We need it all.
Yes, that about sums it up. We. Need. It. All. It sounds like just another half-hearted platitude about women and their needs. But I mean it. And I mean it in this way.
Transitioning out of the reproductive window is a multi-year, multi-faceted journey. And, yes, every woman will experience it differently. Right now, she doesn’t know where to go, who to trust, nor what to do. I mean, Dr. Google can only take us so far, right? And to make it even more challenging, the answers to those questions depend on where she is in the process, what she knows already and if she needs interventions big or small.
In my own research about all things menopause, I have come across everything you can imagine. Workshops for spiritual awakening with images of women howling at the moon. A plethora of natural supplements that are effective but challenging to understand how and when to use them. Lectures from conventionally-trained physicians associated with the North American Menopause Society discussing new research on hormone replacement therapy. A ton of blog posts and list-cles (43 (!) symptoms of menopause, top 10 natural remedies for menopause, etc.) that were not at all helpful and often inaccurate. I also found clear voices, compelling research, luminaries in the space and authentic, heartful stories of lived experiences.
So, tell me, literally, where do we even start? What are we supposed to do?
Not sure exactly what we are supposed to do, we do what we always do. We take matters into our own hands.
Some women will seek data.
Data, data and more data.
Some women will educate themselves first.
What are estrogen and progesterone, how do they behave and how does that change over time?
Some women will reach out to other women.
Because a little reassurance goes a long way.
Some women will rely on medical experts
Gynecologist or primary care physicians as trusted allies.
Some women will collaborate with health coaches, alternative therapists.
Because it takes a village.
Some women will DIY the hell out of it.
Self-directed research, self-experimentation, mixing and matching and figuring it out on their own.
A woman cannot really predict what she will need, when she’ll need it and to what extent. But I’d bet good money that, over time, she will need to educate herself, connect with other women, find effective treatment in supplements or other therapies, know her hormone levels and how they change over time to gain real personal insights and rely on experts who have a sophisticated and modern view of menopause. She also may need to be reminded that she is not alone and that she is cool, hip and powerful.
She will need all of these things.