10 Ways Perimenopause Helped Me Get My Sh*t Together

Please go check out my guest blog on MidlifeIt, called 10 Ways Perimenopause Helped Me Get My Sh*t Together.

It’s authentic. It’s unapologetically me. It’s an actual account of how I feel in real time.

I hope you enjoy.

10 Ways Perimenopause Helped Me Get My Sh*t Together

My Experience with Midlife (So Far)

It’s been a little over four years since my menopause rhapsody started. After I found out why I was having hot flashes at night and vaginal dryness was a reoccurring thing, anxiety and spiritual awakening took over.

“Do you think I’m crazy?” I asked my husband.

“A little,” he confessed, and I laughed as if I wasn’t crying or resisting the urge to lash out.

It’s hard–menopause and midlife. Adjusting to the signs of perimenopause, while coping with the reality that life as a younger, less tired person isn’t something any of us planned. But it’s part of life. It’s a phase few bypass unscathed.

And parenting during menopause is no joke either. It brings on a host of unplanned challenges. Try raising three young kiddos (eleven, eight, and four), while your body and hormones feel like they might snap at any moment, but it’s my normal I guess. It’s what I’ve come to accept day-in, day-out.

To help cope, I’ve had a lot of self-work:

These little devotions sure have eased some of my stresses and answered many questions along the way. But my literal experiences with midlife so far? It’s been…strange and much different than I’d expected.

I suppose when I reached forty, I imagined being greeted by a circle of sage, gray-haired women and escorted into some sort of private club. Maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s not too far off from what I’d envisioned. In reality, I had the opposite. The day before my birthday, my husband surprised me with a solo-getaway to a luxury resort, forty-five-minutes away.

In a daze and a little nervous, I packed an overnight bag and headed out. I can’t remember the last time I’d had an entire day and night all to myself. When I checked into the room, I felt giddy–like the first time I was handed the keys to my studio apartment. It was one of those sensations I’ll never forget. I felt…whole, happy, and relaxed. No one needed my attention. No one demanded an equal say in what I was going to do next. And no one knew or could understand how badly I really needed that temporary separation from my family.

The whole two days–the dip in the private swimming pool, dinner and breakfast room service, and nearly every spa treatment–gave me perspective. I realized then, the first and only person who could carry me into my forties, was me. I was the sage, gray-haired woman. I forgot what it felt like to love myself, believe in myself, and take time to just be myself.

I realized then, the first and only person who could carry me into my forties, was me. I was the sage, gray-haired woman.

My next experience was recent. One of my close friends passed quite suddenly and unexpectedly. The death and midlife of someone I knew that was my age slapped me into the realization of just how unpredictable life can be.

“How would she want to be remembered?” I cried into the void that overcast, chilly fall evening.

After a few quiet moments, the dried prairie grass and withering wild flowers whispered back, “How would you want to be remembered?”

That was it. That was all it took to kick my weeping sorry butt into action. I don’t want to be remembered for what I thought about doing. I want to be remembered for the things I’ve done. And to be honest, I’ve got a pretty lengthy list of to-dos.

One of the things I wanted to put into action was building my tribe–connecting with other like-minded midlife women. Since my early thirties, making new friends hasn’t been easy, nothing like the college days when one could just meet people and make friends in quads or classrooms or parties. It was work. And I sucked at it.

Saying out loud, “Hey, I’m Tera. Want to be my friend?” felt so juvenile. Yet, the conventional ways of meeting these women weren’t working either.

Then, social media friends started reaching out. Once I weeded out the ones who only wanted to sell me something or suggest I promote my memes on their pages, I started to meet some great women. Missy Farrow, founder and blogger of popular site, Midlife Margaritas, was one of my first Midlife It supporters. I paced my bedroom trying to decide whether I should email her to ask if she’d be interested in exchanging guest blogs. After a lot of sweat and calming tea, I finally hit send on that email and within a day she responded and we started hashing out great content to share.

Since that first connection, everything has seemed to move at warp speed. Marcia Kestor Doyle (Menopausal Mother), Stella Fosse (erotic fiction author), Wendy McGee (Fit Fannie), Kathy Garland (Navigating The Change)–all of these women have become my surrogate sisters. They’ve each taught me something unique and memorable, but as a whole I’ve learned that friendships in midlife are just different. They’re not about the long, historical lives you’ve shared together. They’re about the here and now, finding depth in the limited amount of time we have left.

So far, my experiences with midlife have given me much to think about. While sometimes I still have to return to my list of coping skills, I usually come out better and happier as a result. I delve deeper into self-work, forgiveness, and compassion. And with all of the chaos and craziness, midlife has helped me reckon with the strange and different I would have probably shied away from years ago. Midlife has helped me welcome the surprises of unpredictability. And in the right light, I find myself reveling more and more in the unknown.

Tera lives in a little house on the hillside of the suburban Denver, CO. She’s a mom, wife, blogger, fiction writer, and sometimes has to get a side-hustle to pay for these creative outlets. As founder and visionary behind MidlifeIt.com, she shares personal stories, tips, and facts about midlife, menopause, and beyond. She’s one of those brutally honest friends with wit, warmth, and a little fire to keep you moving.

She’s always looking for another girlfriend to help her start trouble.

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Podcast Review: My Bloody Hell

I first learned of My Bloody Hell (MBH) through Instagram. As is customary, the owner followed me, and I followed her back. I didn’t realize MBH was a podcast, until Lori, the host reached out to me about being a guest.

Before I agreed, I wanted to listen to a few episodes, and boy was I impressed. As of this review, I’ve listened to seven episodes.

What I LOVE: Lori L. Tharps lives in Spain, but she is from the United States. Her nationality was refreshing, because in my research, it is rare to find a Black American woman podcaster focused on perimenopause and menopause. According to her website, Lori “wanted to create a safe space where women could share their stories about perimenopause and they could find support and solidarity as well.” Like this blog, her guests are intentionally diverse in terms of race, religion, sexuality, and culture.

I also love that My Bloody Hell is focused specifically on perimenopause. Guests are not going through menopause or post-menopause. They all seem to be around my age, and having the same, collective wtf moments as me. Solidarity is heartwarming, for sure. After listening to several episodes, I’ve even changed how I talk about my own experience to specifically say PERIMENOPAUSE, instead of menopause, because Lori’s right…they’re different.

So far, I’ve found myself nodding in agreement with each guest, no matter what the topic. However, Episode 7, Living with Perimenopause, PMDD, and ADHD in Portugal: Maceo’s Story is my favorite. Maceo’s explains how perimenopause can compound existing issues, such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (which is underdiagnosed in girls), but according to Maceo more diagnosed in women who are in midlife. Hearing Maceo’s story reminded me of myself and my own two daughters and how much I need to support their health issues now, so they’ll be prepared later.

What I don’t LOVE: Quite honestly, there’s nothing I dislike. My Bloody Hell is literally what I’ve been waiting on for the past two years—a podcast where a diverse group of women share authentic, menopausal, I mean, perimenopausal stories. This is it, good people. I hope you’ll find this podcast as engaging and informative as I have.

OVERALL: My Bloody Hell is what we need right now! It’s beneficial for all women.

Listen to My Bloody Hell

Navigating the Change Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Write a Review for Navigating the Change

Digestive Health in Midlife

I wrote a short article about two types of supplements I take in midlife which have helped me tremendously in terms of feeling healthier. Also, they have reduced that three-months pregnant look whenever I eat flour-y carbs…Hey, I’m partly Italian. I like my pastas and my baked goods 😉

What is it about bloating in midlife that seems to affect so many women?

I did not grow up with supplements. My mom never gave me a multi-vitamin, strongly believing in healthy food choices (i.e., whole foods) being the better option. But both she, and now I, have encountered uncomfortable digestive symptoms in midlife. When she went to visit a naturopath doctor to address these and other issues, she was directed to do a whole bunch of tests to determine food sensitivities or allergies (issued by traditional doctors), and was given a new diet to try—a sustaining one based on test results, not some fad that was popular with celebrities.

Point is, optimal digestion slows down in midlife, and especially while in perimenopause and then menopause. Additionally, absorption of nutrients is also affected.

I visited my own health team in midlife, after my second baby finished nursing me to death (for eighteen months…I don’t wanna talk about it). I learned a whole bunch of things including the following:

  • how essential a good zinc supplement is,
  • how important it is to take Vitamin D during long winter months, and
  • what digestive enzymes and probiotics can do for my wellbeing.

In my article, The Difference between Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes, I give you my learned perspective and compare the differences between an enzyme and a probiotic bacteria. It is not a scientific piece, just a perimenopausal woman’s perspective based on information gathered from her health team. Please clap if you like the story, I appreciate the support.

Note: I am not really a fan of supplements. The bulk of my nutrition comes from a whole food diet high(er) in protein and low(er) in complex carbs. I still eat my pastas and breads at times, and occasionally treat myself to sugar-y simple-carb pastries and desserts (e.g., white flour, white sugar) but have found my body adjusted with less discomfort as I reduced, rather than eliminated them from my diet. I don’t bloat nearly as often, for instance. This may be due to the fact that I don’t eat white flour products daily, and when I do and feel bloating after, I reach for a gluten enzyme and lay off the carbs all together for a few days after.

Everything in moderation, they say. This has worked for me without making me feel like I’m missing out on some favorite foods and managed to keep my weight balanced, my skin itch free, and my mood more stable.

Wellness Wednesday: Total Body Workout with LegitFit LLC

Navigating the Change has partnered with LegitFit LLC to bring you a workout (using only yourself, the wall, and a chair) and information designed just for women forty-five and older.

In this fifteen-minute video, Lish Danielle shows us the following:

  • :23 Things to Remember
  • 2:16 Nutrition for Women Forty-Five and Older
  • 3:22 How Much Protein Women Forty-Five and Older Should Have
  • 3:58 Warm-Up and Workout
  • 8:00 Stretching
  • 9:33 Push-ups and Planks for Women Who Have Hypertension
  • 11:08 Grounding the Spine Before Core Work
  • 13:17 Stretching

Lish Danielle

Lish found a love for fitness at the age of twenty-two. Within eight years, her mission has been to live a lifestyle of progress and moderation. Three children later, Lish works hard to emulate habits that will keep herself and her children healthy and happy. LegitFit LLC is the future she seeks to share.

Lish is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Follow LegitFit LLC on IG: @legitfit_llc

Subscribe to LegitFit LLC on YouTube: @LegitFit LLC

Sign up for virtual or in-person training with Lish and use the code #NavigatingTheChange until May 12, 2022 at LegitFit LLC.

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