About Menopause...

Tamarack Verrall
Posted March 10, 2018 from Canada

This is dedicated to Vweta for raising the subject of menopause here within our WorldPulse community, and to all who are writing about the horrendous treatment of old women in their communities. My Sisters, we all go through this at some point in time.

I have been lucky to have been surrounded in my adult years by so many women determined to expand horizons for women, researching old and creating new ceremonies that respect the stages of life that we go through. My own mother broke the silence around menstruation by speaking openly with me as a young girl, as her mother had been unwilling to speak about it, sending my mother to her older sister for explanation. When my mother went through menopause I had no idea. I did know that at some point the “child-bearing years” ended and we stopped bleeding. When she was going through it, I was far away in a different part of Canada and it was only when I began my own journey through menopause that I realized she had gone through it years before, with no mention of it.

Menopause came early for me, at age 45. By then I was aware of what it was, and had heard some stories from older friends. By then too, I had had many occasions to be in the company of groups of women exploring many forms of suppression of, silencing of and disrespect for women, including the dismissal of old women. I had been able to take part in what we call Crone Circles in which we meet by sitting in order of age, from youngest to oldest, to talk together, to honour the oldest women in the circle, to have the oldest and youngest sit by each other. The dictionary defines “Crone” as from “carcass” and “cantankerous woman”. We knew that there was a great fear, even revulsion of getting old, being considered ugly and being dismissed. We renamed Crone as an old woman, a wise woman. We chose 50 as a good age to celebrate as a Crone. Though 50 seemed still young, it is the average year that women experience menopause, and we were aware that at 50 it was most likely that we were more than halfway through our lives.

When I had my first hot flash, I didn't immediately recognize it. I had had an unusual dream that night though, the details since forgotten, but it was about something significant happening, and that it was a surprise. Soon I realized that the hot flashes were here to stay for awhile, and that my periods were disappearing. A dear Sister who I had been in Circles with for years came and put a book in my hand, The Menopausal Years, by Susun Weed. When I think of how lucky I was to experience the beginning of my menopausal years this way, in stark contrast to what you, dear Vweta and other WorldPulse sisters have described for women in your lives, I am in tears.

Susun Weed is an experienced herbalist, one of many here in North America. Not everything works for everyone, and different theories clash, one of the biggest being: to take a medical estrogen replacement, or, to take the journey without medication through the decrease in estrogen, which happens in menopause. Estrogen replacement here in Canada comes from a pharmaceutical named Premarin, which is taken from the urine of a pregnant female horse (pregnant-mare-urin). A whole wave of women my age decided to stay out of the medical model and go through menopause as naturally as possible. We were told we were crazy and that it wouldn’t work. We proved differently. What was helpful by Susun’s work and others, was to have acknowledged that one way does not fit all, that there are variations and degrees of challenges, and that we could each discover what worked for us. That can range from cooling off, to wanting to see a doctor. For me it was drinking lots of cold water. So much has to do with keeping our bodies happy.

On the emotional side, it is without doubt the end of child bearing years, which is again different for each of us. It is the end to what has reminded us monthly that we are women, and capable of giving birth. I had decided early that my life path would not involve giving birth to children, and it is an ongoing theme in my life to reassure people who feel sorry for me, or stand up to people who dismiss me, that this was a conscious choice, and a choice that I believe every woman should have the right to make, whether it is when and how many children she wants to have, whether to not give birth to a child at all, or to be respected if she can’t. Entering menopause there is no turning back, and it is entering womanhood as a post-childbearing age woman. Even for a woman who chose not to give birth, the growing into being menopausal and post menopausal was a journey both physical and emotional. There is a deep, spiritual side to this time of life.

Again I felt my good fortune being surrounded by women, many a few years older than me, who made the path. I was also in a chapter of my life in which I was on women’s land in the woods, growing organic food for people and living deeply in nature. I was glad that I was at that point not public speaking and organizing workshops, and I feel for any women who are. Any amount of stress can bring on a flash. My menopausal journey lasted ten years. Eventually those hot flashes, which we called Power Surges became energy that could be transformed into inspiration.

The discrimination toward old women, the disgust hurled at us for our aging bodies, the distain and dismissal of our intelligence, the assumption that we are useless burdens, the pushing out of communities, the loss of land and homes, the forced menstrual and widow huts, the forced living in temples for widows, the beatings, the murders, are all finally being brought forward by WorldPulse sisters everywhere. The lack of gratitude for all that those old women have given, the loss of what they have still to offer, the denial of their beauty and wisdom is all part of what we are collectively working to change, from stopping the killing of girls at birth, to mentoring young girls through a happy, safe and educated youth, to celebrating full and happy adulthoods in lives chosen, not forced, and into our crone years, all of this is connected. 

And so I hope that this story about my post menopausal years that I do cherish, will be of interest you as we work on all the ways that this too, has to be shifted for the sake of all of your lives, and for the lives of women who are old now, especially in countries in which their/your precious lives are in danger. As a woman just beginning to approach old age, I send my love out to the elder ancient ones everywhere, and to the younger Amazons creating change.

***For Common Effects of Menopause and Natural Remedies, combined from many women's stories, message me and I will send it.

This story was submitted in response to Share On Any Topic.

Comments 17

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Olutosin
Mar 10, 2018
Mar 10, 2018

My dearest sister, thanks so much for shedding of more light on this topic. I appreciate this a lot. I will definitely contact you for more information soon.
Kind regards.

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 10, 2018
Mar 10, 2018

Hi Tosin,
I can send it to you easily. It is a list of common effects and the foods and teas that have worked well for many women. It would have doubled the already long post! I am so glad that you found this useful, my dear sister.

Jill Langhus
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Hi Tam. What an awesome, insightful story you have here on menopause. I still feel like this subject is taboo in most communities, but I feel like we're finally getting somewhere. I love that you had support and that you recommend a good reference guide by Susun Weed. I haven't heard of her or the book, but that doesn't surprise me. I love Dr. Christiane Northrup, from Hay House, and how she handles menopause. I'm going to have to get my hands on her book again. I gave it away to someone awhile ago and now I need it myself as I entered into peri-menopause last fall. I've been using Chaste Berry for weird aches that I was experiencing. I did have some hot flashes and I was so surprised when I got them since I wasn't expecting them so soon. I thought it was the eclipses that were going on then. I'm sure the energy probably coincided with them, though. I haven't had any more hot flashes since, though. It's great that you didn't succumb to the pressure of using pharmaceuticals or unnatural remedies. I believe we need to return to our own, innate wisdom and to listen to what our bodies are telling us, and to stop ignoring and denying what is going on within. I love your story so much, that I'm going to re-post it. Thanks so much for sharing all your lovely experiences, knowledge and wisdome:-)

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Hi Jill,
I am so glad that you enjoyed this. I felt so compelled to share it. How special, here you are entering the journey. We are lucky to have wise women like Susun Weed and Christine Northrup who have focussed their work on women and health, expanding information on possibilities. Chaste Berry, yes. I will send you the list we put together, it is amazing how many foods and herbs can help us in different ways. One of the main reasons that so many of us went the non pharma way is that it did not make sense that a natural part of being a woman meant taking pregnant mare urine extract. We were also aware that most women do not have access to the government cost-carrying (partly) medical system that we have here in Canada. I will send you the info sheet through our Message System. Let me know what you think. I'm sure you will be amazed at all the options. It also lists the common problems that women have experienced. Wishing you an amazing journey dear sister.

Jill Langhus
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Thanks, hon:-) Well, yes, that "remedy" does sound a little erm, interesting:-( Thanks for the list and your well wishes!

Sophie Ngassa
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Dear Tam, Thanks for sharing this important story that will help all women. The content is great.

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Thanks for your comment, Sophie, it means a lot. Menopause is still a largely hidden topic. I am encouraged to know that I've written about it in a way that can be helpful.
Sending love,
Tam

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Hello, Tam,

This is a good resource for women like me who are yet to enter that phase. I am saving this post. Thank you for your generous input.

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 12, 2018
Mar 12, 2018

Hi Karen,
Thanks for your message, I am so glad that you have found this useful. I would be glad to send you my Part 2: About Menopause - Remedies, common effects, with foods and teas that have been known to help.

Sophie Ngassa
Mar 12, 2018
Mar 12, 2018

Wow! Tam can't wait to have this info. Congrats.

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 13, 2018
Mar 13, 2018

Hi Sophie, I sent it just now through message, happy to share it!

Adanna
Mar 12, 2018
Mar 12, 2018

Dear Tam,

Thank you for sharing your story on menopause.

This is really helpful and I am sure many women can relate to your story.

Your story will encourage more women to share their own stories and experiences.

Nice one sister!

Love,
Adanna

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 12, 2018
Mar 12, 2018

Dear Adanna, Thanks very much for your encouraging words. I do hope that many will share stories and information on this largely hidden topic. So much of becoming an old woman is covered in fear and danger of losing everything, even the chance to grow old. Certainly the chance to grow old in dignity. I love that WorldPulse sisters are turning this around.
Much love to you,
Tam

Bim Adegbite
Mar 16, 2018
Mar 16, 2018

Hi Tam.
I really haven't considered menopause. Just did today after reading Vweta's story and now yours. It's good to know what to expect and how we can be a little more prepared for what's to come. Approaching 50 and no signs yet (or maybe I don't even recognize them lol) but I'm glad I read both your stories and will be bearing this in mind.

Thanks for sharing!

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 16, 2018
Mar 16, 2018

Hi Bim,
I'm so glad you found this useful. The age it starts varies so much. If you want me to send you About Menopause Part 2 Some Effects and Remedies, just let me know.

OakTrillium
Mar 26, 2018
Mar 26, 2018

Lovely to hear your Openness on a topic so often left under the covers of our sweat drenched beds! I too have moved through menopause without horse pee! And I am grateful to be living In a community where Crone-hood is celebrated and when I am ready, I will have a Croning ceremony surrounded by the women in my community to honour my wisdom years. And as I step into my Crone Wisdom time, i truly feel honoured as a valuable Elder by many already. Such a gift. Tears of gratitude that I will not go the path of my Granny who I just posted about....We are living the change of women's empowerment.