I was truly inspired after reading the blog My Reincarnation through the Menopause by Susan Lee. I couldn’t agree more that there is definitely a life afterwards, and that older women are not ‘over the hill’, or ‘invisible’!
I am a woman of 61, and I went through the menopause about 9 years ago at aged 52. I am married and had my 2 children in my 30s. In my 40s I was very curious to know what to expect from both a physical and emotional standpoint, it seemed a rather bleak outlook with nothing much to look forward to after ‘The Change’. I even went to a conference on menopause with experts speaking on different topics, like HRT, and I reflected to myself asking, “Isn’t menopause just a natural and normal event in a woman’s reproductive cycle and not a disease?”
In my late 40s my body was preparing for menopause, or peri-menopause and I started having extremely heavy periods, which was a bit disconcerting, especially as before I had irregular; light or scanty periods. I felt I was going to be anaemic as I lost so much blood. I eventually went to a gynaecologist and she advised a D & C (dilation and curettage) procedure, which removes the excess lining in the womb that had built up due to hormones being out of balance. It was successful, in that my periods were no longer heavy. My periods eventually stopped completely when I was aged 52. It was a gradual process and hardly noticeable. I didn’t get any hot flushes by day, just night sweats, but they were quite bearable.
Becoming Deeper Aware of My Body and its Cycles
It’s generally medically advised that it’s a year without a period before you are considered ‘post menopausal’. It’s then on to the next phase in life which means amongst many other things…‘freedom from any more periods!’ Although I didn’t appreciate them when I was younger, from using a great App called Our Cycles, I can see now, what a blessing periods really are, and how they can help to tune us in to what’s going on in the body. Our Cycles app helps all women whether they have a period or not, and being post-menopausal I use the App’s ‘full-moon cycle’ to track my moods and any symptoms during the month – full moon to full moon. Used consistently, it’s an amazing tool as you can start to see any recurring patterns, which is very helpful in motivating yourself towards making new choices that support you as a woman. I am equally supported by the transformative Women’s Groups in London presented by Sara Williams plus also go to a lovely menopause group (in Sandhurst, Surrey) where we share our experiences of life as women.
Listening to My Body’s Own Wisdom
Now I’m learning to really listen to my body, its cycles, rhythms, and in this its own wisdom. These days I’m more aware of not letting things outside of myself dictate what I should do; am learning to trust myself so much more and also knowing what’s right for me.
Practical self-care activities I love, include:
- Going for a walk first thing, sometimes 40 minutes in the country park, sometimes 20 minutes, depending on how much time I have and how I am feeling. I walk with more awareness of my body, for example noticing how my feet are coming into contact with the ground. I love nature and enjoy walking and being aware of my surroundings.
- Practicing Esoteric Yoga which supports being in deeper connection and stillness with your body, and also a new fun exercise class called True Movement presented by Curtis and Natalie Benhayon, with the emphasis on being in connection with yourself, every move or step you make.
- Meditating for 10 minutes in the morning and evening. This is a gentle breath meditation that I find really supportive in connecting to myself.
- Taking time to cook and enjoy my meals. Avoiding gluten, dairy and refined sugars supports in feeling great in the body and plus it’s also helped me to lose weight naturally – today I have more nourishing soups, stews and vegetables instead.
- Drinking around 8 glasses of filtered water a day. When out and about I always take a bottle of water with me; drink herbal tea, and avoid alcohol completely.
- Going to bed when my body says it’s tired! Generally this is 9.30pm and sometimes earlier. This has been one of the biggest changes for me, as before I’d often fall asleep on the sofa in front of the TV at night rather than go up to bed. I’m also up earlier as well, which means more time in the morning. And if tired in the afternoon then a short nap, or some writing in my diary feels great.
- Leaving more space in my diary for spontaneous activities, as well as work, rather than cramming it full just for the sake of being busy. This gives me more time for my own priorities rather than trying to please others!
Acceptance of Who I Am – as I am is my empowerment
I still have my issues like everyone else, though have stopped worrying as much about ‘getting older’ and no longer try to fit into a stereotype of what I should look like or be doing ‘at my age’. I’ve discovered that by really looking after myself I’ve got more energy and vitality. I also feel younger and enjoy more freedom – it’s so empowering knowing that it is all down to me through every choice I make.
Being gentle and in-tune with my body has allowed me to have more self-confidence and also a moment to stop and appreciate the innate stillness I can feel is there. And best of all, I am discovering that how I live and the loving choices I make affect not just myself, but also everyone around me in a very positive and beneficial way!
by Sue Goodson Lightwater, UK