Menopause, a curse or an invitation to heal?

It comes with some very bad PR this menopause business. I mean have you googled it? Maybe don’t if you don’t need to 🤣 the list of unpleasant symptoms is long and depressing… it sounds bloody awful. Not an easy sell to a woman who is heading in that direction. I remember the fear and shock on my husbands face when he first began researching it, it was as if I’d just died right there in front of him, he looked haunted and afraid. Very afraid!

I have to tell ya though… it doesn’t have to be that way. I promise you, it isn’t the end, It’s just the beginning. Putting aside the physical changes, not all of which are a given. It is, or can be, a beautiful evolution in to the next stage of being. Depending on what you choose to focus on, what you choose to believe and what choices you make.

I remember a time, many years ago when I was extremely disgruntled about being wolf whistled in public, I was in my late 20’s at the time. My mum said ‘you’ll soon notice it when it stops happening, when you’re too old to be noticed and you become invisible’ There was a ‘then you’ll be sorry’ tone to her comment. She couldn’t have been more wrong and I’m delighted to say that. She was of her generation, where women were only valued as decoration in a man’s world, or for bearing children and making a home.

Menopause is a powerful rite of passage and offers us the opportunity to transform, to rise. To step into our power and bloom, It is incredibly freeing. The road may not be smooth my loves, but if we embrace it, get ourselves informed and resourced as best we can… we can do more than just survive it. We can flourish and thrive. We can lean in to the wisdom and allow it to teach us, to show us where we need to heal.

The ‘invitation to heal’ through perimenopause and menopause, is profound. For me it felt like having my heart pulled out of the front of my chest, exposed and vulnerable. All of the armour, all of the scaffolding of defenses we build throughout life, in order to protect ourselves and survive it, seem to suddenly melt away.

They can’t be relied on any more, there is no where to hide from the feelings we’ve supressed all of our lives. From the big feelings that come as we adjust to our ageing bodies, and the loss of fertility. Nothing to protect us from the pressures and overwhelm that come from being sandwiched between the needs of our children and our elderly parents, from being pulled in every direction and feeling battered and bruised as a result.

For some women use of alcohol or other addictions increase during this time, in an unconscious effort to self medicate away feelings of anxiety, depression, stress and overwhelm. Anti-depressants are very quickly prescribed to women during this time, an easy solution for well meaning GP’s. I’m not making that wrong by the way. There is no shame in choosing that option and for some women it is absolutely the approach they need to take. We each need to make the decisions that are right for us and our individual life circumstances. Not everyone is in the right place or has the resources to delve in to therapeutic, healing work, but I do believe it needs to be seen as a positive option.

For most of us the solution to making it through the bumpy transition of perimenopause is multi faceted. It might involve HRT, medication, exercise, nutrition, sleep and rest, meditation, yoga, quitting alcohol/smoking and other substances. I’m not here to promote or discourage any combination of the above, I trust women will find what works for them. What I do want to raise awareness of is gift of having those defences I mentioned stripped away. The revelation that it has been for me, to not be able to hide my raw emotion anymore and to find people that can hold it with me.

Perimenopause, much like puberty, invites us to ‘cocoon’ for a period, to withdraw from the harshness of the world and the expectations that are placed upon us and go inwards. It invites us to meet ourselves at a deeper level, to discover who we truly are and who we can be, once we emerge from our cocoon. It offers us the chance to strip away old ways of being in the world: the people pleasing, the good girl syndrome, the beliefs like ‘i’m not good enough’ or ‘I don’t matter’. With the Compassionate Inquiry approach, all of that can be unpicked and examined. We get a chance to process all of the emotion that we’ve been supressing for a life time and free ourselves to begin again. We can learn to live with a new set of beliefs, craft our own operation manual for life and how we want to show up and live it.

This crazy ride of mid life and menopause has been an absolute gift for me and I wouldn’t change one bit of it.

For more information on my 1:1 with the Compassionate Inquiry approach to healing, see my website or contact me to book a discovery call.

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