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'There's a sexual freedom.' The 10 things I want all women to know about menopause.

I learned everything I knew about menopause from the nuns at my Catholic girl’s high school, and it went something like this: You turn 50 and your periods stop. That was it.

So when I started getting menopausal symptoms at around age 45 I actually thought I was going mad rather than going through a natural part of life.

So, in the interest of sharing, here’s my list of what to expect when you’re not expecting ever again!

1. Your brain disappears into a fog so thick you think you may never find it again.

It’s a little like how your brain turns to mush when you’re pregnant, although this time there’s no chance of a baby at the end of it.

I recently held a 21st birthday party for 130 people and realised at 8pm the night before that I had forgotten to order the food – didn’t forget the alcohol though so it was all good.

2. You’ll have mood swings to rival Serena William’s backhand.

I could go from Goddess to Godzilla in minutes and heaven help you if you were in my line of fire.

3. Your pelvic floor gets a little, well, loose.

All those Kegels you were meant to do after having children, and didn’t, come back to haunt you.

You walk straight past the Carefree and head to the Poise. A big belly laugh needs to become a chuckle so you don’t trickle. You get the idea…

4. Yes, you may find your vagina is on the dry side.

Just remember that coconut oil isn’t just for making stir fry or protein balls.

5. Hair becomes an issue.

Whilst the hair on your head seems to thin dramatically, you can somehow manage to grow a moustache and mystery hairs on the back of your thighs that you can feel blowing in the breeze but can never find.

6. Hot Flash is not a Marvel character.

The summer doona stays on year-round.

When Nelly sings “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes” you’re like no problem dude!

Menopause isn’t referred to as “The Change” for nothing.

Is The Change making you anxious? We talked all about it. Post continues below.

Now, here’s a few things I hadn’t expected that really surprised me:

7. My periods stopping felt freeing.

I always had super heavy and long periods, was often anaemic and had to have iron infusions.

I bled on public transport, on my clothes, down into my shoes, over the sheets, at school, at work, teaching yoga, everywhere.

I estimated that I had around 500 periods in my lifetime, so when they finally stopped it was like a get out of jail card. Freedom at last!

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And as an older nonmenstruating woman you become more eco-friendly – no more pads and tampons clogging up the drains.

8. Postmenopause provides clarity…without the distraction of fluctuating hormones.

I know so many women who feel like they’ve woken up after years of wife-ing, mothering, working, and thought, “What the hell am I doing here?”

Some have left marriages of years (me) and others have started to explore their sexuality with a freedom they feel they didn’t have when they were younger.

9. Which brings me to SEX!

Some women feel they’re done with it and I can sense a power and confidence in their choice, like they’ve finally found their voice to say no. Others are enjoying the freedom of going at it without having to worry about getting pregnant.

Bear in mind though that just because you can’t reproduce doesn’t mean you can’t catch an STD – my doctor told me there’s an epidemic of middle-aged women contracting some nasty things. So if it’s not on, it’s not on!

10. Your priorities shift.

Some people feel that older women aren’t represented enough in marketing and advertising.

While I think diversity is important I also just don’t care about marketing and advertising! I care about swims before work, coffee, fresh oysters, my two beautiful boys, my fella, walks with my bestie (my dog), connection, community, the environment.

You realise that the greatest gift is your health and that getting older is the ultimate privilege.

Before the internet, it was the older women in the tribe who had all the knowledge, the stories, the advice. Basically they were Wikipedia!

So talk to the significant older women in your world. Ask them their stories, how they navigated this period of life, what their struggles were but also about the gifts of this experience.

You may be surprised to hear what they tell you, and one day you may need their knowledge and guidance to navigate this time of your life.

Although it’s the time of life when a woman can no longer create life, I had no idea that what would unfold would be confusing, debilitating but ultimately lead me to what has turned into the most rewarding time of my life.

Feature Image: Supplied

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