Menopause is sometimes challenging. The symptoms, the unknown, the constant changing of goal posts. It's enough to drive us totally bonkers. There are plenty of stories out there of how horrendous the journey can be, but because it's the month of love, let's disrupt that narrative.
I want to invite you to look at your menopause and body in a positive light, even if it's just a little glow in the dark.
Love your menopause this Valentine’s
The hormone imbalance, the plethora of symptoms, the weight gain, the menopause journey is different for every woman, and can be full of contradictions. There’s plenty to loathe about menopause, but let's take a minute to find some silver linings.
“I see menopause as the start of the next fabulous phase of life as a woman. Now is a time to “tune in” to our bodies and embrace this new chapter. If anything, I feel more myself and I love my body more now than ever before.”
No more periods – well unless you suddenly start them again at 50 like me! Let's face it periods are a pain, even if yours are or were a breeze, it’s so liberating to have one less thing to think about. Plus, we get to save those pennies on pads and tampons, and no longer have to worry about ruining our favourite undies!
No more PMS – (Ok, so this gets replaced by menopause mood swings, but they won't last forever!)
No more contraception, but still remember to be careful
Increased sex drive – I can vouch for that 😉
“Experts will tell you that declining hormones could mean you’ll want it less, but that isn’t necessarily so. Desire, once quelled by birth control pills, could resurge, says Dr. Richards. And if desire is a problem, proper hormone management can help, she says. While long-term use of traditional hormone replacement therapies, which include estrogen and progestin, are no longer recommended due to the heart and health risks, there are other options. Hormone therapies that include testosterone are being explored as a way to boost libido, says Dr. Richards.” Source.
If you are struggling with your libido, Samantha Evans of Jo Divine has some suggestions;
“From that morning kiss, sharing a cheeky text when you are at work, enjoying a meal together later in the day and cuddling up on the sofa, there are so many ways to remain intimate even when penetrative sex is off the cards.”
In her new book, Meg Matthews identified these meno-positives:
- Many women get a massive rush of energy and enthusiasm for life postmenopause.
- Fibroids shrink and often get better. Endometriosis also disappears.
- Some migraine sufferers find their headaches stop.
- You’re still only at the halfway point of your life – the best is yet to come.
- It’s a great excuse to take stock and make sure you’re happy and make any changes if you’re not (you can always blame your hormones).
- Exercise works better now – you actually burn more fat doing it than you did before.
- Getting through the bad days makes you realise you can do anything. Those bad days are only temporary – and you can get help for them.
- This new phase of life can strengthen your relationship and improve your sex life if you start to talk more.
- You realise you need to put yourself first – we don’t do that enough.'
Give your body a break, and just make more (metaphorical) toast!
Our bodies change, and there has to be a certain amount of acceptance, and love there. We are not going to look 20, 30 or even 40 forever. Despite our culture and society holding youth as the epitome of beauty, we are beginning to wake up to the beauty of age and the wisdom that goes hand in hand with it. Reality is we probably won't wake up in the morning, admiring the image in the mirror before getting on with our day. Loving your body during menopause means treating yourself gently and avoiding any negative self-talk. Here are some ways you can show your body some love and change the script for yourself:
Your body is changing, just as it did during puberty, just as it did during pregnancy if you went on that journey. Now it’s changing again but unlike puberty or pregnancy, there is no education, and societal taboos have meant we haven’t spoken to our mothers and grandmothers about it either. There are great resources out there to help you understand, like Gen-M – an online community for women.
Your hormones will change, your body will change. What worked in your 20’s and 30’s most likely will not now due to fluctuating hormones. Be mindful, listen to your body, don’t push it too hard and flood your system with cortisol. Listen to your body and speak to a menopause specialist if you are worried.
Focus on self love and self care, give yourself some patience.
“I love how I found calm in the craziness of my menopause! I used to worry about worrying! Now if I burn the toast, I just make more toast”
Maria Giles, Facebook User
Love your menopause: Watch, Read, Do!
Here are a few handpicked (non affiliated) things you can do to rethink your menopause:
This great Ted Talk by Dr Karen Adams, addresses menopause and the importance of good sleep and good sex.
I'm currently reading this and loving her fresh take and voice on the menopause; The New Hot: Taking on the Menopause with Attitude and Style:
"Brutally honest, eye-wateringly detailed, funny, informative and crammed with practical advice ... compelling, essential reading."
"I want to break down the taboos and communicate frankly about the menopause ... This book is about giving you the knowledge of what to look out for and how to own it."
Happy Valentines day to all you amazing women
Lots of love