Rejecting the scaremongering around the menopause and working towards a positive transition. 

When I got pregnant, I was “warned” that birth would be painful, that I would probably need drugs to cope, that a woman’s body is inherently flawed when it comes to birth, that I should prepare for the possibility of medical assistance, that it would be an ordeal, that I would lose my dignity, lose my identity, that drugs and medicine could “save me” and that I should wish I was a man, as at least he did not have to go through with it.

Back then, I chose to reject that for all three of my pregnancies. I did hypnobirthing. I learnt that my body is perfectly designed to birth a baby. I learnt that the negative messages from society have a self-fulfilling prophecy, increasing the chances of birth being a painful ordeal. I learnt that birth can be ecstatic, a right of passage, fulfilling, powerful, something to be celebrated, revered and treated with the utmost care and respect. I learnt that One Born Every Minute was an example of all that is wrong with birth in our society. I reclaimed my own power and pride in my matrescence. (My computer is trying to autocorrect that word. It doesn’t even know what it means. Yet. It means the journey into motherhood, in the same way that adolescence is the journey into adulthood).

And so now, my motherhood journey is almost complete. My children are grown and flown. Now my journey into menopause is underway. And guess what? There’s an echo. I’m being “warned” that it will be an ordeal, that I will probably need drugs to cope, that my body is not designed to do this (apparently, evolutionarily speaking I should be dead), that I am “depleted”, that my body is inherently flawed, that I will lose my mind, lose my identity, that I should wish I was a man, at least he doesn’t have to go through this. I am being reminded repeatedly that my body cannot cope with these changes, that I am awaiting some form of hell, that I will be “lucky” if I get through it smoothly. I wonder what self-fulfilling prophecies are in play here? There is irony here too. I’ve been told all my life that the hormonal cycle is responsible for women’s emotional troubles, and as soon as it is ebbing and passing, we are told that the troublesome hormones need replacing again with HRT. The level of misunderstanding and misogyny blows my little female mind.

I choose to reject that. I am selectively reading up on menopause. I am learning that my body and mind is designed to transform into something powerful. I am learning that only five other species of mammal go through menopause, and that after menopause, all the females move into a position of leadership. I am learning that the role of grandmother/wise crone was indeed a very valuable, if not essential, survival mechanism for many human societies.  I am learning that I am likely to care less what people think, I am likely to grow in confidence and be much more true to me. I am likely to find my voice. I am likely to shed the “good girl” syndrome and give no fucks. I am likely to slow down, be wiser, more compassionate, more loving, more present. I am shedding the old me that conformed to society’s expectations of the good girl, the sexy woman, the perfect mother. I am genuinely looking forward to this transformation, and if society won’t celebrate with me, I shall have to do it myself. The shedding might not be easy. I am having to take a really good hard look at myself, my past, my regrets, my current relationships, my ambitions, my identity. I am having to slow down, listen to my body, respect and create my space. I will not buy into the idea that as a woman, my menopausal journey is worthless at best, and shameful and faulty at worst. It is not. And I am not. So please, stop telling me that I need to take drugs to deny and avoid what is a process that would be celebrated and revered in any other non-patriarchal society.

If you want support and help navigating your menopausal journey with positivity, contact me. Mia Scotland

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