It’s going to happen
It’s happened to women down the ages. And in a world that gives us control over so much, we don’t get to chose this.
Menopause can feel like an interloper — an invader even. We don’t invite it in, but it happens anyway. The thing is it doesn’t happen to our body. It is what our body does. And you can’t fight your own body. Not without sending your whole body and mind into conflict and firing off all your fight or flight responses.
We can take HRT — and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the benefits of that particular treatment far outweigh the risks. But that doesn’t replace our lost hormones. It doesn’t put our bodies back to where they were. It treats our symptoms — often very effectively.
We are growing older
Perimenopause can take a decade. Why would we be the same when it ends as when it starts? We weren’t the same at thirty as we were at twenty. And we were probably glad we weren’t. Because we also keep on learning and growing.
There are all sorts of emotional and social reasons why women might not want to accept growing older, but it happens anyway. And it comes with advantages as well as disadvantages. We do grow wiser. We do understand our own priorities better. We do have a tendency to become more assertive.
The way we feel about it makes a difference
Research shows us that menopause symptoms are worse if we are unhappy about it — especially if we are dissatisfied with our lives or feel our families are incomplete. I was one of those people. Perimenopause crept up on me in the night and stole away my last chances of having children.
Except perimenopause didn’t do anything to me. My body just began to change as it always would. It took me a long time to accept perimenopause. I kicked and I screamed. But once I did — and it took work — my body, my mind and my life felt a lot better for it!
None of which means it’s easy
Perimenopause in particular can be a hormonally chaotic time and our bodies and brains struggle to respond to the fluctuating levels of oestrogen and progesterone.
And even though things often settle after menopause, we will have to take care of our post-menopausal bodies and brains for the rest of our lives. But we need to free up our energy to do so — and acceptance helps that too.
It’s ok in the end
There are so many things that can help. Both medically and in your life and lifestyle choices. In the end you will find what’s right for you.
And this is a transition. And you do come out of the other side. Not necessarily right at the point when your period end, but usually within the next couple of years. And letting go of the concerns of perimenopause seems to enable that to happen more easily.
Many women find menopause to be liberating and post-menopause to be a joyful, active, creative time of life. That’s partly circumstantial — we may reach a time when we have less commitments and less dependants. But it’s partly because our female hormones have a tendency to make us more co-operative than is in our own interests.
The world needs more inconvenient women
We have a different role in this next stage of our lives. Like the grandmother orcas or the matriarchal elephant our tribes need us for something different. That role is different for each of us. But with our wisdom and strength, we find it.