February 28, 2011

Thanks to one of my former students, here is an episode where the Girls discuss menopause and menstruation. Some interesting topics come up, including the fact that menarche, menstruation and menopause are often shrouded in mystery; many women do not know what to expect at the beginning or the end of their reproductive years. It’s my experience that we work ourselves up over the unknown – the monster under the bed seems scary until you get a good look.

It’s also my observation that cues from close friends or relatives at least partially shape our own expectations and experiences. Sadly, the negativity, shame, mystery and “hush-hush” approach to menarche, menstruation and menopause is then passed on to those around us. Any choice to shed some light on the experience or to approach menstruation in a different manner is the choice to make a significant change in your own life and in the lives of those around you.

Of all the women I know, few are comfortable talking about menstruation or menopause and even fewer want to discuss anything positive about either.  I typically ask my female clients if they know how their mother experienced menopause. Many do not know, and many women who are going through menopause now have mothers who never went through a natural menopause, due to hysterectomy-happy docs from 20-30 years ago.

Take this as your reminder to ask you mother and/or grandmothers about their experiences with menopause, if you have not already. You can also take this as an invitation to approach menopause when the time comes more like Blanche – open to possibility, ready for anything and celebrating the accompanying freedom.

About Camille Freeman, DCN, RH (she/her)

Hi there! I'm a clinical herbalist and nutritionist specializing in fertility and menstrual health. I run the Monday Mentoring community of practice and also offer continuing education programs for practicing herbalists and nutritionists (Check out this year's Deep Dive!). I'm also a former professor with the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I taught physiology, pathophysiology, and mindful eating for 17 years. 

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