To experience the menopause is to undergo a huge shift – it’s not called ‘the change’ for nothing.
In our society we are usually expected to embrace change and the new opportunities it presents. To do this at menopause, I think it’s important to look at what is really going on for us at this time.
Homeopathy and other holistic medical practices tell us that symptoms are an indication that our body is trying to give us a message, the only way it can. The meaning isn’t always clear immediately, but for many women the menopause is when we must face up to things we haven’t had the time or the inclination to do so.
For most of us, the preceding years have been taken up with things other than ourselves – the responsibilities of a career, a partner, children or perhaps all three.
We are great problem-solvers and planners, always thinking of other people. Long gone are the teenage years, only capable of our own world view. We may have even forgotten what own world view is! Or at least we know it’s changed, but we haven’t sat with it long enough lately to be familiar with it.
And now your body seems to have gone into revolt – what’s going on?
Hot flushes, night sweats or power surges as they are called in the USA are common at this point. I think that term gives us all something to think about – why are we getting power surges? That’s not what you’d expect if we are about to shuffle off into obscurity. So what’s going on?
Symptoms as insistent and bothersome as hot flushes are there to get your attention. A careful diet, natural remedies or HRT will help relieve the symptoms but we need to take time to consider what is happening, and why it is happening now.
Perhaps your body is telling you that you really need to focus on is what’s going on?
Time to get things sorted
Maybe it’s that job you’ve done because you loved it at the beginning and then you just needed the money, and now you hate it. Working at something that no longer fits with your values is very bad for your health.
Perhaps you had a passion for a particular career, but you were discouraged from pursuing it, as ‘too risky’ or ‘no job for a girl’. This is a story many of the clients I see for menopausal difficulties tell me.
Maybe it’s a hobby you know is really important to you, but you haven’t had the time to pursue it for years…
Or, after so many years of caring for others ,you just want more space to think for yourself and do your own thing. Why can’t your teenage children and perfectly capable partner fix meals for themselves once in a while?
And here’s the real biggie – maybe the time has come to renegotiate aspects of your relationship with your partner.
How are you going to help each other through the roles that are changing for both of you? It can require savage honesty – not to mention a good dollop of humour – to talk about what you both really want now.
Menopause presents us with the opportunity to face unresolved issues in our life. Picture the hot flushes as a red light to galvanise you into action.
Start thinking about how you want your life to be, and making choices so that, little by little, you can make those things happen. Part of my vision is having a house by sea one day. For now, I make sure I get to the sea as often as I possibly can, for the benefits I always get from those sounds and that smell. I’ve even found a soap that smells like the sea, which means I can have that sensation every day!
This time in our life is for caring for our physical well-being, but just as important is our emotional health. Back in 1992, Gail Sheehy wrote a book (possibly the first book) to look honestly at menopause and its impact for women. It’s called The Silent Passage. The chapter Emptying and Refilling is a moving account of the need to replenish ourselves, to refill ourselves with what nourishes us.
I work with women through the menopause, to help them be more in control of their physical symptoms. My experience as a homeopath, as well as my personal experience, has taught me how remedies can help us gently find a new state of balance in our bodies. But I always stress that there are choices. You may choose to use homeopathy or nutrition or HRT. Once you find what’s right for you and start to feel better, use the opportunity you have to forge the next phase of your life.
We are living post-menopausally for longer than any other women in history. We are a whole new generation of wise women: entrepreneurs, artists, businesswomen. Let’s gift that to the world that needs our wisdom so badly!
A new pleasure for me in the last few years has been writing poetry. Here is a poem dedicated to wise women everywhere:
The Last Stage of Flowering is Most Glorious
Flowers and women and seasons
The setting sun warms us more strongly
Its strength in unexpectedness
We live in splendid inexorable decline
Glory in the moments of our own wild wisdom.
Beauty is written close on our faces,
In place of youth’s illiterate gaze