Rethinking Perimenopause and Menopause.

Image by artist Galen Dara

Image by artist Galen Dara

I notice lately a lot of posts about peri menopause and menopause- this is great! The once taboo conversation is now well underway.

Menopause and its emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual manifestations are finally coming out of the shadowy closet labelled “women’s issues”.

Women are having frank and open discussions about their experience of “the change” … and it is definitely a change.

As a woman on the threshold of menopause myself (perimenopausal) I am loving the journey. I know this comment might buck the trend toward talking about menopause as a difficult and for the most part negative experience however I am excited to also talk of the gifts of menopause.

Why do so many women suffer through menopause and opt for HRT?

I propose that the real issue is not with menopause itself- which is after all an entirely natural biological process – but with the trappings of a modern, science led consciousness that seeks mastery over nature.

Could part of the trouble be that in our current culture women have largely been denied a natural hormonal, biological, birthing, and womb experience?

From teenage years (and now even younger) to middle age and beyond the effects of artificial tampering with the hormonal cycle, birthing, reproduction, menstrual flow, contraception, and hormonal regulation has to be considered when accounting for the huge number of women suffering from gynaecological issues.

Secondly, our 24/7 “always on” society that prizes and praises a “can do”, “just get on with it” attitude above a body centred consciousness lacks a multi-dimensional perspective and is still trapped in a mind- body- spirit -split.

Denial and fear of an integrated and fully expressed feminine consciousness still holds sway in our collective beliefs and attitudes… and has a dark legacy.

With more women having children later in life and running careers and families while going through the menopause, it is no wonder that women are struggling.

I know some feminists will take offense at my over emphasis on female biology- according to second wave feminists the reason women were demoted to the rank of second-class citizenry was precisely due to their “inferior” biology- but realistically how feasible is it for women to continue to push on through while their bodies (and souls) are undergoing major transformation. Could this not also be a cause of menopausal suffering?

I am not quite there yet, as I say I am on the threshold and just getting used to perimenopause and already I cannot be bothered with the many demands and distractions of the world- there is a thinness, an insubstantiality that no longer grips me. I am less seduced by the world.

I want to tune in, go deeper, sit in silence when I need to, rest when I need to, dream and experience the visions and wisdom of my inner life. I want to experience my true nature.

I don’t want to miss this initiation…the transition into a more mature, more rooted version of myself.

Ultimately menopause is an important preparation for an even bigger transition- death… something else our culture apparently does not do well.