Changing The Narrative About Menopause And Midlife
If you asked me if I’d change anything about my life, I’d honestly say no. Apart from maybe learning to skate and ski as a child instead of still being too nervous to do those now! But generally, even the bad stuff has led me to now and I wouldn’t want to change that. I am passionate about changing the narrative about menopause and midlife though!
When early menopause hit at 41, it threw me all over the place. I was devastated as I’d been trying for a second child. I felt suddenly catapulted into middle age and just wasn’t ready. So I floundered around for a while – quite some while actually, questioning everything about myself, who I was now as a suddenly infertile woman, whose only knowledge of menopause was that it happened to much older women, meant I was therefore already old and that life was downhill from now on.
Until I realized I was being ageist against myself. Ageism is prejudice against our future selves, says anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite. I was buying in to all the negative stereotypes about midlife and older women. I was accepting society’s narrative that menopause was a bad thing to be feared and ageing something to be fought against. I was assuming beauty was only for the young instead of actually being ageless. I’d bought all the anti-ageing products. I thought my value was diminishing as I became less relevant in a world that worships youth.
It took me a long time to feel me again and to finally realize I have everything going for me as a post-menopausal woman. I stopped being anti-ageing. We all age and trying to be anti-ageing is a bit like being anti-nighttime. It’s going to get you nowhere fast. I realized I needed to change a lot about my life. I wanted to start being proactive about how I spent my time rather than doing what I had always done because that’s what paid the bills.
That’s when I embarked on my mission. To change all that bollocks that had gripped me so acutely when I got the early menopause diagnosis. I don’t want any woman to fear menopause. It’s a natural rite of passage and a glorious one at that. I want women to embrace midlife as a wonderful time of transition and feel the power that comes as an older, more confident woman. And to show women that it’s not the end, merely a new beginning.
I now know there are many ways we can naturally help ourselves through menopause. We don’t have to be helpless in the face of hot flushes and anxiety etc. We can take back control and manage our own experience of this important transitional period in our lives. There are things we can do and habits we can change or cultivate that will make it all so much more manageable than society or the media would have us believe!
Bizarrely, I’ve become known for talking about menopause (I’ve even been on BBC 4 Woman’s Hour talking about it) and women sometimes make a beeline for me at events to talk about this very topic! I never could’ve forecast that for myself! But I’m all about ending the taboo.
So an early menopause was the trigger for my own journey of self-discovery and reinvention – and now also my new life as an entrepreneur! My priorities shifted and I wanted to have some real purpose in my life rather than just doing what I’d always done. I am already at least halfway through life. But if I consider what I achieved between 20-50, I see no reason I can’t achieve just as much between 50-80. (And average UK life expectancy for women is 83.)
I now believe that apart from hopefully only a short period of decline at the very end of life, if we look after ourselves (and I mean really look after ourselves), we can just get better with age, not worse. I did my first half marathon at 50, my first modelling gig at 51 and I’ve built three websites since I was 49. I’m not slowing down. I’m cranking up!
I want so much to share this message with more women who may be struggling or stuck in midlife, that I have now made this my business. I set up the Magnificent Midlife Members Club which is an online membership for women in midlife and beyond. That’s where you can get the tools, strategies and support you need to live the very best next stage of life.
We have video workshops each month on a wide range of topics like Financial Freedom, Intimacy, Menopause, Starting Your Own Business, Weight Loss and Exercise, Nutrition, Optimal Energy, Better Relationships, Creativity etc. We have online meetups where members from all over the world compare notes, maybe set some goals, get support and accountability for moving forward. We have a private online community where members can interact in real time and get easy access to me.
I’ve basically created what would’ve helped me when on my own midlife wander through the wilderness feeling rather lost! I also now offer 1-to-1 Midlife Mentoring because some women prefer a quick burst of wisdom and clarity to get them back on track. And there are courses too on all sorts of midlife things you may need help with. There’s also my online magazine The Mutton Club which is where all this started. I wanted to turn the negative connotation of being ‘mutton’ on its head and make it something good not bad! There are tons of resources on all sorts of midlife-related topics on there.
Finally this year I also launched the Magnificent Midlife Podcast where I profile amazing yet regular women doing rather fabulous things in midlife and beyond. I’m having an absolute blast with that and you can share in the inspiration and the giggles on any good podcast app.
So that’s why these days you’ll find me focused on changing the narrative about menopause and midlife. Out of something that at the time felt pretty awful, has come something pretty fantastic. I wouldn’t wish to change my early menopause for anything, because it has brought me so much!