I was 48 years old when I did this for the very first time.
It was New Year’s Eve five years ago. I was lying in my bathtub—and I looked down at my body and said, “thank you.”
I thanked it for giving me two amazing children. And, for carrying me this far on my journey.
And while that might seem mildly insignificant to some—reflecting back, it was my own personal moment of disruption; it was a pivotal line in the sand that I drew between “this sucks” and a confidence-fueled “I’m smart. My health is my priority. And, I’ve got this!”
It had been nearly 10 years at that point since I first started experiencing hormonal shifts—changes to my sleep, mood, and debilitating brain fog. (I assumed it was perimenopause-related; I’ve since learned a lot about the impact of stress on female hormones!)
The bathtub was usually my sacred place to unwind. But it had also become the place I went to shake off the horrible feelings after I lost my temper with one of my kids, or to curl up in the fetal position, rock back and forth and try to find a way to deal with new feelings of depression, anxiety and overwhelm.
It’s challenging for me to write about the positive side of navigating perimenopause-to-menopause (& beyond!) because I often get pushback.
You see, when women first find Menopause Chicks, they are also rocking back and forth feeling uninformed, unprepared, and questioning why it feels as though their bodies are trying to betray them.
If you are one of those women—know this: I see you, you deserve quality of life and there are viable solutions!
The path to your healthiest midlife begins with informed conversations and understanding the real truths about perimenopause, menopause and beyond.
The word menopause is getting more airplay recently. Sometimes menopause messaging is blatent. Sometimes it’s subliminal.
But either way, we still have a long way to go. If you or I were to walk outside right now, stop anyone on the sidewalk and ask them for the first thing that comes to their mind when they hear the word “menopause,” my bet is that the word would be negative. We’ve been conditioned to believe that menopause is a synonym for suffering.
In my tub, surrounded by my some of my favourite magazines, I noticed the headlines were all negative too. It was as if someone was trying to convince me I was broken.
But that message didn’t resonate for me. I had a family to care for and a business to run. Instead, I convinced myself I needed to do what was best for my own health, and then take on the job of meeting other women where they are, and serving as their “concierge” toward trusted health information and experienced health professionals.
I was being called to crack open the conversation about perimenopause & menopause; and then disrupt it.
Why? Because menopause has evolved into a social construct—with marketers, media and even the medical community perpetuating shared assumptions that menopause means: hot, old, tired, bitchy and fat.
But it’s simply not true.
That would be like talking about parenting, only mentioning poopy diapers.
Do some women suffer? Absolutely. And we are smart and savvy. We are a generation that likes to be proactive with our health. We can figure out how to navigate life’s challenges.
A century ago, women only lived to be 50-58. Now, 50-somethings are running corporations, communities and marathons. Now, our eye is on celebrating 100 and we are leveraging midlife as the opportunity to learn and invest in our current quality of life, as well as our future brain, bone, heart and vaginal health.
When I became a women’s health advocate, it was fueled by this overwhelming statistic: 70% of women said they didn’t have anyone to talk to about perimenopause or menopause.
But we are experiencing a shift.
The first wave of millennials have turned 35 and they’re curious about their own perimenopause-to-menopause journey and taking proactive steps to finding health strategies that work for them.
Media and marketers are catching on to the fact that women 35-65 hold the most influential positions in society, make the majority of health decisions in a family, and control most of the consumer buying power.
Magazines, like Allure, are banning the term “anti-aging” because they understand women feel smarter, wiser, more confident and more beautiful than ever before.
The side effects to ditching the outdated, negative narrative about menopause will be long-lasting as the paradigm around aging continues to shift.
Women are learning to replace “hot” with “whole” and “bitchy” with “beautiful.” And they are sharing their experiences with others, which, in my experience, is the real antidote to change.
“I feel amazing,” says Carmen V., age 49 and a member of the Menopause Chicks Private Community. “Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I never imagined having this much confidence as I prepare for the second half of my life!"
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Write to me at [email protected]