I recently became aware how the ideals of motherhood and related beliefs have an enormous longevity and persistence in women and girls of all ages, and can even affect how we enter and experience menopause.
I have observed girls and women from ages 12 to 50 make the possibility and reality of motherhood the focus of their lives: their sole purpose of being a woman. The number of women seeking fertility treatments has skyrocketed over the last two decades as the desire, and often desperation, to have a child kicks in, with the promise of motherhood and a complete family. In truth, and perhaps, surprisingly, this motherhood ideal continues after menopause.
Is it possible that this ideal continues from birth to the grave? And why would it be so tenacious in its grip on women of all ages, including those entering menopause?
Reputable sources for women’s health present definitions of menopause which centre on the cessation and absence of menstruation.(1,2) If we equate womanliness solely with motherhood, we enter menopause in the desperation and futility of no longer being a full woman because we are unable to fulfil this ideal. As women, we are gone, and menopause, ‘the change of life,’ is responsible for our diminished public status and self-concept.
What if menopause is not solely the cessation of menstruation and the end of one’s vocation as a mother?
What if it is also the start of something else? Something grand, glorious and divinely beautiful?
Reflecting on both myself and other women, I have observed that there are many ideals and beliefs that affect how we feel about ourselves as we enter menopause. The triad of idealism and belief I found operating within me was that of motherhood, combined with the cult of youthfulness, as well as the concept of our finite existence as a human being: that we end – permanently!
This inhibits our discerning of even the possibility of there being something glorious and deeply womanly which starts when we begin menopause.
Simply seeing these ideals and beliefs for what they are – impositions from outside of us – allows us to feel what is truly happening behind the idealism.
One does not have to look too deeply to see that we, as a society, are obsessed with maintaining a physically youthful appearance. The survival of the facially fittest is alive and well and embedded in so many women’s magazines, where every wrinkle or laughter line is a betrayal of this idealistic grail. The possibility of ageing gracefully during and after menopause is not a consideration.
The third corner of the triad I observed in operation was that of the belief in a finite existence – we are here as human beings to eke out our ‘3 score years and ten,’ maybe a little more if you have private health insurance and good genes, and then, that’s it: curtains, farewell, my friend, goodnight.
Menopause is a ‘symptom’ of our eventual demise: first our facial fitness goes, followed by the ability to reproduce, to conceive a child and be a mother, and finally our ability to breathe!!
This, we are led to believe, is the way it is, and it is all ‘completely natural.’ But what if there is another way?
Another way: Discarding the Ideals and Discovering True Beauty
What if we have been duped by this unholy triad of idealism and belief and are failing to discern what is really going on in menopause? It’s certainly worth considering the possibility of another way….
I was open to this possibility and what I saw, discerned, felt and understood was, and remains, profound. It reveals an immense travesty that has been laid upon women for vast ages of time. But how do we, as women, begin to unpick this travesty and remove its tenacious hold?
Is it possible that aligning with Nature’s cycles allows us to both let go of the ideals and beliefs to which we have subscribed, and supports us in re-connecting to who we truly are?
The teachings of Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon introduced to me the possibility of there being many cycles with which I can cooperate and be a part of, including a menopausal cycle. This cycle occurs monthly and is aligned with the lunar cycle. In our body, it is a lymphatic cycle which has an energetic equivalent, that of our Light* or Divine energy.
This linguistically small, but energetically quantum piece of information, I have lived for myself for the last five years. Keeping my own personal daily journal during this time, I have experienced the movement of my lymph at a very physical level and have also felt the subtle, but profound, changes in my ability to both feel and embody the Light that I am.
In feeling this Light, I feel another aspect of myself as a Woman, a powerful, wise and insightful aspect, which can offer the quality of mothering to all, if I so choose, without the need to birth a physical child. I also feel my own eternalness: I have no sense of a permanent demise.
I have no need to pursue an ideal of facial fitness because the quality of my Light radiates from my eyes. This is true beauty and is available to us all, especially once we unpick those ideals and beliefs such as motherhood, youthfulness and the concept of a permanent demise.
I am a walking embodiment of the truths of this cycle.
In this, I have readily discerned the falsity of the idealism and beliefs associated with menopause. Physically, I do look amazing: my body is delicate, slender and I “do not look my age,” whatever that means!
I am very much in my skin and this is a place of both contentment and honouring for me.
There is, usually, a very lively twinkle in my eyes and a definite spring in my step because I no longer subscribe to the unholy triad of idealistic motherhood, the cult of youthfulness, nor the belief in a permanent demise.
Why would other women in their 50s (or older too!) not want to feel and know these things in the same way?
I observe women of my age in my everyday life. I see how they suffer so often from stagnated lymph, which I feel is due to suppressing this natural cycle. I sense the given-upness within many, given up on being a woman and the beauty that is within, winding down inexorably to die, betrayed by false ideals and beliefs.
Observing and feeling all of this, I have to ask, is it not more honouring, supportive and plain truthful to consider that there could be another way, so that all women can walk the truth of who they are, especially in, and after, the absolute beauty that is a true womanly menopause?
Do not all women deserve the opportunity to feel and live their true womanly wisdom, to age grace-fully and to know that the Light that they are lives eternally?
I am developing in my understanding of how to cooperate with universal cycles and how to discern their meaning through how I feel them inside of me.
I know I am eternal: this is not a belief and I don’t go to church to get this. I feel it in my body! When I speak, people listen: I am not one of the invisible over 50s on the scrapheap of life. If people ask my age, they marvel – they are incredulous of how I look and, more importantly, how I am and how I conduct myself. I would never exchange this wisdom and knowing for a facelift or the opportunity to look like a young woman in a magazine. And it’s not because I am ‘just lucky.’
I honour and discern the truth of my cycles and I choose to embody the wisdom of them. This is a choice that all can make.
*Light: one’s innate and divine energy; the subtle energy that exists prior to physicality and yet sustains the entire physical world; characterized by the qualities of Stillness, Harmony and Wisdom. This energy/light is available for all, and at the time of menopause, women feel a greater call to embody and express this light that they are. There is a call within them to offer this light to all, as well as prepare themselves to pass this plane of life in full connection to the truth of who they are – that is, in their light.
By Coleen Hensey (BA Hons, 1st Class, Psychology, Grad. Dip. Ed)
For further inspiration…
One woman’s experience of menopause: a reincarnation of who we truly are as women.
Menopause: a cycle, not a full stop!
Commitment and appreciation: two of the secrets of ageing gracefully.