Menopause is an inevitable fact of life
Menopause is the time when a woman stops ovulating and having her period with an opportunity to explore the dynamics underlying this change. This time can be brief or can last years. Much of what is written below has been my journey, and have come out the other side…So if this is where you’re at, or are looking to be one day read on…
Seen from big picture-
At a big picture level there is also a shift in how a woman sees herself at this time and who she can become once freed from the needs of her physical body that are focussed on others. She no longer has the power to bleed but retains the wisdom and power of her blood within her always. So the more intuitive state and take no prisoners attitude of the pre menstrual phase is available to her all through the month instead of just for a few days! This is why the older woman becomes invisible unless she steps into this power and becomes a force to be reckoned with!
You probably know of the much publicised symptoms that result from immense hormonal upheaval as her oestrogen drops and her system reorients itself to not having babies. For some women these symptoms are a minor blip on the radar, for others they can be totally debilitating. The hormonal changes result in a range of physical effects such as hot flushes and sweats, mental fogginess, anxiety, mood swings, dry itchy skin, hair loss, increased belly fat, sleeplessness, loss of bone density, decreases in libido, vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls which can make sex painful. To add insult to injury she may also be subjected to a higher level of vaginal infections such as thrush for a while.
A time of uncertainty and change-
She is no longer the mother as she once was (menopause often occurs as kids have left home), or now cannot be. Along with the empty nest her body is forcing her to face the undeniable facts of getting older, even of death. She may have fears around her sexuality, as along with the physical and emotional changes she also faces a lot of social conditioning around that fact that older women are not generally seen as sexual beings, although this is very slowly starting to change.
Her body is not forcing her to nurture others as it once did with so now there is more room
for herself and her female psyche will challenge her to question who she is, which can bring either anxiety or a sense of freedom. It can be a time of great unknown and uncertainty. Sometimes a woman will move straight from motherhood to grandmotherhood which gives her a renewed sense of self without having to confront the question of who is she if she is not a mother?
As part of this questioning process a woman will often look to try new things for herself, to make long desired changes and seek to “sort things out”. This can involve being less available for others in the old way of putting herself last which can be challenging for those around her. Yet as she steps into her power she learns to support through empowering others as she empowers herself, rather than just “doing it all for them”.
Menopause often causes a woman to reassess her relationship, as with the children gone there is less room to hide what is, or is not working. When sex is less frequent it can be difficult for her to want to stay close and intimate to her partner as she becomes this forgetful, emotional, sweaty, and lowered libido being. But communication, intimacy and sex is what she most needs to help her stay grounded and connected as she becomes more connected with herself.
Coming out the other side-
As a result of all this searching menopause ends with a woman feeling more comfortable with who she is and where she is going- she has more of an internal locus of control- she looks to herself for answers rather than those around her. With less of a focus on others and the homefront she can be more focussed on the outside world and take an interest in local, community or world social events. If she is able to stand in her power as a well rounded, rich and powerful being rather than succumbing to the belief that for a woman to have value she must either be Hollywood beautiful or be in the role of the mother. Sex becomes less about creating babies or merely providing pleasure for the partner and more about self pleasure, sharing pleasure, fun, love and spiritual connection- a pathway for her to nurture her inner radiance.
How you can support yourself in this time:
Become informed about the menopausal process, understand and make conscious choices for yourself- this is part of developing your internal locus of control. Understanding about menopause helps you create a life post menopause that is rich and inviting!
Listen to your body and what it is telling you about what works for it.
Eat well- find what way of eating works for you.
Indulge in physical exercise, include working with weights to keep you active, strong and positive. Regular exercise is known to be as effective as an antidepressant!
There are huge range of hormonal, herbal and other treatments available that can support a woman through the physical symptoms but none that will “fix” it for each person. It can be a frustrating time finding what works but keep trying and develops a support system of friends and practitioners- GP, Naturopath, Counsellors, reading material etc.
Discover what menopause means for you, read up.
Set an intention for how you are going to journey through menopause and what you want from it.
The mental fogginess can disconnect us from our bodies so it is vital that we practice connection with it regularly to get grounded and maintain connection. Look forward to the increased mental clarity that occurs as menopause completes.
Learn to listen to yourself emotionally, learn to centre and hear your own intuitive wisdom.
Take time out to nurture yourself- can be as simple as a walk, bath, massage, yoga or meditation. Dancing (even in the living room to your favourite music) is a fabulous way to meditate as you move your delicious feminine body.
Learn some emotional intelligence skills to maximize the benefit and minimize the fallout
from your emotional intensity. See your emotions as a key to learning about yourself and where you are going.
Find someone you can share with, that you can be real with about what is happening for you, and will just listen or offer support if you need it. If you don’t belong to a women’s group join one or create your own.
Find ways to communicate with your partner about what is happening for you. Keep it short and to the point so he can hear you.
Be willing to discuss what is happening for you sexually. Sex is challenging during menopause as we shift from being hormone or ‘horny’ libido driven to making sex a choice of conscious exploration. We simply open to our selves and our bodies, rather than having an expectation of getting what we’re used to. We choose to see what happens when we get fully present with ourselves in the sexual space. We take time to really listen to our bodies, to go slow, to breathe more fully and let our pleasure arise from a deeper place. Depending on the individual, the pleasure can be deeper, more subtle than before, but no less satisfying, just different. Whatever happens, exploring your sexuality at this time will bring you a deeper, more loving connection with yourself, and if you include him, with your partner.
- Remember that having sex promotes elasticity in the vaginal tissues so having sensitive sex can help the symptoms reduce.
- Introduce self pleasuring into your life if you don’t already, use it to reawaken your body.
- Make time to simply explore your body’s responses to whole body touch without any expectations.
- A daily 10 min attention to your gspot (either yourself or your lover) can help keep you connected to yourself and your sexuality, even opening to its spiritual dimension (without using it as foreplay, making it your time).
- Try a Jade Egg to help strengthen your vaginal muscles which act as a sexual pump and will stimulate your sexual energy.
- Know too that for a woman desire doesn’t necessarily come before arousal so being open to sex can allow desire to come.
As your sexuality changes, listen to your man’s fears and concerns, as this validates him in his sexuality and will help you maintain a strong connection in your relationship. Invite him to go deeper with you. Be open to trying some different things, aim for win/win solutions.
Seek conscious sexuality practices that take sex into a place of nurture and awakening rather than performance. It also helps awaken your inner radiance and so much more! Seeking pleasure is actually part of your physical and emotional wellbeing- see more on the link below.
Be open to your intuition about anything that may be driving you to “clean house” about the issues in your life, many gifts can come from this powerful time of learning about yourself.
Taking time in your lovemaking to slow down and get more present will yoursel
Make sure you attend a Power of Yoni & The Wisdom Within Workshop, a place where you can explore the above and take some big steps towards becoming the woman you can be!
Reliable and regular support when you need it, via phone (1800 TANTRA) or skype
Getaways for you and your man to reconnect
Understanding your hormonal picture: a sensible alternative
The importance of sharing the experience: menopause chit chat