It’s such a relief to know that we don’t have to exhaust ourselves in the workplace trying to keep up with our pre-menopausal pace.
The menopause is a natural process, even though it doesn’t feel like it. It either hits us like a runaway train or creeps up gradually and yes, we mourn.
Grief is the intense emotional experience triggered by the loss of someone we love or of something we value and that includes changes in the things we are familiar with. Grief is a normal and natural reaction when we suffer any kind of loss and it may be surprising to learn that the menopause can also be a grieving experience. Some women are able to navigate the menopause relatively easily, but for most it can be a real dark night of the soul. We mourn for everything that was as we try to come to terms with Mother Nature’s conveyer belt. The menopause signifies the end of so many things – our biological reproduction clock, our youth, changes in our energy levels, to name just a few.
It is natural to grieve the loss of our youth and fear the uncertainty of ageing as we realise that we have to make way for the next generation. We don’t need to be Superwoman and keep the plates spinning but we do need to recognise that each decade brings its benefits and you must keep yourself open to this and find things that make you feel better about and within yourself.
Ageing isn’t something we can stop but we can respect ourselves with good diet, exercise and rest. Even though our energy levels and brain fog mean we have to force ourselves to do the things that help us. We have to make the decision to act. Allow yourself to recognise the losses and feelings it brings. Like anything in life, preparation is the key and this includes learning as much as you can about the symptoms, finding natural stepping stones, researching HRT and above all else, listening to your body instead of railing against it.
Try to be open in your feelings and share your struggles as this will help to give you support when you need it most. Communication can create great bridges between us and when we need to shove our heads under the covers and hide, we won’t have someone telling us to pull ourselves together because they haven’t understood.
Some women use this to time make life changes. If something isn’t right, don’t be afraid to do this. On our death bed it’s not the things we did that we regret, it’s the things we didn’t do. Really tune in to what is going on inside and have the courage to change what needs to be changed.
Menopause is all about accepting and adjusting but we can only do that if we acknowledge how we feel and take the steps to work with the changes.
Lianna Champ has over 40 years’ experience in grief counselling and is author of practical guide, How to Grieve Like A Champ