When you get your first period – you know about it! Menopause, on the other hand, you learn about only by looking back…
A woman is ‘officially’ in menopause after not bleeding for one full year. It took me six years to get there… The journey meandered from skipped periods to having one 2 weeks apart. Then, after counting six months of no blood, my MoonTime surprisingly returned (after which I had to start counting again!) This begun to reveal the gift of menopause: unpredictability!
After some 40 years of cycling, our rhythms become predictable. Even if we cycle irregularly – we learn to know our cycles. Their clockwork punctuality or their wandering changeability becomes familiar, even predictable. We know what to expect. And if we awaken to it — we even plan ahead: we arrange our commitments around our menstruation in order to accommodate the needs of our body and psyche when we bleed.
Menopause changes all this! All of a sudden we are faced with not-knowing-what-to-expect… This is a gift. It calls us to be fully present in each moment. It takes away advanced planning in favor of Being Here Now.
As with anything else: we can choose to become victims of the unknown or embrace the opportunity for real-time presence. The unpredictability of menopause allows us to take stock of all areas in our lives where we became habitual, complacent, or operating on auto-pilot.
This is the Gift of Menopause:
It invites us to let go of our Comfort Zone. Only when we venture into the Unfamiliar — can we Grow… And menopause invites us to grow in NEW ways. What worked before may be useless now, since the paradigm has changed!
The new paradigm demands that you work with What Is. Its secret lies hidden in Hind Sight. Only in looking back you know that your Moon has Paused. Only in hind sight you realize that something you tried – has worked out. Or not… in which case you are invited to face anew what IS, and figure out a different approach based on this hot-present-moment, not on your old bag of tricks.
Planning ahead is great, yet it is meant for your cyclical years. Your Wisdom Phase – Menopause – asks you to show up in different ways: fresh, unrehearsed, original!
Can you leave the familiar shore? Menopause gives you no other choice. It shakes the foundations of your known world. It takes away the very definition of your womanhood (or seems to). Whether you used to define yourself by your cycle or not – it distinguished you as a Woman. Now, when your cycle is elusive, or has gone forever, the road becomes new. Untraveled.
By taking away the familiar, Menopause offers you the gift of turning inside and relying on fresh resources. It invites you to travel life with all the creativity, originality, and ingenuity you can bring, always being present NOW!
Click HERE to learn how to honor your Menopause
© DeAnna L’am
I’m 39 and my own mother and aunts refuse to talk about menopause or even acknowledge their experience of it. This letter gives me hope and something positive to work with when it is my time. Thank you!
Wow…so sorry to hear this. I’ve been going through menopause for the past 3 years, and I talk about it a lot. Especially with women who are younger than I am. I do this, because no one told me just how intense it would be, and also because it’s time we stopped being ashamed of it. As a result of menopause, I have dug deep, and it has been very, very worth it.
“It takes away the very definition of your womanhood”
We are more than that, we are not defined by an uterus and menstruation. Please do not use this type of words. Women who have had a hysterectomy and told “Now you are empty” have a hard time dealing with the operation. A lot of them try to fill the “hole” with anything they can.
Menopause can be a time of celebration .
Yes, Menopause can be, and is, a time of celebration, and I believe this article conveys this, as does the rest of my work.
Women who had a hysterectomy are never “empty”. They have an Etheric Womb, and I invite women to work with their etheric womb deeply… There is never a need to “feel a hole” but to listen to the deep inner guidance that is still there…
Dear DeAnna, I so respect and appreciate your amazing work in supporting women to celebrate themselves and their sacredness during every season of their lives, Perhaps what the above reader is reflecting is that this one line on your Gift of Menopause page –“It takes away the very definition of your womanhood”– if slightly reworded to say, “It may feel as if it takes away the very definition of your womanhood” would more accurately express that message which otherwise so richly permeates your site and work, reducing the possibility of misunderstanding . I hope this suggestion is received in the spirit of communication in which it is offered, Blessings!
Thanks for your kind words, Jennifer, and for your keen observation.
I modified the sentence you are looking at, and hope it will make its meaning clearer :-)
Many blessings to you…
beautiful post deanna. my heart, womb and body are simply letting go and saying, “ahhhhhhhh”. thank you so much.
So wonderful to hear, Lisa!
I really like the way you described menopause DeAnna!
I am not there yet, but I am realising more and more that I am letting go of my cycle slowly slowly, even if I am still cycling, to prepare myself for that big moment when I will have to rely on all my skills to be myself!
I think that menopause gives us the chance to be totally ourselves as women, it is a reinvention and a call, as you say, to be totally in the moment.
Thanks again for a lovely blog DeAnna!
My menopause was so easy, My periods just became further apart until they stopped. I had heard lots of story’s growing up about how awful this process was going to be. Some women have lots of problems at this time and I expected it to be terrible. I was blessed with a very calm and easy time. I wish this for all women
Menopause is not a gift. Why would hot flashes, fits of rage, embarrassing body odor, forgetfulness, clumsiness, bad skin from head to toe, and knowing I’m probably losing a few years of life cause me to break into a happy dance? But I can’t even do a happy dance if I wanted to, because I’d piss my pants. Thanks menopause. You’re brilliant. Not really. You suck. You came to me way too young too. My doctor was even baffled and wanted to retest me. Menopause articles go under the assumption that we are all older women and we should use this time to reflect, kids are grown now and we can travel, blah blah….I have a two year old. Menopause while raising a toddler is not an easy ride. And….I don’t want to ever hear anyone tell me “hey! No more pms! No more periods! Be happy!!”. My periods were always a breeze, first of all, and second of all….I never had pms. Honestly. Now I have to pay the price and experience pms’s older, bitchy, stinky cousin. My poor husband is often stuck in the crossfire of a terrible twos tantrum and a menopausal psychopath. I cry, I scream, I throw shit across the room, I wet my pants, I smell, I get infections I’ve never heard of. How is this a reason to celebrate??????
Also, I’m so sad to know that I’m trapped. Hormone replacement causes cancer so I am forced to sit here and watch myself deteriorate physically, mentally, and emotionally. Menopause caused me to be a short tempered mother to my young child. I can’t take back my tears. I can’t take back any of my stressful times around him. No, I never did anything awful (I don’t hit/spank), but in retrospect I wondered why I was such a bitch over dumb things. That’s before I knew I was gifted with premature menopause. Now it all makes sense.
Also, sexually, am I supposed to go and goop myself up before action? Talk about interrupting the mood. Some day when I or if I ever get my sex drive back maybe the answer will come to me.
Menopause will not make me wiser, spiritual, ethereal, “sexier”, appreciative, etc.
If anything at all, it has made me bitter, smelly, unapproachable, annoying, forgetful, clumsy, achy, crusty, and ugly. I can’t conceal the accelerating aging process…its spread to everything! Face, neck, arms, hands, stomach, legs.
To me, menopause is defined as “100 ways to humiliate a woman”. Yesterday we had company and I wet my pants while laughing. Not cool…..smh…..
Thanks for sharing your experience… I hear how painful and uncomfortable it is…
There is of course no reason to rejoice in the face of pain,
yet there is a question about the pain and discomfort, and whether they can only be address by medicine?
Or perhaps emotional support, sisterhood experiences, reframing of menopause, the wisdom of indigenous cultures,
may be a parallel journey that can lead through the pain,
and out the other side, to relief and freedom from pain…
May you know deep comfort…
Thanks for your wise words, DeAnna! I´m so happy to be able to share the experience you are talking about – and also “dancing enough” to look at what´s happening from a little distance … and even if it´s sometimes annoying (for example having to stop at an Underground-WC) … but, YES, that´s the gift of it all: being absolutely present in my HERE & NOW! Feeling inside, when “something” is coming again … having to talk about it, because it´s always a little “unsecure” … and, yes: growing at the edges of my comfort-zones!
In a “patriarchal” & technical world, where everything is expected to “function” like a machine, most predictable – no, I´m a WOMAN, and I´m LIFE, and so I´m NOT predictable & I don´t function (any more)!
Feeling great connectedness!
I went through menopause while holding an advanced professional position of challenging and complex responsibilities. I was fortunate to experience minimal effects – mostly just hot flashes. So I collected and carried beautiful fans everywhere and used them – in professional meetings, lunches, speaking engagements. It became a bit of a signature for several years and I used the opportunity to briefly name the reason for the fan in most venues.
I am also fortunate to have a Goddess feminist worldview which supports me in seeking personal meanings in my life’s cycles and gives me the practices to work with all types of life circumstances be they joyful or painful. One of the gifts of menopause for me has been a return to living more in alignment with my nature based values. Blessings, Ann