Menopause is a time of transition and for some a time of mourning.
I’m post menopausal. I started at about 42 and pretty much came to and end with it about five years ago. I went through it fairly young and pretty quickly. My mom struggled with menopause for well over 15 years and took Hormone Replacement Therapy to get through it. She battled and beat cancer twice in her 70’s. I swore I would work through the change of life without HRT’s. I did. The most uncomfortable part was the hot flashes, but other than that it wasn’t too bad.
I’ve spoken to women that have gone through this change and found myself intrigued with how the journey affected them. Many of them stated they became depressed once they realized the time of reproducing had come to an end. Other’s stated they hated what happened to their bodies, primarily weight gain. Still others were stressed out by the significant mood swings. It’s always been a bone in my throat that not only do we menstruate for about 40 years, bear children (which is a huge strain on the body), fight to keep up with societal standards of what attractive looks like, and aging, but we have to suffer through an actual change of life. And patriarchal society calls us the weaker sex. Ha.
I feel the pressure women are under exacerbates menopause greatly. There are many things out of our control when it comes to this “change” and we struggle with the notion that our value decreases as we age. It’s sad actually.
Personally, the only thing that really changed for me was my weight, but I feel a significant part of that was giving up cigarettes at the age of 39. That in itself can wreak havoc on a body.
Honestly, I don’t define myself by what my exterior represents. I do try to eat well and exercise just for the sake of being healthy, but I refuse to feel like my value as a woman, as a human being has been diminished because I no longer serve reproductive purposes. My 40’s and 50’s have been the best years of my life. I value them. I treasure them. I’m damn glad I’ve gotten this far. But I will admit, hot flashes are a bitch.