We've been almost conditioned to fear menopause, but thankfully that is changing. Society seems to be starting to embrace the older woman again, and women themselves are starting to see the power of the crone!
Whether menopause is occurring naturally or has been brought on by medical procedures, the chances are that you'll experience some symptoms as you go through 'the change'. Here at Archeus, we find 'symptoms' an uncomfortable word to use as it creates connotations of illness. We prefer to think of menopausal symptoms as 'initiations' along the road to stepping into your power.
SOME STATISTICS, DEFINITIONS AND INITIATIONS
40 – 60% women will find themselves dealing with menopause initiations.
- Peri-menopause - means "around menopause“. Also called the menopausal transition.
- Women start peri-menopause at different ages. You may notice signs sometime in your 40s. Can be as early as their mid-30s.
- The level of estrogen — the main female hormone — in your body rises and falls unevenly during peri-menopause
- Menopause - defined as the time when there has been no menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months and no other biological or physiological cause can be identified.
- The end of fertility (a woman may still, however, be able to become pregnant unless 12 consecutive months have passed without a period.
The first thing many women notice is a change in their periods, they become irregular, coming farther apart or closer together. Menstrual flow could be heavier or lighter. As hormones start slowing down you may find your moods and sleep patterns fluctuate. You may anger more easily, anxiety may rise and libido may fall. There can a memory and cognitive decline 'brain fog', insomnia and a feeling of loss.
But also think about the time of life menopause occurs. Children are growing up, parents may be getting more frail, you find yourself questioning your own identity as roles start to change.
But also think about the time of life menopause occurs. Children are growing up, parents may be getting more frail, you find yourself questioning your own identity as roles start to change. In short there is a lot going on and so navigating these life changes along with hormonal changes can be challenging, so try not to be so hard on yourself or on the menopause transition.
How many stories do we hear of women burning up with a hot flash (or flush!), losing interest in sex, weeping or raging at the drop of a hat. No wonder we are led to fear it. But these things do pass and there are things we can do to help reduce the impact of the initiatory process into wisdom and empowerment.
The late Eugene Cohen, a psychiatrist, gerontologist and the founder of the Centre on Aging, Health and Humanities at George Washington University, found that the brain’s information processing centre doesn’t reach its greatest potential until sometime between the ages of 60 and 80. So there's hope for all of us!
Don’t get disheartened:
Menopause can be incredibly empowering.
The physiological symptoms can be brutal, but by the time women are postmenopausal, usually in early- to mid-50s, estrogen levels have dropped off precipitously. With this hormone shift comes an inner calm:
You can become less reactive to stress, less emotional, brain fog (often) lifts
It can lay issues around childlessness to rest ‘life is what it is, not what it could be’
Urges are more about staying healthy, embracing new challenges, focusing on personal goals
Don't forget that if vaginal dryness is an issue you are dealing with, try out our NatFem Balm which is renowned for being super-soothing for delicate bits!
The Archeus Approach to dealing with Life
The Archeus approach to beauty, health and well-being is centred around our relationship with the natural world. Do you mourn the way society and industry has become so disconnected from nature? We do, and we long for a groundswell in the people that do see that we are part of nature, not apart from it.
The more we start to look into nature, the more we start to really see it and, as Einstein said, "the more we start to understand things better". There is personal power and transformation in the simple act of observation.
When we start to see the spices in our pantry, the herbs, vegetables and flowers in our garden, the weeds and trees on our walks as powerful healers, the way we manage our physical, emotional and spiritual life changes dramatically. We find connection, our despairing sense of isolation recedes, the sense of personal empowerment increases as we find ourselves being able to make simple and effective health choices and the very landscape around us becomes a form of medicine for body and soul.
I navigated my own course through menopause by drawing on the healing power of plants and landscape and I found it heled me immesnely as it gave me a sense of grounding and the ability to do things for myself through this transition. Sure I've undergone my own initiations of hot flashes, weight gain, erratic periods, but usually it's been my lack of self-discipline that has exacerbated these things! When I am more mindful about working with plant allies to help me through, things have got a whole lot easier and turned around quite quickly.