Cofrin Park

Cofrin Park
Cofrin Nature Park

Monday, May 28, 2012

Menopausal Musings

Hey ladies (and those gentlemen who live with us), just say yes to menopause. Have you another choice, unless you are Suzanne Summers? Fear not, it’s not that bad. Really! Menopause brings forth a rediscovery of youthfulness and playfulness in unsuspecting ways.

Some women have nicknamed menopause "men-on-pause"—most of us still adore men, we're just no longer obsessed by what they think about us, or we them. I came up with another nickname I like even better: "Me-No-Pause!" My new improved nickname implies no more pausing, waiting for life to begin. Menopause frees women from both the monthly bondage of inconvenient blood-lettings, and from ourselves—that quintessential female role of people-pleasing and care-taking.

Menopause gives women back to themselves. Menopause reintroduces ourselves to ourselves and, like the children we once were,we can revel in creativity and adventure. We can feel better too, having banished anemia that hijacked our zestfulness.

Not knowing my heredity in this area, (mother had a hysterectomy at 39 and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) forever after) my apprehension soared as the evil time neared. Would I shrivel up and morph into a dude? Grow a mustache and beard? Lose my beautiful hair, or just as scary, go gray overnight? Shrink? Stink? Brittle bones? Wrinkles? Thinning, dried-up labia? Never sleep through the night again? Endless worries and nightmares. Maybe I should read up on the subject. Better yet, why don’t I watch an Oprah show about it?

What a relief. Oprah comes through once again. In particular Oprah’s guest, Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D., shared her stories and cutting-edge 411 for those of us approaching that women-of-a-certain-age. Northrup comprehensively codified her work in several of her books including, The Wisdom of Menopause (Revised Edition): Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change and Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Revised Edition): Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing.

These books, on which Dr. Northrup also based her popular PBS Special, detail pretty much the entire slide from peri-menopause to the full ride of menopause. And it is a ride. It’s like riding Oahu’s North Shore 30 foot waves in winter that crush unsuspecting victims who had the arrogance to dive in without proper training, equipment and experience. But with education comes choices; and we who enter menopause these days have more choices now than ever. Women are not a disease, I learned from Dr. Northrup. Although, I harbored the notion I was a disease for decades, because it sure felt like it most times.

The point is: get to know your unique situation and health status. Now is the time to ramp up self-care.
Eat the best whole foods you can find and relish each meal.
Take up a sport, yoga, weights, supplements, sing, dance, get yourself out there!
Dump anything in your life that does not serve you, especially toxic relationships.
The more you give to yourself, the more you have to give away to others, i.e. contribute. Sound familiar? Yes, contribution gives life meaning and purpose by definition. It's up to each of us to define it on a daily basis. When we heed the call of menopause we regain the clarity and focus necessary to live on with integrity purpose and passion.
P.S. I did not morph into a dude (no HRT); I get daily compliments at the gym (physique and attitude) and have contributed more this year than I ever thought I could! Menopause rocks!