Our childbearing years are brief. Fertility, which typically ends in a woman’s early 50s, occupies just over half of a woman’s life. Postmenopause she may have 30 or 40 years in which to do something else, something meaningful.
Until recently the male-dominated medical community has been dismissive. “The unpalatable truth must be faced that all postmenopausal women are castrates,” opined the gynaecologist Robert Wilson, who elaborated on this theme in his 1966 bestseller, Feminine Forever. The influential book, it later emerged, was backed by a pharmaceutical company eager to market hormone-replacement therapy.
Even now it’s hard for a woman not to dread the consequences of moving out of youth. Many women feel that they’ve become invisible now that they don’t have reproductive viability. Although things are changing in the way that women are represented in public life and more inclusion of older images, there is still a dominant conversation around anti-ageing. Often women spend early middle age constrained by work-life challenges, stressed, and even struggling with adrenal fatigue which means they often lack the bandwidth required to go through menopause optimally.
Some women experience few symptoms during menopause, but for many it is complicated and the negative physiological effects are a big deal. Made more difficult by a lack of reliable information on what to expect in menopause, especially proportionate to the scale of the population affected, leading to a lack of physical and psychological preparedness.
All of this is further compounded by poor education for clinicians who are seen as the first responders to those seeking help for their menopause symptoms. Although medication can be helpful every woman is entitled to her own response to managing menopause.
I deeply believe that having a plan for the transition: including nutrition, movement, joy, creativity, fun, hobbies, relationships, and carving out time for reflection and rest is hugely important. Setting your intention for a positive menopause with such a plan in place can help you to make choices that support your wellbeing and quality of life.
Women have a different life trajectory than men, and the place of menopause in it is liberating. This can be a transformational time in a woman’s life. We can gain powerful insights when we view menopause as a gateway into a new meaningful phase of women’s lives not just about symptoms and decline.
Sharing our stories in a frank, honest, insightful way, and sometimes with humour, encourages all of us to love our bodies, own our sovereignty and harness our feminine power for the greatness of self, and encourages humanity to transform how menopause is seen and understood the world over.
Once postmenopausal, women no longer have to observe strict gender roles. They can emerge as the wise woman, the woman who has had two-thirds of their life to collect a lot of information and build some big deposits into the wisdom bank. They are now able to guide and influence the younger generation. And as the cohort of women in their sixth and seventh decades of life with a surfeit of energy and workplace experience grows older, role models exemplify what it really looks like to age well: PRETTY FREAKING GREAT.
Clarissa Kristjansson Ph.D. is an internationally recognised menopause educator and certified mindfulness practitioner. She is widely regarded as the go-to source for the holistic health aspects of menopause. A neuroscientist and former corporate leader in 2013 Clarissa suffered from anxiety and panic attacks during her own perimenopause that set her on a different path. Clarissa speaks worldwide on the positive and transformative nature of this life transition. She is the host of the popular Thriving Thru Menopause podcast and author of the bestseller The Mindful Menopause. Her second book, “The Potent Power of Menopause: A Globally Diverse Perspective of Feminine Transformation,” was published in May 2022.
Buy the Book https://geni.us/menopause
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