Whether menopausal symptoms are a minor annoyance or a major issue, they are part of a life chapter that midlife women should learn to embrace. Despite all of the sad stories, sexist and ageist stereotypes – including aggressive marketing of personal care products we allegedly couldn’t live without- for many of us, menopause is kind of okay and sometimes much worse in our mind than in real life.
“I believe menopause is a wonderful part of being a woman and I invite other women to reframe their menopause experience into something positive and celebratory, even if challenging because the alternative is to be a man – explains Dr Nicola Gates a clinical neuropsychologist and author of the book, The Feel Good Guide to Menopause-. By only seeing the difficult discomforts of menopause women are playing into the medical, male-dominated view of women’s health that we are cursed. Flip it. Embrace yourself. Make menopause a time of rejuvenation, growth, and expansion. Menopause marks a major transition and heralds a new autonomy for women so make it work“.
Menopause is normal, not a disease, and it doesn’t have to be anything to be scared about. While it’s true that menopause can be uncomfortable — and it requires you to be extra vigilant about your health as symptom varies widely from woman to woman —it’s certainly a rite of passage as a woman, a time of reflection and a good time to take stock of your life.
“Pause before you medicate or replace hormones without first identifying or addressing the underlying cause of your distress – recommends Dr Gates-. It might not be due to hormonal loss: it could be the need to improve your relationship, to learn how to care for yourself and develop a healthy lifestyle, or to develop a positive mindstyle“.
It’s only by focusing on the positive aspects of menopause that we can make the best of this valuable transition in our lives. It’s not all bad and there are definitely good parts to consider. Not least of all the fact you no longer have to put up with the PMT and the messy business of having a period, also you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant and you could even be surprised about a new surge in sexual desire. Many women who have spent a long time fearing menopause actually discover that once they’ve experienced it – also with the help of the treatments available to help the symptoms– they no longer feel that sense of fear and dread and that they actually feel empowered.
Life transitions are excellent opportunities to recognize what past experiences you’re grateful for and what future endeavours you can look forward to.
As Dominique Fradin-Read, a board-certified medical doctor in preventive medicine remarks: “The ideas that we have about menopause as a culture, can impact our experience of this transition. I have travelled to other cultures, such as Senegal, where there is no stigma attached to the process of menopause. In the West, menopause has negative connotations. I think we can change that. We can view menopause not as the end of something but as a beginning”.