As we approach Halloween, let’s have a heart-to-heart about a common fear for women: perimenopause and menopause.
These new phases of life await us between the ages of 40 and 65 and inspire unwarranted fear, confusion, and shame. We, the women of our generation, have been entangled in a web of myths and misconceptions, what I like to call “conventional wisdoms” – well-worn beliefs, opinions, and predictions that often keep us afraid and in the dark about our own bodies.
Spooky Myths & Conventional Wisdom
Have you ever heard that eggs are the villains of our dietary horror story? Or perhaps the notion that lifting weights will instantly transform you into a bulging, too-muscular hulk of your former self? How about the haunting message that by simply eating less and engaging in relentless cardio, you’ll magically shed those extra pounds? Then there’s the spookiness of bananas and carrots being cast as the outlaws of the produce world. And we can’t ignore the terror-inducing mammograms that stalk us every year. Oh, and let’s not forget the chilling thought that fitness should only be a minuscule part of your monthly budget.
Now, let’s take a look at the hair-raising beliefs surrounding menopause in the United States.
These conventional wisdoms are meant to send shivers down our spines (and our wallets toward every fad fitness trend):
- We are slowing down, caught in the shadow of our former selves.
- Weight gain and sluggish metabolism are the curse of this life stage.
- Intimacy will be painful, and our libidos will only become lower.
- Vaginal dryness can’t be avoided.
- Hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, and mood swings will haunt our daily existence.
- Menopause will be a struggle.
Today, there are approximately 56 million women in the United States traversing the gloomy terrain of menopause.
While not all of us will experience the full array of symptoms, the statistics show that:
- A staggering 75% experience hot flashes
- 40% experience night sweats
- 35% experience vaginal dryness
- Up to 60% of women in perimenopause and menopause experience sleep disturbances
In many ways, society has conspired to keep us in the shadows, casting misinformation over this natural life transition. We’ve come to view it as something to dread, or worse, something to be ashamed of. Speaking openly about it, even with our trusted healthcare providers, often seems scarier than Halloween itself.
But let’s circle back to those earlier conventional wisdoms:
- Eggs, it turns out, are not the villains but the unsung heroes, brimming with health benefits –rich in high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats, and an array of essential trace nutrients.
- And about that golden rule of eating less and doing more cardio to shed pounds – if it were true, why do we continue to grapple with an obesity epidemic?
Is it easier to cling to the comforting familiarity of conventional wisdoms than to dare to question it? The truth is, it’s much more comfortable to stay the course, to accept, conform, and continue to suffer in silence. But, as we journey through midlife, we owe it to ourselves to become empowered, speak up about our own experiences, and be fearless in the pursuit of joy, confidence, and lasting wellness.
Let me dispel some of your fears. I, and the hundreds of women I’ve worked with, stand as living proof that midlife and menopause are not to be feared. In fact, I’m here to declare that perimenopause and menopause are far from scary. They can be a source of profound joy, wisdom, and yes, even FUN.
Consider these incredible gifts that come with age, and remember, there are many more to experience in midlife:
- Increased wisdom and confidence
- Reduced risk of injury as we become more attuned to our bodies, like seasoned adventurers navigating challenging terrain
- No more reliance on fad diets, as we embrace a sustainable, health-focused approach to nutrition
- A newfound ability to learn new subjects and explore hobbies
- A reinvigorated focus on forging deeper, more meaningful connections with others, fostering a sense of closeness and community
- An enduring appreciation for learning
- A profound sense of strength, knowing we’re women who are prepared and able to face life’s challenges
So, as we begin to challenge the “fears” of midlife, remember that perimenopause and menopause are not the end, but rather the beginning of a remarkable journey filled with countless opportunities for growth and fulfillment.
These are the years where we truly come into our own, embracing our unique power and potential. Let’s embark on this adventure with open hearts and open minds, embracing the beauty and wisdom that these life stages can bring… no tricks, just treats.
If you are ready to embrace and celebrate your midlife instead of fearing it, consider joining one of my virtual Small Group Concierge Wellness cohorts. Head to https://adriencotton.com/concierge-wellness/ to connect and chat about this highly successful and empowering program.