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12 benefits of the menopause (yes, really!)

Written by Fiona

September 04 2019

The over-riding story about the pre-menopause and then the menopause is that it is a grim phase of a woman’s life. That can be true and certainly there are many symptoms that are a right royal pain in the erse.

I have written a great deal about the symptoms, many which can be frustrating and debilitating. However, I am coming to realise that there are some good outcomes of the menopause.

I confess it has taken me a while to realise that there are any benefits. I have not enjoyed a lot about the last few years in terms of mental and physical well-being, but I do believe most things have a silver lining.

12 benefits of the menopause

Perhaps “benefits” is too strong a word but let’s see what you think.

I sometimes let myself sit back and reflect!!

1 A new sense of sisterhood

I have long felt that women are great at supporting each other. This is not to say that I do not have men in my life – and a loving husband – to listen and advise, but when it comes to sympathy and empathy, women are the best.

I enjoyed the support through pregnancy and the early child-rearing years and also at various stages of motherhood.

Now I am feeling the love again. It is my female friends – and many women I have talked to and met in recent years – that have offered such a strong sense of womanhood through the menopause. It’s an “in this together” sisterhood.

This experience has been truly heart warming and through the menopause I have deepened friendships and made new connections and friends.

2 A new pet topic

As a journalist, I have enjoyed writing on topics and subjects close to my heart. Over the last 20 years, these have mainly focused on fitness, adventure and travel. I still like writing on these topics but now I have a new hot topic.

I have been open about my peri and menopause and I have written about it and shared my thoughts and experiences on radio etc. Now I am being asked to write about this new hot topic as part of my freelance work. This is good for business – and it has also kept my work interesting and motivating.

3 New knowledge

I like to be learning about new things and I prefer to be informed about issues, including my own health. If something doesn’t feel right or does not add up, I’ll head off and find out more about it so I can work out what I think or feel.

I am a problem solver and a finder of solutions.

When I started feeling a long list of strange symptoms in my early to mid 40s, I tried to work out why they were happening to me. I looked on-line, sought medical help and asked friends.

I discovered that many symptoms were related to my hormones. I had no idea that oestrogen and progesterone depletion could cause so many mental and physical ailments.

I have enjoyed learning more about my body and being able to pass on my knowledge to others in the same situation.

I value laughter and friendships a great deal more.

4 A new boldness

Those who know me through life and work will know I am the sort of person who has been afraid to talk about my feelings and personal experiences. However, I never imagined I would be out there, writing and talking about the menopause. In fact, if you had suggested this 15 years ago I would have cringed!

Now I am open and frank about it.  I feel bold enough to talk about the menopause and the issues with men and women, strangers and on public forums. I like that the menopause has made me bold on a topic that until recently had been rather taboo.

5 A new level playing field

I confess I thought I would sail through the menopause without issues. I though that being fit and healthy (and also slim) would somehow protect me from the worst of the symptoms. I had never really suffered with menstruation issues and I thought this would be the same with the menopause. I thought, smugly, that my hormones were more stable than other people’s.

To be honest, I have no idea why I thought this. Hormones are tricky buggers and they can wreak havoc whatever you current bill of health and regardless of pretty much everything.

I do think that being physically active and talking about emotions is helpful in the face of hormones that go up and down like a rollercoaster but, in fact, the menopause affects everyone in different ways and there is not a great deal you can do about this in the run-up.

I have realised that the menopause is a leveller of women from all backgrounds, different circumstances, fitness levels etc. No one is better than the other at “getting through”.

Laughter and sisterhood.

6 Laughter in the face of it all

I could see nothing to laugh about when it came to the menopause. But then I was invited to join the Totes Merry Peri Facebook group. Amid all the tough times and horrors of this phase of life, there are many times I have laughed out loud.

I have not laughed at women, rather with them. It is a fantastic place to share how you feel and to realise you are not alone in feeling so bloody weird.

And, of course, laugher is such a good tonic to do when you feel low.

7 A greater control

The menopause makes you think a lot about how you feel. It has caused me to assess my hormones in greater depth and to work out whether I can help to control them better.

I don’t want to be a horrible person to live with or a difficult friend or colleague. I have learned tha I can take greater control of how I feel and act.

I decided to take HRT around three years ago and that was in reaction to physical symptoms I felt were too difficult to cope with, such as leg cramps and migraines. Now I know that the HRT is helpful for controlling many more symptoms, including those that have affected me mentally.

I have the choice to take HRT or not and I am aware of the risks. Above all, I feel like I have greater control over my hormones than I have done in the past decade.

8 I have learned to value myself differently

At times, through the menopause, I have felt awful. I have not liked myself and I have doubted I ever would again. But I have found a kind of acceptance.

I am not as young looking, nor am I as fit, slim or sharp-brained. But I like the more mature person that I have become. I think I am more thoughtful and reflective. I am kinder to myself both mentally and physically.

I do not have to be the first, the fastest, or someone who is always doing things. I even give myself a day off sport when I do not feel like it, or I stop mid-walk or run to look around and enjoy the moment.

And, overall, I feel lucky to be alive and still enjoying a good life and career. I do my best not to reflect on how I looked or felt when I was younger, or what I was capable of, but rather what I like and enjoy now.

Dare I saw it, I feel more content in my 50s than ever before.

9 I can forgive myself

I used to be a person who never missed a deadline or forgot a birthday or a special something. Now I forget things all the time. Sometimes, I even forget to look at my diary.

Instead of being upset or frustrated with myself I tell people why I have forgotten. I tell them that it’s probably my #menopausememory. (Actually, a male work client wrote back and told me he suffers with #manmemory and that made me feel a lot better.)

I can’t do a lot about my memory these days and while it dos make me feel annoyed with myself sometimes I am learning to forgive myself.

10 I can say no now

I used to be one of the people who always said yes. Yes, I can help. Yes, of course, I’ll be there, Yes, it’s no hassle. Now, if I feel something will stretch me too much or make me grumpy or tired, I say no. It’s a wonderful feeling of freedom and I am sure if has something to do with my new level of hormones.

Of course, I do still say yes to a lot of things but I don;t feel bad about saying no, too.

I laugh and live life now and with those I love.

11 I do things now not later

It could be my age or maybe it’s a new knowledge that I have lived my healthier more active years pre-menopause. Anyway, I now feel a greater urgency to do the things I might well have put off if I was younger.

I want to travel more, try new things, enjoy more adventures and I want to do them sooner rather than later.

12 I feel lucky

While there have been times that the menopause has felt all-consuming and bloody, bloody awful, I am aware that there are other people in far less favourable situations. The menopause, above all, is not a terminal illness. This is not to say that how I feel isn’t real and woeful to me, but I am lucky.

I am lucky enough to have great friends and family. I am fortunate to have a writing outlet to share my good times and bad times. I have work and I work from home, which allows me to suffer when I need to without the constraints of an office and colleagues.

I feel lucky that I am “getting through”.

I hope this gives her people going through the peri or menopause the ability to see some benefits amid the quagmire of more wretched symptoms.

Written by Fiona September 04 2019 Please support this website Buy me a glass of wine

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