The transitions in a woman’s life are marked by several events. The first event is the menarche which occurs in puberty and is the start of the menses or menstrual periods. It is truly a time of joy for a girl to start to have her monthly bleeding because it marks her time of fertility and she is now able to reproduce and maintain the survival of the human race. Living in this century we have witnessed a great change in attitudes towards fertility and reproduction for many reasons to numerous to elaborate upon here. Suffice it to say, even though we need to be conscientious of our population growth and responsibility for parenting, we do need to appreciate a woman’s body for her reproductive ability.
On the other end of the continuum is the cessation of the menses or the menopause. The menopause occurs during the climacteric period of a woman’s life which can span a 10 to 15 year period. There are many myths and inaccurate beliefs around this time in a woman’s life, compounded by cultural pressure to stay forever young. The medical profession communicates to women they no longer need their uteruses, should take hormones to stay young and healthy, and basically deny the aging process. The dread of passing into our older years that so many women feel, needs to be reexamined and a refreshing outlook to our “golden or crone” years must be acknowledged to maintain a healthy, positive future.
Menopause is a transition not a disease! Let us recognize menopause in this light. Centuries before us, older women were the respected and wise elders looked to for their knowledge, advise and aged kindness. Many traditions for healing were handed down from mother to daughter and passed from village to village to help one another stay well.
Women can reclaim this tradition by becoming knowledgeable of the menopause process. We can also join other women to honor this wonderful time in our lives.