Living the M life is about embracing change and recognizing that yes, you're awesome.
One of the rare times that my twin and I were together in California, we went for an early morning walk. We walked into downtown Martinez and ended up at states coffee. According to my other sister's boyfriend, yes, there are three of us, this is the best coffee in town. While enjoying a really good cup of coffee, I saw these candles and had to take a picture. I thought hell ya my future is bright because even though I'm in the post-baby-making years, it doesn't mean my life is over. I believe that menopause is nothing more than another life experience; a journey that all women go through, that makes us stronger and more aware of what life has to offer. What we realized, which is what I am sharing, is you need to be prepared and have a plan for what (potentially) will come your way.
Your body will deceive you. Take care of it.
A good friend of mine said in casual conversation, “you know, your body will deceive you at 50.” At the time, he was 58 and I was 46. I remember it vividly because at the time I had two thoughts; 1) who does he think he is, he has no idea how healthy I am; I exercise, I eat healthy, I am doing everything right and 2) there is no way that's going to be me. Well, fast forward and all I can say is, he was right. When hormone levels drop, change is inevitable. But, there are natural things that you can do to make the transition less painful. Read our post on The Hormone Cure.
Establish a daily maintenance routine - it’s important.
It’s vital at this point in your life to have a take-care-of-yourself plan. Whether that be exercise or beauty or meditation or all of the above. Having a plan and a daily ritual makes you appreciate what you have and helps to keep stress in check which is very much needed during this challenging transition. Whenever I read about “self-care” I used to roll my eyes. Now, not so much. I believe it’s more important than you think to make your needs a priority. Not to mention when you make yourself a priority, like completing a beauty service or a workout or spend time getting centered, you feel so much better.
Libido - you can get it back (if you want to).
This was a bummer for me but, not as big of an issue as it was for my husband. Unfortunately, sex maybe 10 percent of your relationship but its 90 percent of what keeps you connected. I’m pretty sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. I love my husband and want to keep that connection. Not to mention, according to Dr. Maxine Barish-Wreden, of Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, CA, it’s possible to enjoy a healthy and satisfying sex life well into your 40s, 50s and beyond. I remember what good sex is and therefore, in an effort to use it and not lose it, I’ve been actively looking for ways to improve and keep my drive alive. Talk to your gynecologist; there are drugs that can help. If you're more about natural remedies, I highly recommend The Hormone Cure as a resource. You may also want to experiment with sex toys or role-play or therapy. It’s worth it if you really want your libido back.
If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that I’m a very social person. I guess I am, but being social doesn’t mean you have friendships you cherish. I feel fortunate, especially as I continue down my life’s journey, to have a group of girlfriends to share it with; women who don’t judge, just support; who are there with a hug or a text to say I miss you or what are you up to. Too often women make their family a priority (as they should) and forget about the power of female friendships. Once your kids are gone, female friendships are so important. I’m not saying that your significant other and your family aren’t important, rather I'm saying that having these tight connections with women means you aren’t alone as you meander on this journey of change. Embrace your girlfriends and hold them tight, reach out often. Maintaining strong female bonds is empowering, so if you haven’t already, reconnect with your girlfriends.
Brain fog is a thing, but its temporary.
Everyone says it starts by forgetting names. You can see the face, but the name is most definitely not on the tip of your tongue or you can’t think of the fabulous place you ate at last week or the name of that awesome Netflix show. Unfortunately, this is a real thing. I literally have no short-term memory. How did anyone survive without google or smartphones or post-its? I literally have to write everything down, which is fine, this is the new normal. There are supplements that help with brain fog and I have tried the herbal route, lion’s mane and I can’t say that I have seen a difference with recall. There is hope, however, according to this New York Times article, on memory loss and menopause, this too shall pass. Once you get through menopause, the fog apparently will lift. I’m not there yet, but I do see light at the end of the tunnel.