That’s right, MENOPAUSE! And, as the caption says, I mean for us to celebrate! I am 55 years old, and menopause has hit me like a wrecking ball. In desperation, I even bought a guidebook to menopause to get a bearing on what is happening to me!
If you haven’t dealt with these mind-boggling (literally) changes to your reproductive organs, you may not be aware of the implications of menopause. We do not talk enough about it. That needs to change; I’m convinced we should openly share about menopause and its stages. We should celebrate a new chapter in our lives and help each other during the physical adjustments. I am going to have a party.
When I first realized I was going through menopause, I was confused. I felt like an internal monster was toying with me. Out of nowhere, no matter the temperature, I would feel the heat rise in my chest, neck, and forehead. Sometimes I felt like I would faint, and all I wanted was a cool breeze. I didn’t care if it was from a fan, the outdoors, or even the refrigerator!
This strange shift in my body brought its own emotions: embarrassment for unexplainable heat, anger because my husband could not understand my plight, and enlightenment of yet another way women are unique.
Most of us whom God has created capable of bearing new life have accepted menstruation. Many of us have endured the discomforts of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, accepting their roles in motherhood. Whether we produce children or not, God has shaped our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual beings to produce and sustain others’ lives.
To create these beautiful capacities, God gives us bodies that produce estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and oxytocin hormones. At some point, our hormones shift dramatically to catapult us into a new phase: what I call the wisdom phase.
My body has been changing since my late forties, but I didn’t fully comprehend what was going on for a long time. Only in the last six months or so have I fully embraced this transition. I am understanding that my body isn’t turning on me but rather reminding me to celebrate a life full of love. This process of transformation we call menopause can remind us of our unique, God-endowed blessings and burdens.
Coming to an appreciative mindset hasn’t been easy. I remember reading in my guidebook on menopause, “As the ovaries [run out] of eggs, so the levels of the hormones normally produced by the ovaries reduces, and this causes symptoms of menopause.” [I] These words deeply saddened me. My body is no longer producing eggs, I thought. I am no longer able to produce life. I had no desire to have another child, but I felt tender as my body told me I could no longer do so. I saw in a new way all my sisters who, for various reasons, could not bear children. I feel more keenly the pain of so many women left in longing. Now, I better understand their pain, and I am sorry for not fully empathizing with them earlier.
My body is going through menopause, and all is well. I am concluding a vital stage in the life cycle that should not embarrass or anger me; it should be an occasion to celebrate. SHE is telling me, well done, my good and faithful servant.
[i] The Smart Woman’s Guide to Menopause, Topix Media, 2022.