We've Gotta Have it
How to Cruise through Menopause with Style and Grace
You heard me right -- Menopause isn’t all bad. In fact, here are 13 benefits
There is an adage: “Listen to your body when it whispers because then you won’t have to hear it scream.” That sums up menopause for me. Not every woman experiences symptoms, but if you do, ignoring what’s happening can lead to your body screaming so loud you will finally be forced to listen.
My menopause crept up on me — gently whispering with anxiety and night sweats. Like many women, I ignored the signs. That’s one of the things with menopause — it comes when you also have so many other things on your plate. Growing children or teenagers, aging parents, and work compete for our attention, and we get pushed down our own to-do lists. I was so busy trying to get on with life and be a “superwoman” who could do it all that my body had to start screaming before I listened to what it was telling me.
I had heard of menopause, of course, but I didn’t really know what it would mean for me. I thought my periods would stop and I might feel hot a couple of times. And it would end there! I had never heard of “perimenopause” — the time when your estrogen levels start to fall — and didn’t know that you can have menopausal symptoms that are sometimes more severe than when your periods actually stop.
Anxiety was my worst symptom, but there are many more, and I hear countless stories from other women who think they are hypochondriacs because they have been to the doctor so often with symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, night sweats, and weight gain around the middle, yet not been given any solutions. Misdiagnosing menopause costs insurers millions as people get treated for things like fibromyalgia, migraines, depression, chronic fatigue, and thyroid issues. This happens because there is a real lack of knowledge around menopause. Trying to find information was very daunting and confusing for me. Maybe it is because it isn’t that long since we would have kicked the bucket either before, or not long after menopause, so it didn’t seem worth talking about. But nowadays we are likely to have decades left to enjoy.
The taboo around the topic doesn’t help. In 1948, menopause was mentioned on one radio show, and there was a huge outcry — “lowering of broadcasting standards” and “acutely embarrassing” were two of the many complaints. And I think that the reluctance to talk remains — even now, one TV channel I appear on won’t let me use the word — although I am doing all I can to reverse that. In my “ideal menopausal world,” every woman would get a letter or an email from their healthcare provider when they are 45 to tell them all about what’s going on and what to expect.
Admittedly, it is easy to freak out when you realize what is happening to you. Don’t fear the word “menopause.” It isn’t a disease. It is a rite of passage that every woman goes through. I am five years in, and there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. At the worst times I simply said to myself “this too will pass,” and it did — and now I feel older, wiser, and more comfortable in my life than ever.
The Benefits of Menopause
No, I haven’t made some kind of brain-fog-related typo here — I actually do want to talk about the positive side of menopause. Because there is one — and it’s important to know that. Some cultures even view menopause as something to look forward to, a time when you develop a status and wisdom you don’t have during your younger years. I know this is going to be hard to believe when you’re standing there trying not to burst into tears because you’ve lost your car keys again or every muscle in your body aches, but keeping positives in mind can help you get through those tough days.
The way I look at it, I’m 52 now (and you’re probably about the same age), and I want to live at least into my eighties. Am I supposed to spend all that time feeling bad about the fact that I’m post-menopausal. No way! So, here are a few benefits of menopause to think about:
- No more period, PMS, or cramps.
- Many woman get a massive rush of energy and enthusiasm for life post-menopause.
- You’ll save money on tampons and pads.
- You’ll never ruin your favorite undies again.
- Fibroids shrink and often get better. Endometriosis also disappears.
- Some migraine sufferers find their headaches stop.
- You’re still only at the halfway point of your life — the best is yet to come.
- It’s a great excuse to take stock and make sure you’re happy, and make any changes if you’re not (you can always blame your hormones).
- Exercise works better now — you actually burn more fat than you did before.
- You don’t have to worry about contraception ever again (but obviously still practice safe sex if you’re not in a steady relationship). Or, an accidental pregnancy. This makes some women enjoy sex more — hello, orgasms!
- Getting through the bad days makes you realize you can do anything. Those bad days are only temporary — and you can get help for them.
- This new phase of life can strengthen your relationship and improve your sex life if you start to talk more.
- You realize you need to put yourself first — we don’t do that enough.
Excerpted from The New Hot by Meg Mathews, copyright 2020. Reprinted with permission.
An iconic figure of the nineties Brit Pop scene, Meg Mathews is a former music industry PR, event planner, and designer turned entrepreneur, author, and advocate for the menopause. Having used her own menopause as a time to reassess and reset, Meg’s message surrounding it is one of reinvention. Encouraging women to embrace this new chapter of their lives, her goal is to educate and inspire, whilst breaking taboos with the support of medical professionals, and offer tips to help women take control of their lives.