My Mother went through menopause and she shared her story with me

My Mother went through menopause and she shared her story with me

She is a Mother. Wife. Woman. Through menopause she found a new and a deeper earned sense of confidence with herself. She believes this is a time for growth and self reflection. She has disposed of fears and anxiety of her younger years and has replaced it with assertiveness, with self backing and self knowing. These are her golden years and she intends to embrace them. No, she is not useless and her life is not over. Ignore that bullshit. Change the channel. Unsubscribe. She's never felt better. Her children are grown. They've left. She's not empty, her nest is full because her heart is open to life, to new experiences and to her own full self expression. She seeks independence and is constantly developing her intimate and familial relations. "What next" is the most exciting phrase she's heard… indeed, what next? 


When I started my employment at Phenxx, I was like most young women, very uninformed and not really thinking much about menopause. I had always been close to my mum, and even though I was the youngest of five, felt that I was the closest with her of all my siblings. Learning about menopause and the struggles of it all. I wondered, what has my mother been through, how was that for her and why did she do it all in secret? Or was I just too young to know or understand? I wanted to know this part of my mother and sit down and talk with her about it. I am so grateful for the coaching and feedback that Phenxx provided me on this so that I could have this conversation with love and open curiosity with my mum. I am writing this reflection several weeks after the conversation and I am so surprised at how much closer we are. I thought we were close, but it is like I finally got to see her as a woman, an incredibly strong woman with real stamina and resilience. She had five children, raised us all and put us all first. When it was time for her to lean on us, she couldn't or didn't know how. Or we didn't know how to let her know she could. My mother is my hero, and thanks to this conversation inspired by my work at Phenxx, we are going to have a more real, honest and open relationship for the rest of her life. That brings me to tears. That brightens my heart and makes me understand the power of really knowing about the power of XX Chromosomes and why we called this series that. It is my greatest hope that although I keep this anonymous (for my mum at her request), that the transcribed words in our recorded conversation can inspire you to talk to your most loved family and friends. Reaching out to them, asking them about their journey and holding space for them to tell their story uninterrupted, and showing them they matter and they are being heard will do as much for you and your family as it has for me and mine.

May all women know the potent power of their XX chromosomes and the power of telling their story.

What word do you associate with menopause?

Release. As i believe when you enter menopause you release your younger selves worries and enter a phase in your life which embraces personal growth, self identity and image. 

What do you remember about your period?

It was awful! Every month yuck! I always had to be careful with what bottoms I wore and ensured that  I had protective pads that were reliable for long days and nights. I couldn't wear lighter coloured pants like white and beige so the options were limited. This was particularly hard, especially when I had to go to work where I couldn't change if an accident occurred. 

When I had my period, I limited my use of tampons due to my concern of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Therefore, this further enhanced my caution of purchasing an absorbent and comfortable pad suitable for my heavy flows which guarantee a quality night sleep without worry of leakage. 

How do you feel now that you no longer menstruate?

Amazing! I Can wear what I want when I want. I save a lot of money each month not having to buy sanitary items. I also don't have to worry about planning a summer holiday around my period or whether I bought enough pads if the trip did take place on the same dates as my period. 

What do you miss about your period?

Nothing! I no longer have to experience uncomfortable period pains and the constant worry about changing my pad every 3 hours. I also don't have the anxiety of no longer having to worry about period gush and whether I leaked on my pants at work or during leisure time.  Whenever I was out of the house and alone during my period, if there was a mirror I was constantly checking my rear end to ensure my pants were safe. However, if I had a friend or my partner was with me,  I was constantly asking them to check if things felt more wet than usual. 

What advice would you give to women who still menstruate?

Don't use tampons as they're extremely toxic to the body. However, if you do use these sanitary items, use sparingly and ensure you change your tampon every 3 hours and please DO NOT sleep with tampons inserted. 

To reduce period cramps I would recommend having chamomile tea and a hot water bottle/wheat bag. I also Increased my fibre intake during this time as this helped with regulation. By limiting meat, especially processed meats such as ham, bacon, pepperoni, prosciutto on my period this helped with reducing my cramps and blood clots. I also recommend increasing legume intake as I felt this always provided me with more energy and made me feel satiated. 

When I had my period it was without fail I would always crave ample amounts of chocolate. So If you feel like eating  chocolate, eat it, you deserve it! 

To ensure you feel comfortable purchasing good quality sanitary products as store brand products can cause leakage and can be quite uncomfortable. 

I would also recommend being as active as possible whether that be yoga, pilates or walking as this relieved my period cramps and also allowed me to feel better about myself. Taking time out for the day is crucial to do mindful activities such as meditation and gardening. It always made me feel calm and helped with easing negative emotions and feelings. 

How did you gain information about menopause and do you think there is enough credible information stating the changes occuring in your body 

Personally, my knowledge of menopause was very limited. I believe the topic of menopause is still very taboo and unspoken about. However, when there is discussion of menopause it is very negative and tends to be hurtful and sexist to women. From this negativity, I always viewed menopause as a time in life when a woman's ‘prime time’ was truly over, she could not succeed and was miserable. However, I feel as this is such an inaccurate representation of menopause because I'm still the same person despite the changes. I haven't turned into some grouchy hormonal monster. When I was approaching menopause I was not prepared and didn't know what I was going to experience resulting in feelings of unease. Therefore, I went to the Doctors. He said due to my age (45) I would be experiencing menopause soon. However, he did not educate me about what was going to happen or even provide me with a pamphlet of information. 

Did you have any idea your period was coming to an end?

No, but I got very heavy periods towards the end. I asked my friends if having a heavier flow were signs of menopause. They advised me that these could be an indication of menopause approaching. As I asked more information about what to expect and changes which will occur they said how every woman’s experience of menopause was different and symptoms will vary. Therefore, I was still lacking information and felt quite anxious. 

Were you prepared for menopause? How long did the transition take and what was that transition like for you on a personal level? What has menopause been like for you personally? 

No, I was not prepared at all. I felt  very uncertain as to when these heavy periods will end. I remember bleeding through everything and having to get pants on my lunch break from bleeding through my night pads. I would say the transition took around a year of heavy periods. However, as the months progressed I got less regular periods. 


The pros of menopause was that due to the increase of negative emotions circulating around menopause, I was expecting the worst. Yet, when it was my time my symptoms were quite mild compared to my friends who were saying how they experienced severe hot flashes and felt more anxious. 


The cons included mild hot flashes, heavy bleeding, brain fog, mood swings, irritability, night sweats, smell of my urine changed, felt tingly in my hands. 


When sleeping i experienced hot flashes which caused an increase of sweating. I had to change my clothes regularly throughout the night causing me to lose sleep and arrive at work tired and irritable. I was also experiencing  leakage on my bed as I gained less control of my pelvic floors when needing to urinate.  This caused me to leak the bed a couple of times. These times were usually quite annoying as my husband and I had to change the covers during the night. 


Did you wish you had beeding made for perimenopausal women to make this transition so that sleeping at least could be easier? Have you leaked the bed/mattress?

Yes! Of course! I wish there was an absorbent bedding option which was more accommodating for me during this time. As when I was experiencing hot flashes and leakage at night I always felt abnormal and was constantly wet from either sweat or urine. This took a toll on my mental health as I constantly felt uncomfortable in my own skin. If there was bedding which could be altered around this transition period, women would feel more comfortable and embrace this natural process as this would eliminate feeling like a burden and having to do extra washing for bed sheets and clothing. Truthfully, my mattress does have sweat stains as I was experiencing uncomfortable hot flashes which progressively got worse throughout the summertime. Some nights it was very unbearable as I was sweating profusely and my clothing was sticking to me. 



The Crone is a phase in a woman's life where she moves into wisdom keeper. She is free of the younger woman's worries and through menopause she becomes free and grounded in who she is. Do you have any reactions to this statement and where you are in life?


Through entering menopause I have become more free with my thinking as I have experienced more and seen more events in comparison to a younger individual.  I embrace notions I used to be self conscious about such as expressing my emotions and truly being myself. I feel more positive as I have this increased confidence that enables me to be more spontaneous in my day to day life. 


What are you able to voice now without the fears holding you back?

My mental and emotional health has never been better! I understand myself, my boundaries, what makes me happy and activities that are non-negotiable. These usually consist of going for a walk everyday, participating in a yoga or pilates class and meeting up with the girls fortnightly. Fears I experienced when I was younger usually consisted of anxiety. I always felt very anxious going out alone. Therefore, I preferred to be in my comfort zone which consisted of staying home alone most days. However, through growing and understanding myself I was able to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. I now LOVE to go out independently, with friends or with my partner to experience new activities and events.  


Another aspect I have been communicating to my friends and family is the importance of displaying healthy parental roles and reaching emotional intimacy with your partner. In the media  is the representation of families and the roles of parents displayed in the media. These portrayals include the mother representing a stressed housewife with responsibilities of the household and children.  Whilst the husband is always calm and not bothered by the ‘overly emotional woman’. This has not only created limitations for women but has portrayed fathers to be emotionally absent with their children and partners. This falsely educates young and vulnerable brains about toxic parental roles especially if their home environments are fragile. My partner and I believe it is important to have a healthy marriage and family by having honest communication, respect and spending quality time together. When we feel particularly emotional, we are honest and upfront as we try to understand how each partner is feeling and the cause of certain emotions and feelings. By building this emotional connection this has enabled me to constantly grow independently which has enabled both partners to maintain a sense of self and creates more balance in the relationship. In my younger days, being vulnerable and opening up was very intimate and was very difficult for me to achieve. However, through self reflection, healing of past experiences and creating a safe space with my partner this has enabled us to discuss our vulnerabilities and confide in eachother without fear of judgement.  





How has menopause impacted you? In what specific ways have you felt freedom or liberation in your menopausal years?


Menopause is such an imperative stage of a woman's life as her kids have grown up and she has this increased time to reflect and shift priorities from being a parent to reclaiming her independence. Personally, this brought a  sense of liberation as I no longer had feelings of dread from monthly periods. 


Therefore, there is a sense of freedom as I no longer have to deal with cramps and Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). 


The way I perceive the menstrual cycle for a woman displays her role in her life. For example, before a young lady obtains her period she is still developing and growing. She is naive and innocent. The next stage consists of a teen who has got her period. She believes she is invincible. Then there's the woman who is ready to bear a child. Her time of independence is limited as her child occupies most of her time. Then comes menopause. This chapter allows the woman to reclaim herself. It allows her to be selfish and spend an increased amount of time on herself. She understands her body best and finds comfort in solitude. This stage gave me freedom and allowed me to further  establish my identity. 


As menopause approaches, your children have become older and independent. Therefore, there is this increased time to accomplish activities that were difficult when raising children. I am now able to travel with my partner or friends and visit foreign places. I also accept things for what they are. This includes my body. As it is not as perky as what it was when I was younger. My breasts have become less dense and I have more wrinkles. These physical attributes display what I have endured through womanhood such as menstruating, pregnancy and menopause.  I am proud as I believe ageing is a privilege and an accomplishment every woman should be elevated to achieve.



How would you change the information to enable more women to understand menopause? 

I would love it if information could be spread through government initiatives such as handbooks, booklets, pamphlets/hotlines to enable perimenopausal women to understand the natural changes occurring within their bodies without feeling ashamed and embarrassed.  

How have you relieved menopausal symptoms 

I drank lots of chamomile tea as this allowed me to relax and calmed anxious thoughts. My friends used hormonal patches which can assist in balancing hormone levels. However, I never resorted to the patches. However, I did exercise more frequently through walking and yoga as this always allowed my mood to improve and gave me mental clarity. 


What is one thing you want everyone to know about menopause?    

Although there are challenges of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats.  Menopause is  truly a beautiful era as this gives you a break from societal expectations of fertility, allows you to be human and focus on your hobbies and goals. Self love in this time increases as you have been within your vessel for such an extended time that you learn to love every nook and cranny in such a significant matter. From this love you learn to speak to yourself in a higher manner and not shy away from insecurity. For all women, celebrate the stage you're enduring currently as everything is short term and soon you'll be experiencing another exciting adventure with your body.

Thank you mum. That was beautiful. I loved that. Thank you for sharing your story and allowing us to publish it for others to benefit from.

You're very welcome my darling, I love you very much.


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