There’s been a lot of negativity around menopause over the last couple of weeks, from Ulrika Jonsson saying she thought her head was going to burst to Meg Mathews spending three months feeling s*** in the house, not even bothering to wash her hair.
Now having gone through my own awful period, I’m not going to disagree that menopause can leave you feeling terrible. Nor am I going to criticise anyone for speaking out, having always said we need to talk about menopause more.
And yet, I can’t help thinking that we’re getting into menopause porn. That it’s becoming a one-upmanship: who has it worse?
(My cynical side also raises an eyebrow that these confessions are quite often followed by: “So now I’m selling XXXX to help other women…”)
Menopause can be awful. No doubt about it. It can leave you groggy, exhausted, it can affect your sleep, weight, emotions, relationships, memory – all this and more.
But the magic word there is: “can”. Not every woman will feel this way. Not every woman will suffer every symptom. And some will sail through their menopause without any problem at all.
Women need to be aware of what menopause is and how it can make you feel. Society needs to know this, too. But we certainly shouldn’t be scared of menopause nor treat it as the bogeyman.
There are many positive things to come out of this time of our lives. Honest. It’s not all doom and gloom.
Don’t believe me? Well…
No more periods
Yes, we can still have bleeding on HRT, but as we’re not releasing eggs we don’t have periods as such. For a start, with me, that means no more goo on my knickers in the middle of the month.
Plus, no more pain that would leave me doubled-over on my bed, diarrhea, break-outs, guessing games about when I’m due on.
And then, when it’s all over, I’ll be able to wear white whenever I want.
At the minute, HRT is still giving me monthly fluctuations in my moods. But once I’m through the peri-menopause, I’ll no longer have PMS blighting my life – and that of all those around me.
Whether it’s menopause or just growing older I don’t know, but I have so much more confidence than I ever had before and this is having such a huge positive impact on my life.
For the first time, I feel empowered – and it’s not just me. Lots of the women I talk to say they feel this way, too. They have found the power to do what they want and how they want it.
I’ve seen women change jobs and careers, leave relationships that weren’t working any more and embrace all that life has to offer.
It doesn’t have to be something big, neither. If someone asks me to do something or go somewhere I don’t want, I can say no much more easily than ever before.
No fear of pregnancy
And I don’t have to tell you how much fun that is, do I? (Research also indicates that the fun gets better, too.)
This is something just for us
Men don’t have this change. They may want it and talk longingly of a “male menopause”, but this is a purely female thing.
And to have this defined moment in our lives – a time that we clearly marks our life stage out – is pretty cool, actually. It’s a chance to reflect and think about who we are and what we want to leave as our legacy. That’s special.
You may be feeling low and blue now, but it won’t last. According to research, our happiness levels start to grow from the age of 55. And as we’re living longer, that means more years of being happy.
We also have greater levels of acceptance in our midlife years onwards and once the mood swings from our hormones are gone, we’re calmer.
Now that’s worth celebrating.
We’re free to do what we want
No more periods, mood swings, the confidence and self-assurance to be ourselves – it’s time to take on the world.
What positives do you see in menopause? Let me know in the comments below. If you’ve enjoyed this, please like and subscribe and share with your friends.