.

Let’s start easy. Welcome, to you, women of childbearing age who want kids. You have either recently gotten engaged or married, recently realized that you’re born with a finite number of eggs and the clock is ticking, or recently noticed that every infant seems to be staring directly into your eyeballs...pulling you in with its adorable tractor beam of shmoopie baby cuteness...asking a question with no words… “Don’t you want one...just like me??”  

For you, the remedy is clear. I didn’t say it was easy, just clear. Delete MyFitnessPal and Strava. Get off,, and Get on self care, mindfulness, cookie baking, and couches. If you’re reading this blog, you know the drill: eat more, exercise less.

Your biggest challenge is not to be a cruel bitch to yourself when you get pregnant and grow or when you have your baby and want to obsess about what you used to look like/be able to do...but that’s a different blog.

Let’s move on to the next group: Women that too young to have children. In the same way that you can’t conceptualize taking your final exams just as the semester has begun, you can’t even imagine the idea of giving birth to another human. How do you know you want to have kids when you can’t even decide on your Starbucks order? Here’s the deal, young ones: getting your period back is not for your future children in your future life of future adultness. It’s for YOU, right now.

Getting your period back is for you, right now, because you need to be able to think straight as you study, learn, and grow into your best self and cognitive function declines in women with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA).  It’s for you, right now, because women with HA have more stress and mental illness, but less coping ability than women who get a period. It’s for you, right now, because you only get one set of bones in this life and every month that goes by with non-functioning hormones makes them that much more likely to shatter into pieces. It’s for you, right now, because low estrogen means increased chances of coronary artery disease and women with no period are at the top of the list for heart attacks. Young ladies, I don’t care if you ever become a mother. I do care if you don’t ever become YOU.

(Yes, I have the receipts for all of this. Email me if you want proof.)

Next up: Women who are absolutely sure they don’t want to have children. You’re my favorite, because I am you...sorry to be biased. Of course, all of the previous scary stats apply to you, but you get an added bonus of me calling you out.

Let’s get into this. Tell me you’ve never said (even just to yourself) any of the following:

  • What does it matter that I don’t get a period? I’m free to beat the crap out of this body any way I want since it only belongs to me.

  • Thank god I never have to stop training/ruin my progress/destroy my body like women who want to have children do.

  • She used to be a podium finisher until she had a baby. Ugh. This is why.

  • I don’t think I can have children because I must have some kind of special medical issue which results in my not getting a period.

  • They want me to have a period so I can be fat and fertile like the rest of them...well, fuck that.

  • I have a special edge that women who get their period/have maternal instincts don’t have.

  • I don’t even like men, WTF do I need to be a baby-maker for?

  • If I get a period, it means I gave up my anti-breeder principles.

Are you shocked? Are you mad? You should yourself. Every one of the above statements says more about whatever underlying issue you have than it says about “motherhood”. Do not confuse your lack of desire for children with your lack of desire to maintain hormone health. One of them is totally OK and the other one is totally NOT OK. They are mutually exclusive concepts and you do yourself a great disservice thinking that it is all the same damned thing.

Beat the crap out of yourself? You’re probably punishing yourself for something that you don’t want to admit. Afraid to “lose your edge”? You’re probably insecure and hiding it in your sport. I could go on, but I won’t because whether it means you haven’t figured out what your value is, or you haven’t worked out your issues with your own mother/father/caregiver, or you’re jealous and scared, or you haven’t accepted your life choices/sexuality/values, quite need to work on your shit.

I had to do it too. If my brain was a backyard, this concept was the bulky, tarp-covered heap in the corner that I had hoped would be swallowed up by the earth around it. I had to look up under there and see what mess was lurking and holding me back. I had to ask myself A LOT of hard questions, but in the end...this one lit the fire under my butt: How do you think you’re going to live this carefree, fabulous life if you’re stooped over like a hunchback, can’t think straight, or having open heart surgery?

Here’s the thing...If you are not doing your best to get your period back, you are not reaffirming your views on are reaffirming your dislike for yourself. You are waving the flag for self hate, ignorance, and poor judgement. Children have nothing to do with this.

Instead of hiding behind this issue, I urge you to take the time to think deeply about holding yourself up to a new light. Remember that you are worth every second of hard work it takes to achieve health. You must value your body and all of the work that it does for you. You must value your future enough to be healthy as you walk into it.

For all women: Your value has nothing to do with whether or not you have children. As a woman who does not have kids, I still think that my friends who do have kids are nothing short of magical. However, I know I have my own special brand of magic too. I am 100% certain that taking care of myself has helped me find it. Whether your magic grows in your belly, your heart, or’s out there. Go get it.