Menopause, Welcome!

puberty- hormornal changeBeing born female, you know a few things that will most certainly happen in your life, you just don't exactly when they will happen. Somewhere in your early teens, you will go and buy your first bra and your monthly cycle kicks in. You experience the first hormonal roller coasters and your body transforms from being a girl into being a women and a potential mother. Somehow, more or less, you get used to the monthly ups and downs. The second hormonal turnaround comes with pregnancy and then again after giving birth. Most of us at our age have gone through these changes. And then comes a time when our bodies signal us that we have done a great job at being (potential) mothers and that it is now time for a new chapter in our lives.

Menopause, welcome!

It is now time to be you again! "Hmm… how, do I do that? Who am I anyway?", you might wonder.

Do you find yourself at a place in your life where you feel stuck in your tracks? Do you keep wondering if there shouldn’t be more to life than ‘this’? You might think that your life is kinda okay and you should be content with and grateful of what you have. After all, you’ve got a place to live; you have a job that you like (or not); you have a spouse or partner (or not), and your kids have left the nest. With the kids gone, you now have more time for yourself, right? What are you doing with this time? What was it again that you have been longing to be able to do for so long?

And … there is this little voice inside that has been getting louder and louder these past years or months. Something inside that is asking you for more, a part of you that wants to get rid of the old routine, wants to step into the light and shine. That caterpillar inside you that thinks it’s time for her to break out of the cocoon and become the beautiful butterfly that you are, and fly and play in the sunshine. Yes, you would love to do that, it is so tempting. If only you knew how to go about it. If only you knew what it was that you wanted to do. If only you could remember your dreams. If only you knew where and how to get started…

And then there is this thing, this awful and annoying thing called menopause. These mood swings, lack of energy and hot flashes that you have to deal with. You are wondering how long this will take. Does this sound anything like you? Because this is exactly how I felt. As a single mother of two kids and being self-employed all of my divorced life, all my energy and passion that I put into my life and the business was mainly in order to care for the well-being of my children. After both had moved out, all my energy and purpose had gone with them. No matter how hard I was looking, I just could not find any passion left inside of me.

But instead, menopause had arrived, decided to stay for a while and drained my batteries completely. I remember, that around November of last year, I spent whole afternoons on the couch, and yes sometimes even days, doing nothing else than watching Martha Stewart baking one delicious cake after the other, or Jamie Oliver throwing together a gorgeous Christmas menu for his family and friends. And even though I did feel a little guilty about lazing around, thinking that I’d better get some work done, I just couldn’t get up and do it. I had no energy, it was just impossible. And the same holds true for any activities in the bedroom later at night. I couldn’t be bothered. Just leave me alone, go away.

Menopause is a natural process that we have to go through

menopause-welcome-bedroomFunny enough, the other day I was watching Kelsey Humphreys interviewing Barbara Corcoran. When asked about her hobbies, Barbara said that one of them was ‘avoiding sex’. This really made me laugh and think back how I had felt. How about you, can you relate, too? I definitely felt some kind of bonding. Her answer told me that I was not alone in this, that nothing had been wrong with me. And that was a good feeling. Isn’t it amazing how it helps to find out that others have to go through the same pains? Even though it doesn’t change our own situation, it still shows us that there is the hope of getting through this, whatever the challenge might be.

So why would we want to welcome Menopause? Yes, it is true that it is not nice to suffer from all the symptoms that come along with this turning-point in our lives. Because that’s what it really is, a turning point.

On one occasion, I met a woman in perimenopause in her mid forties who had already been suffering from severe hot flashes for more than five years at that time. Another woman in her fifties, Elizabeth from the UK, told me in an interview that she had simply made up her mind and decided that she was not going to have any of ‘that’. In other words, she was refusing to put up with symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes and the like. She was determined that menopause was not going to be a big deal for her and interestingly that was exactly what she experienced. This shows the power of our minds again.

What are the benefits of Menopause?

So, leaving behind the struggle and unpleasant side effects (to put it mildly), what are the benefits of this shift in our female lives? In my opinion, it is the change of our self-awareness that this transformation brings along, well, if you allow it.

My own transformation happened in stages. First, I didn’t know what was going on, what was 'wrong' with me all of a sudden, and I didn’t like at all who I had turned into, this weak little something.

The second stage was surrender. I just gave up fighting against it and went with the flow instead. That took a number of months and a few more little fights and surrenders along the way that were caused by the break-up of my relationship.

But the last stage really was a revelation, victory. I found what I had been looking for all my life. I found myself.

butterfly-menopause-welcomeIn hindsight, I am happy that I went with the signals that my body gave me and that I really took the time to unwind and fully recharge my batteries. Menopause forced me to change my ways and my mindset, too. I went with the natural flow. I let go of the need to find an answer and had faith in the process. Fast forward nine months my life has changed completely. Step by step I have found my passion and my energy back. I believe that I was able to find back to myself because of going through all of these hiccups in my recent life. Today I now know exactly who I am, who I am aspiring to become, what I want and what I don’t want, how I want my life to be and with whom I want to spend it. I believe that menopause is a natural process of initiation. At this age we enter the circle of the wise women.

Welcome to the club!

P.S.: If you are still going through menopause or perimenopause, you will find a lot of information on the topic of menopause on the homepage of the North American Menopause Society

And I also recommend my dear collegue Pam Lob in the UK. In this link you can download the first chapter of her book 'Beyond hot and crazy'.

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