We’ve come a long way?
Or, do we have a long way to go?
I’m not sure which is the truer statement. For most of my adult life, I was on a track believing we (society) had come a long way—particularly in how we talk about sex, religion, race, and women’s rights. Now that I am in midlife, those thoughts are getting called into question regularly.
I can tell you this: I’m worried. I’m worried about women.
I’m worried about women not having access to awesome information— awesome information about their own health. I’m worried about some of the negative messaging women have taken in over the years. I’m worried about the women who are getting turned away from doctors. I’m worried about women who think they are all alone. I’m worried about women suffering in silence. I’m worried about their physical health, mental health and emotional health. I’m worried about women who have compromised quality of life. I’m worried about women who are tired, in pain or discomfort (physical or emotional) and burned out. I’m worried about those same women who don’t even know they truly matter; that they deserve quality answers, a place to go to talk it out, a community to offer clarity and support. I’m also worried about their partners and families too. And I’m worried about the divorce rate in midlife. And I’m worried about diseases such as obesity, dementia and osteoporosis. I’m not worried that we won’t live longer than the generation before us (because I believe science can keep us alive)—but I am worried that we may not enjoy life to its fullest vitality in our 70s, 80s and 90s if we can’t take time out of our hectic lives NOW to put our own name at the top of our to-do lists. And forget our 70s & 80s. I’m worried about women now.
Whew. That was a lot. Thank you for allowing me to get that off my chest.
Contrary to what you may see on my business card, social media profiles and website, it’s not menopause that fascinates me as much as what women are willing to put up with.
Whenever I say that phrase, people immediately think I’m referring to “putting up with” the inconvenient things such as the irregular or heavy bleeding, the hot flashes, the night sweats, the sleepless nights, the brain fog and any number of experiences that are common during midlife transition.
Yes, it’s true, I am an advocate for women deserving quality of life and finding the root cause of any inconvenient and annoying aspects that accompany hormone fluctuations.
But what I really mean when I say, “what women are willing to put with” is this:
A culture that paints perimenopause and menopause with one giant negative brush
Eye-rolling, shaming and judging
Women live beyond the retirement party of their ovaries. Yet, menopause is largely misunderstood, feared, joked about and rarely celebrated
An overwhelming amount of confusing and conflicting information shared by advertisers, media outlets and the internet
Cultural and generational myths that are passed along without question (or discussion)
The memes (if only I had a dollar for every time someone has sent me the “7 Witches of Menopause” meme!)
Pop-up ads claiming you can “Lose your belly fat in just 7 days” whenever you google the word “menopause”
Competitiveness, as in “My hot flashes are worse than yours” [yes, someone actually said that to me]
Daughters who think mothers have all the answers, husbands who think wives have all the answers, women who think doctors have all the answers. Nobody having all the answers.
Physicians not wanting to write “perimenopause” on an extended health care form for fear it wouldn’t get approved by the insurance company (true story!)
Professionals saying: “You are too young,” “It’s just part of being a woman,” “Suck it up,” or “If you still have a period, it’s not menopause.”
OK…that last statement…that’s true. If you still have a period, it’s not menopause. It’s perimenopause. Menopause is one day. It’s the 12 month anniversary of your (very) last period. Perimenopause can be the 5 to 15 years of hormone fluctuations leading up to menopause.
The term perimenopause was only coined in the 1990s. That means that if your mother or grandmother said “going through menopause,” she likely meant going through perimenopause. Many doctors and health professionals were educated before this time as well, so while menopause is truly only one day on the calendar, the word is often incorrectly used to describe a wide range of experiences, and many use perimenopause and menopause interchangeably.
Take me for example. Why is my website called MenopauseChicks.com when I spend so much of time talking about perimenopause? To be honest, when I launched the site, I didn’t know all I didn’t know. And, women who turn to the internet for answers search using the word menopause 28 times more often than they search using the word perimenopause.
But that’s ok because as we work together to reframe menopause, the term “menopause chick” is more of a mindset, rather than a literal translation.
So what is a menopause chick?
A menopause chick is a woman who sees herself as smart, savvy, informed and proactive with her own health.
She is part of a revolution that is cracking open the conversation on all-things perimenopause and menopause and changinghow she talks about midlife transition with her family, friends and health care team. She is saying goodbye to any shame, judgment or stigma that she (or others around her) may have previously attached to the words perimenopause and menopause, and she is saying hello to wisdom, beauty and newfound confidence. She is committed to celebrating how awesome midlife really is—in whatever way that resonates for her.
A menopause chick may have spent years caring for others, and now she is committed to making her own health a priority; to nurturing her own
body, mind and spirit, eating well, moving daily and getting optimal sleep. She is also committed to reaching out for help and support when she needs it.
She understands that every woman’s journey is unique. What works for others may not work for her. Menopause chicks do not stay silent or “suck it up.” And they do not support advertisers who offer “magic wand” solutions. Instead, they are wise consumers. They know what questions to ask so they can be as informed as possible, and choose the journey that’s right for them.
As members of one of the largest communities in the world, menopause chicks discuss their journey with people who love them, tap into the expertise of professionals they trust and participate openly in communities of support. They understand they are not alone. And when other women open up about their experiences, menopause chicks assure them they are not alone either.
Menopause chicks love and celebrate midlife.
The post What is a Menopause Chick? appeared first on Menopause Chicks.