With thanks to Estrogem for sponsoring this post.
Hot flashes are awful.
Even your hands sweat. Your wrists get all wet. The back of your neck gets clammy. You want to strip in public–which is generally not a good idea.
You start to forget things. I’m starting to make grammar mistakes and silly spelling mistakes–and I never do that. The other day I texted my son-in-law with “here” instead of “hear”. I haven’t gotten something like that wrong since I was 6.
Your sex drive can plummet, too. You start to feel foggy. It can be harder to focus, and harder to motivate yourself.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that I get a LOT of emails from women in their late 40s and 50s saying that they feel as if they should just accept it–life as it was is over, and this is the new me now.
And all too often, the new me does not involve sex.
The drive is gone. It’s not as fun. It’s a lot of work. And haven’t we earned the right, after all these years, to just focus on what we ACTUALLY want to do, instead of always having to focus on what our husbands want? Is that really too much to ask when the hormones are going all wacky and you’re tired anyway?
Okay, ladies. I get it. I do.
I’m in the throes of it, too.
But let me tell you something: Menopause does not have to be awful.
Certainly there are changes that we’re going to have to get used to. But menopause does not mean your life is over. Menopause signals a new stage in your life, and that stage can actually be quite fun!
You have no more periods (or at least lighter and far more infrequent ones). Think about that for a moment. No. More. Periods.
No more having to look at a calendar to figure out if you really want to go away that weekend. No more wondering if a trip to the beach will be a bad idea that day. No more having to be afraid you’ve leaked, you’ve forgotten a tampon, or you just plain feel icky.
In our early years we’re often focused on other people’s satisfaction and happiness: especially our husbands and our kids. With menopause often comes a stage of life where kids don’t need us in the same way anymore, and our relationship with our husbands has often gotten “into the groove” (or at least a good pattern), so you can ask yourself: “who do I want to be? What makes me essentially me?”
This is a great time to try new things.
- Eliza Hamilton, wife of the now famous Alexander Hamilton, didn’t start her Orphan Asylum until she was 49–and she continued working there until her death at 94. Before then she had dedicated her life to her husband and her kids, and she wanted to give back.
- My aunt, an anaesthetist, started flying around the world three times a year to do medical missions trips, beginning when she was 53. She continued until she retired at 70, visiting The Philippines, Nepal, Rwanda, and others.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t write her books until she was 64.
- Susan Boyle appeared on Britain’s Got Talent when she was 48.
- Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister when she was 54.
- Martha Stewart started her magazine at 49.
- Corrie ten Boom was arrested by the Nazis for hiding Jews when she was 52; her speaking and writing ministry followed after the war, and lasted until she died at age 91.
Menopause does not mean your life is over. Menopause means your new life may just be beginning.
So please, let’s not give up. I know this is such a difficult time for many women. Night sweats can mean you never get a good night’s sleep. You can be cranky. Irritable. And really frustrated that you don’t feel at home in your body anymore.
But may I suggest something?
Please don’t settle for the good years being behind you.
When you hit menopause, there’s almost this lightbulb that goes off that says,
“I don’t need to care so much about what other people think. I can rest in who I know God made me to be.”
If at 50 you are still not part of the cool kid’s club, it is high time you build your own clubhouse and invite all the other interesting, passionate and amazing people who never made the cut either. You clubhouse will be more fun, do bigger things for the world, and have way better cookies. Promise.
I used to be SUPER sensitive about the idea of leaving my 40’s behind, when I hit 50 recently. The dreaded “middle-aged” label seemed like such a dead end. But now I realize: God really has given those with more experience, more to share with others – and more ability to be heard! Of course, we have plenty to share with the world when we’re in our 20’s, 30’s and 40’s… but once we hit 50 we have all that same insight AND the benefit of years of experience AND the benefit of people giving us credit for that experience! It’s actually kind of fun!
You can stop worrying so much about whether you’re pretty enough. You often get extra energy to start a new exercise regimen, as you start to realize that if you don’t take care of your body now, your senior years may be difficult.
I have learned to be comfortable in my body but to still work hard to take care of it so I can live longer and stringer for God. And I have learned marriage gets sweeter year after year if you keep investing in your love.
You often have more time and more money than you did a decade ago, so you can get together with friends more. You can pursue new hobbies. You can take pilates! You can spearhead a charity.
And in the middle of that, as you get more confident in yourself, you can even get more confident in your sexuality.
You can embrace sexual confidence because you’re more willing to speak up about what you need. You start to realize that if you don’t get this right now, you’re never going to get it right! So you can start telling yourself, “Sex was created for me, too, and I’m going to make sure that I get all the benefits of sex myself!” You stop thinking of sex as something that’s for your husband, and you start realizing, “I need to make sure this is for both of us!”
I have seen too many women go a different path. They just give up. They use menopause as justification for not having to try in different areas of their lives. But that’s just sad to me. You have so much ahead of you!
And if menopause has knocked you flat, I feel you. I do. But you can get back up again!
One of the things that I’ve found has really helped me with feeling foggy and with hot flashes–well, has really helped me feel more like me–is Estro-Gem. It’s not ONLY for menopause. It works to balance hormones and to help your body regulate your hormones so they don’t go all wacky on you, and you don’t get as many “bursts” that can cause hot flashes. But it can also help regulate the ups and downs over the month so that your libido is higher, so that you don’t get as many “lows”, so that you just in general feel better.
I’m so glad that EstroGem is a big sponsor of this blog, because they sent me a bunch of freebies. 🙂 And I take them everyday, and they really are great.
EstroGem is quite an affordable supplement, too. It comes in several pricing tiers:
- 1 bottle – 39.95
- 2 bottles – 69.95 + free shipping
- 3 bottles – 89.95 + free shipping
And use the coupon Sheila20 to get 20% off all orders!
I was talking to a woman in Australia who hosted me when I was in Melbourne, and she said that finding the right herbal supplement made a huge difference for her at menopause, too. She’s got her life back again.
In fact, I’ve been talking to a lot of women who are three or four years older than me (one of them thought she was finally done menopause, when she got her period again after 11 months and 2 weeks! You’re not done until you haven’t had a period in a year). And they all say the same thing:
When you start to feel badly, don’t just push through. Don’t think there’s something wrong with you. Don’t think you just need to try harder. Find something that works.
For some, that is HRT (hormone replacement therapy). For others, an herbal supplement can really work. We’re all different. But if you’re struggling, please talk to your doctor. Do some research on different herbs. I’d encourage you to try. Because your life is not over. Your sex life is not over. The best years of your life, and even the best years of your marriage, can actually be ahead of you. You have time now to focus on what makes you unique and what ignites your passion. You have time to focus on your marriage. Your identity as a mom (if you are a mom) isn’t front and centre anymore. So you can move forward!
Turning 30 and then 40 didn’t bother me, but 50 was a little daunting. Good gravy, how did I get to be a half-century old?! But honestly, at this age, I feel more confident about who I am and what I know, as well as all the things I don’t know. Although I’m not as young or as physically strong as I used to be, I’m more vibrant and stronger where it really matters: inside. And my relationships—with my husband, my children, my friends, and my God—are stronger too.
I’ll be talking tomorrow about the ups and downs in marriage that happen over time. If you’re still in the young years, you may find it interesting to know what’s ahead. But the big thing to remember, no matter your age, is this: When something knocks you flat, fight back. Do what you can. Don’t give up. Life as big a life as you can. This life is such a blessing–and I don’t want to miss out on the chance to do amazing things and enjoy what God has given me.