Hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings! Oh my!
Not to mention irregular periods, loss of libido (oh no!), memory lapses (what was I going to say?), and (oh, now I remember) weight gain. These are just a few of the many symptoms of menopause, symptoms I have come to know too well.
I used to hear my grandmother tell her younger women friends, “Oh, honey, you’re just going through The Change,” adding an emphasis that struck a chord of mystery within my pre-teen brain. The Change? What the heck?
And here I am, heading straight into it with my two constant companions, hot flashes and its evening cousin night sweats. Oh, the joy to be had with these two rascals.
But the more I understand menopause, the more I understand myself. I’ve gone from a young girl to a nurturer to a much wiser (and older) version of myself.
Such are the stages of a woman’s life. Maiden. Mother. Crone. The triple Goddess that embodies all the feminine aspects of life.
As a maiden, I flowered into womanhood with the onset of my first menses. I learned about myself and my sexuality. I marveled over my changing body and prepared for the next phase.
I never bore children, but I have “mothered” many. While the mother stage usually involves marriage and motherhood, it is really about a woman’s sexual maturity. During this phase, I’ve nurtured others and developed a truer sense of self.
As a crone (I prefer Goddess, thank you), I now enter the menopausal journey. My hormones are changing (I’m fanning myself as I write this), the ovaries are semi-retired, and I have a lot of life experiences behind me to help me accept this next phase of my life. I’ve come into my own. I am woman; hear me roar!
As much as society would have us believe that menopause is the end of a woman’s life, it’s not. Although it does signify an ending, it presents the freedom of new beginnings. This is a time of transition. It’s a time of rebirth. It is a time to embrace the qualities of the Crone-Goddess to seek true wisdom. The radiance of youth may fade under the smile lines and gray hair, but we begin to glow with an inner light as we slip into our true self. Such beauty doesn’t happen over night!
While this is unknown and unfamiliar territory for me, I’m embracing the mystery of it just as I have done with other transitions I’ve experienced in my life. While there are some minor discomforts (holy hot flash…here comes another one!), I honor and celebrate The Change. I no longer suffer the insecurities or pride or vanity of my early adult years, and I’m no longer a “human doing,” taking care of everyone else’s needs while neglecting my own. I am being the Being I’m meant to be. Menopause is going to be what I make of it.
And to make the most of it, here’s my plan:
1. Look forward to growing in wisdom.
2. Listen to my soul. Feed it when it is hungry spiritually.
3. Listen to my body. Notice the subtle and not so subtle changes and allow them to guide me inward.
4. Nurture myself on all levels. Do the things that I enjoy doing with more frequency, intensity, and love.
5. Continue meditation in order to strive to balance the various aspects of my life for self-fulfillment.
6. Hold Crone-Goddess ceremonies under the full moon to honor the woman I have been and rejoice in the woman I am becoming.
7. Embrace the changes going on instead of dreading them. Trust that my body knows what it is doing.
8. The reproductive years may be over, but that doesn’t mean to stop creating. See this as a time to try new things and to focus on other forms of creativity.
9. Carry a hand fan wherever I go!
If you have any tips to share for those of us experiencing this ultimate uterine challenge, please comment below.