It’s a journey
I’d been working in women’s health for 20 years, teaching classes and workshops on pregnancy, birth and period health so it was a totally natural progression that I’d work with menopause.
Always keen on all thing ‘womby’ I began researching when I was about 38.
So here’s a quick explanation of the process. The average age for a woman’s hormones to start changing is 38. The average age for periods to stop is 53. The time between 38 and 53 is your Perimenopause. Once your bleeding has stopped for a year ( which of course you don’t know has happened until you get to a year) you’ve hit menopause. After that your postmenopausal.
It wasn’t much of a surprise but it was for sure a great disappointment to realise that the same treatment had been given to menopause as to all the profound events in a woman’s life, menstruation, pregnancy and birth. Rather than being seen as truly important experiences for women they were something to be endured, suffered even.
Diminished to a list of symptoms, medicalised and seen as something we can cure the menopause journey is viewed as a traumatic time in a women’s life at the end of which she becomes a dry, old and lets face it valueless person.
Well fuck that I thought.
I quickly did what I done with all my previous work and looked for another narrative.
I devoured books by women who told a different story. Written by doctors, yoga teachers and women from many walks of life who spoke of menopause as a journey. Sometimes tough, occasionally painful but always a time of transition and transformation. A time when as well as physical changes we will also experience mental, emotional and spiritual shifts. Like all times of transformations its a time when we’re going to need to let go of stuff in order to move forward. To shed a skin so to speak. And as we know letting go of stuff can be hard, learning what we still value and maybe what we are ready to move away from.
And then these books started to talk of life on the other side. Using words like liberation, freedom and wisdom. Talking of a deeper understanding of ourselves. Actually getting to know who they are and what they want and not just caring for others.
This version of post menopause has been echoed by the women that have come to my workshops. They speak of this time of their lives as the best!
So funnily enough, as I did with my pregnancies, birth and periods I choose the alternative narrative. I’ll take liberation over worthlessness any day.
I realise that I was unusual to be interested in the menopause journey before I even had any symptoms. But I really thank my lucky stars that I did as I’ve had time to look after myself and adjust my life style so that I’m not accentuating the difficult parts of the journey. This makes navigating the shifts much easier.
It is very unusual for a species to have a menopause. The vast majority of females are reproductive until they die (how exhausting). Some types of Whales do. Get this, research has shown that pods of whales thrive better if they include a post menopausal female. Having their wisdom to draw upon actually gives the pods a better chance of survival.
So your journey into the next part of your life is not just important for you but your wisdom is a vital part of your families and communities future well being.
So I urge to to start prioritising your well being, look at all areas of your life and make the necessary changes so that you can embrace this journey and make the most of it.
I run in person and zoom workshops with Kate Burford where we share loads of accessible ways we can ease this journey and more consciously go through our menopause. These workshops are totally suitable for everyone and at any stage in the journey.
The next one is June 5th 1pm-5pm
You can book at