Menopause can be the Happiest Time of Your Life
There’s a lot to be said about the sadness of perimenopause, what it represents, and how it makes women feel. I know, because I’ve had plenty to say about it. Profound life changes which are born out of loss, such as perimenopause, will naturally involve grief, as many women will attest.
But there’s also a lot that should be said about the happiness of actual menopause. No, it is not fun to age, lose your fertility, and watch your body morph into a permanent state of middle age as it begins its final descent into death. But we’re all going there whether we like it or not, so perhaps it might serve us better to think about “now," and instead think about “then” when it gets here.
The obvious upside to actual menopause is no more menstrual cycles. The inability to no longer conceive and give birth notwithstanding, I don’t know a woman alive who finds the cessation of menstrual cycles to be a cause for sadness.
So let’s just say the way it is and say it out loud: menstruation is a burden that every woman must bear, and it’s not a happy one. It serves a useful and holy purpose when we bring children into this world. But outside of that, well, I would gladly pass on menstrual cycles if given other options or methods by which I could procreate. I feel certain I hold the majority opinion on that,too.
But menopause is so much more than just “losing the religion of procreation.” Profound and vast physical, emotional, and psychological changes occur in menopause, which often gives rise to a new voice in women – and let’s just say it’s not a mousy one either. Dr. Louann Brizendine, physician, neurobiologist, and author of the book The Female Brain, calls it “a new reality with a take-no-prisoners-view.”
Militant connotations aside, she says it well.
Menopause frees women of the compulsion to seek approval and validation from others. That is not to say we are handed a get-out-of-jail-free card in menopause which gives us permission to steam roll everyone in our path. But I can speak from experience. Worrying and fretting over what others may think of us, as so many of us do as younger women, is no longer something the average woman in menopause is inclined to do. If that doesn’t give you “glad britches” sisters, nothing will!
Sill need more convincing? Consider this: previous accepted notions that we graduate from college, establish a career, and retire at the age of 65 are not considered economically feasible anymore, but it is great news for women in menopause!
A woman in menopause often finds herself with creative and productive energy spilling out everywhere, looking for a place to be of good use. Now that we are all facing the prospect of having to work well into our 70s rather than retiring in our 60s as we previously expected, a new career choice in our 50s or 60s is no longer considered to be “late to the party” but rather an economic necessity! Carpe Diem, menopause mavens! Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!
There are plenty of other reasons to celebrate menopause too. Because, let’s face it, an empty nest is really not that bad. How about peace and quiet where there might have been chaos, more restful sleep, time to read books, take languishing baths, and yes, start a new career if you wish?
So if you’ve been thinking that menopause is signaling the end of life as you have known it, well, you’re right. It is. But it’s also the beginning of your life as you may have been dreaming it for a very long time - and seriously, ladies? How bad can that really be?
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women’s health and a women’s freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.