Francine Filion, 54
Director of communications, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Ottawa, ON
“My mother died from breast cancer when she was 39, and my sister had her uterus removed in her 40s, so neither really had a ‘natural’ 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. I’m also loving the money I’m saving from not having my period (Tampax, pads, etc.) and not having the huge pimples I used to get, even at 50 years old. I’ve 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 they’ve been more like very occasional short heat waves. Overall, I’ve been lucky. Every woman is different, but menopause isn’t a nightmare stage in life, and it’s not the end of femininity as defined by society, at least not for the French-Canadian gal.”
Barbara Kellam-Scott, 58
Writer, Sussex, NJ
“I can’t imagine how my mother’s 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 it’s a shared experience that’s just our amazing system’s last hurrah. Menopause is in no way predictable, and every woman is different, but what we can rely on are our friends.”
Read more on menopause in The Meaning of Menopause, Still on the Journey and “Menopause is a wake-up call”. Join the conversation by attending OdeNow’s menopause course. For a free digital copy of Ode’s entire Menopause Series, email firstname.lastname@example.org.