Francine Filion, 54
Director of communications, Canadian Teachersí Federation, Ottawa, ON
ďMy mother died from breast cancer when she was 39, and my sister had her uterus removed in her 40s, so neither really had a Ďnaturalí menopause that I could relate to. Before I stopped menstruating, I was waking up at 3 a.m. every night for no reason at all. When I began menopause, I stopped drinking coffee, stopped eating processed foods and started taking a mild anti-depressant. Something worked, because my mind-racing 3 a.m. wake-ups have stopped. Iím also loving the money Iím saving from not having my period (Tampax, pads, etc.) and not having the huge pimples I used to get, even at 50 years old. Iíve even been pleasantly surprised by my hot flashes. I thought they would be massive tropical vacations that would interfere with my life and work, but instead theyíve been more like very occasional short heat waves. Overall, Iíve been lucky. Every woman is different, but menopause isnít a nightmare stage in life, and itís not the end of femininity as defined by society, at least not for the French-Canadian gal.Ē
Barbara Kellam-Scott, 58
Writer, Sussex, NJ
ďI canít imagine how my motherís generation got through menopause alone. The best part about going through menopause now is how my generation is beginning to open up and share our experiences. This process has taught me how to trust my sisters-in-body for anything, accept their care for me and know that itís a shared experience thatís just our amazing systemís last hurrah. Menopause is in no way predictable, and every woman is different, but what we can rely on are our friends.Ē
Read more on† menopause in The Meaning of Menopause, Still on the Journey and ďMenopause is a wake-up callĒ. Join the conversation by attending OdeNowís menopause course. For a free digital copy of Odeís entire Menopause Series, email firstname.lastname@example.org.