Aside from the physical symptoms of perimenopause, things are also changing in your mind and emotions. Learn about the promise of recreating ourselves through this time, and how to turn this challenging time of life into a powerful reimagining of who you choose to be and how you want to show up in the world.
Full Episode Transcript
Kia ora. I’m Meegan Care mindset coach and meditation teacher. This podcast is here to help you unwind self-doubt, people pleasing, imposter syndrome, and overwhelm so you can step into the confident leader you were born to be women. It is time to bring your purpose into the world in an impactful way without sacrificing your wellbeing.
Are you ready? Let’s begin. Hey. Hey, wonderful people. In this episode, I’m gonna share. A little of my journey in midlife with menopause, perimenopause, menopause postmenopausal, and not because I did anything particularly special or found some amazing remedy to help with all of the symptoms that were going on, but I will talk a little bit about that.
But because I really got to dive into. What is the emotional, psychological, personal psyche promise of this time of our life? And so if you are coming into perimenopause, if you’re in midlife, and of course it happens at different times for all of us, I went into perimenopause very early and by the time I was 41, I was already on the other side.
And part of that is probably to do with my mum was similar. I don’t know now she’s passed away, but I do, my sister’s told me that my mom went through menopause earlier than say 50, which is roundabout deemed as being the average age, but then also because I had Crohn’s disease when I was younger so there was that sort of adrenal taxing that went on in my system. May have, I don’t know, may have moved things along a little more quickly in any case the physical part is what it is. I’m really interested in what’s the promise of perimenopause on a psychological, emotional, energetic level, and like how you show up in your life.
And so if we do start with the physical though, for some women, there’s symptoms that arise that are uncomfortable, hard to be with physical symptoms and make just kind of doing our normal life a little challenging or quite a lot challenging in some cases. And in my case, it wasn’t too bad I sort of had some flushing my bodily anxiety had increased. I remember when an older friend of mine went through menopause and she was trying to explain to me what the anxiety was like that she experienced, and I didn’t get it at the time in the same way that I got it when my body went through it.
And whenever I go through something that’s a shift or a transition, a challenge in my life, I will lean into my meditation practice to support me to be that nourishing place that I can fall into, soften into that really supports me to restore myself.
It actually changed my meditation practice as well because whatever was going on with the hormonal flux, and this is perimenopausal, there were times when I would lie on the ground and look up at the sky and see the beautiful blue sky. Think of that summer’s day. You’ve seen that beautiful blue sky and there’s the fluffy white clouds in the sky, my body sensation and my nervous system would think I was falling off the planet. Like I literally felt like the world had been tipped upside down and I was about to fall off the planet. Apparently my body forgot that gravity existed. I put that down to what was going on in my nervous system, cause I’d not had that before in any consistent way. And there were other things that arose for me. Like sleep was really interrupted. My sleep became much more sensitive. I was definitely much more irritable a lot more tired within myself. And chronic fatigue sort of pattern, very low level has been something that I’ve worked my way through after having Crohn’s disease. It was very much a part of that for me, but that sort of came back that really deep fatigue and, and not a lot of like get up and go kind of motivation. I had to work fairly hard to make that happen. So those were some of my physical symptoms and I did a lot of natural therapies for it and they were really, really helpful.
Really helpful. And then probably I went through doing as much of the natural stuff as I could do for a number of years. And then I got to a stage where I thought, Hmm, I’m just gonna talk to my integrative doctor and see what she says. And then I started on the bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
And that was maybe. A year and a half ago now. So I’d been through menopause for quite a long time by that stage. It’s really important to, I think, anyway, it’s really important to redo your research. So I went to see her with the ideas of, oh HRT is really bad well, not really bad, but there are risks.
There’s risk of breast cancer, all of that kind of stuff. And so she was able to update me on the research that has happened over the last nine or 10 years. The changes in thinking, because of course, awareness around this stuff develops all the time and changes all the time, and no doubt it’ll change again in the future for sure.
And when I started on the bioidentical hormone replacement therapy the first night, it changed my sleep for the better, and I was working with it pretty solidly with meditation and herbs and that kind of stuff, which was really, really helpful. But as soon as I took that progesterone capsule, my sleep improved like 80%.
So at that stage, I was kind of used to waking up at like four 30 in the morning, and I had that sort of, I guess it’s a cortisol rush in your body, and I’d get up and I’d, I’d have a drink and then, I’d just kind of lie there and meditate. And I kind of managed my life by doing that. And it wasn’t happening every night, but it wasn’t, was happening pretty consistently and honestly, as soon as I started on the bioidentical hrt it changed my body changed and just softened I felt like I was back in my thirties in terms of my energy, my sleep, my sleep sensitivity had decreased dramatically. So that that was some of the physical aspects of it. And who knows, in a few years I might change, again, my thinking around it because we’re allowed to change our minds. We’re allowed to because we’re the boss of us, right?
We’re allowed to think one way and try one thing for a while, and then come to another chapter of our lives and feel the internal nudge and go in a different direction. Many years ago, I was very attached to everything having to be natural. I would never put anything unnatural on my body or in my body.
How I sit with that now has changed because internally I have changed and it comes from a different place. And I make choices based on my own gut instinct, based on my own intuition. I don’t create this divide between natural and unnatural. I will take what I want from both and all because it’s a spectrum.
So in terms of what happens for us emotionally, initially in the per menopausal part, for me anyway, it sort of snuck up on me. Like I felt a little bit more irritable. I felt a little less agreeable or soft. And if we look at what’s happening with our hormones, that’s going alongside that, but I also noticed in the later stages coming into actual menopause, that my intuition became like so steady, so steady, and so clear, and something started to arise in me around my own personal power that it was like nature sort of turned the volume up on that and I’ve heard it said, you know, you talk to a menopausal woman and you’ll know because she doesn’t give a fuck.
Right? She’s stopped giving a fuck about what everyone thinks, what everyone says, what life dictates takes to her. And it’s so interesting because we’re coming into a much more empowered state, but I’m not sure that generally society knows how to relate to the postmenopausal woman. Cause we’ve got you know, society as a whole talking in generalities of course.
But we know how to relate to the beautiful young maiden. We then skip right over and we know how the crone is perceived right, but what about this time of the empowered woman? How is she related to and because often it’s a time where our no becomes more clear, maybe we feel more fierce within ourselves, and that can come out sideways as a lot disquiet with our lives, disquiet with the structures of our life and irritability with the people close to us. But what’s really happening is that our subconscious is riding that wave of that hormonal shift and offering a shift in psychological, emotional identity as I see it. And when we come out of embeddedness in an identity of being one way and we start sort of pulling up the roots of that and so then we can start to notice that what once satisfied us, doesn’t satisfy us. That now we are more irritable with someone in our life. What really interested us and engaged us before no longer does that, and there’s this sense of displacement. But if we think about it as a developmental shift that’s happening where we are pulling up roots out of, out of that way of being and we are moving into something else, of course, as we move into something else and that developmental shift and phase, we go into a sort of a chaos and a chaos of change of disruption.
And what very often shows up for women is a sense of, I don’t know who I am anymore. I, I can’t really be bothered nurturing in the way that I used to nurture. I’m feeling flat. I’m not getting the sleep I need. I feel like I’m not being looked after and nourished. And it all kind of comes to a bit of a head for some women.
But the opportunity in that is to really look at, you know, what is my life about at the moment and what do I value? And if you have children, then it’s often likely that your children are growing up and needing you in a different way, needing you less perhaps. So it’s a really good time to look at, you know, what is my life looking like right now? And because going through this time, so for me, I’m now 52. And I never imagined myself as being 52. Like I imagined myself being 36, maybe even 40, and, what my life would look like, but I never really imagined this stage of life.
So we get to reimagine this next stage of our life and, and for most of us, For the vast majority of us, we are more than halfway through our life by now. So there’s this sense of, and I don’t mind this feeling of at all, but there’s this sense of life is short. How am I gonna be in this next chapter of my life and how I’m being in my life right now and what I’m creating in my life?
Do I still wanna do that? Or have I fallen into the trap of just doing the same thing over and over and over again, not just the day to day routine. Because if you, if you do have children or job, whatever it is, there’s a certain amount of routine that is required from us. Right? But, but we may have slipped into that place of not reimagining our life from time to time.
Which I did when I was younger, I would have these ideas and ideals of what I wanted my life to be. Lots of them didn’t pan out. You know, like in my twenties I was really sick and there was a whole decade there that was focused on my physical health certainly didn’t plan for that when I was in my teenage years.
But there’s a sense of adventure and of promise. When we are young, but maybe we’ve, stopped connecting to by the time we’re in midlife. And so when nature, when your hormones are shaking things up, your mental and psychological landscape will be shaken up as well.
So then it’s a really, really good time to look at. Okay. What is working for me? What is no longer working for me? And it doesn’t always mean that you’re gonna make the big shifts of job, of career, of house, of relationship, but we can see why this happens in midlife and why it’s a really potent time for that.
But it is a time that I looked at what do I value in my life. What am I suffering under the weight of that I really no longer need? And making some choices around that. And actually at that time, so I used to do cranio sacral therapy, hands on work with clients. And I just loved it, loved it, loved it.
And I remember saying to myself, and I probably said to others, I cannot imagine a time when I will ever wanna give this up. Ever, ever. I’ll still be doing this when I’m 80. I should pay attention when I say blanket statements like that, because often they change and that’s okay, right? We’re allowed to change.
It’s good to change. I went through this stage where my nervous system just started saying to me through feeling sense, I don’t want you to be doing this anymore. My body didn’t want me to be doing that anymore, and I was seeing quite a few clients a week. You know, I had a really full practice and maybe I just needed a couple of months off to recalibrate.
I was at a certain point in the menopausal process where a lot of my internal energy was being driven towards supporting my body. It was needed there. And of course, the way that I’ve been trained, I’m not giving my personal energy to someone else when I’m doing craniosacral therapy there’s a different relational dynamic going on there, but it is not just about having energy from my body going into someone else’s.
However, working with a number of people every week on a consistent basis, no longer felt viable, okay, supported by my nervous system. And the timing was great because it was through the covid lockdowns we had in New Zealand. And so I was forced to take a step back, couldn’t go and do any hands on work, and I was able to do that inner exploration and realize, oh, hang on a minute.
Something’s wanting to change here. Something’s wanting to emerge. I’m human, so I was, you know, not wanting to see it for a while, but when I let it be what it was, let it be in my system. There was a new something that was wanting to emerge. I could never have planned that. So I like having goals and dreams and planning my life, but there’s certain things in your life that you just can’t plan.
You don’t know what is around the corner. And I’m okay with that. I don’t need to control every aspect of my life. I can be flexible. Or practice flexibility when things like this come in, in any case. So that happened with my work and, and so I listened to what was happening with my nervous system and, and it was that gift of, of menopause, of changing through my nervous system.
That allowed me to make that change in my work. And it was a bit of a risk for me. It felt like a bit of a risk cause I had the the good, solid, amazing clinical practice, lots of clients. It was really flowing smoothly. I didn’t have to work really hard for new clients to show up. They were just showing up consistently, and then I stopped at all.
Well, the lockdown stopped at first, but then I didn’t go back. And so then I had to reinvent myself. And so that reinvention process has been really very much a part of my journey and has offered me an opportunity to come into a more empowered way of being within myself. And this is the gift of menopause for us.
If we are willing to take it, we can look at the areas of our lives. That no longer feel like they’re working. And just because it felt like it was working two years ago, one year ago, but now it doesn’t. And maybe you made choices around that two years ago, one year ago, but now that choice doesn’t feel aligned.
That does not mean that you made a mistake or that you were an error or that you blew it. You didn’t. You made the choice that was right for you in that moment. You’ve grown from that time, and now it’s okay to make another choice. And I definitely think our consciousness, as our consciousness is expanding as a collective, our experience of time is changing.
And so we will go through many reincarnations in our life that maybe our parents didn’t. We may reincarnate our career a few times. We might reincarnate how we show up in our life. So I don’t know what it is that for you perimenopause is gonna bring up.
Whether it’s something in your relationship, your body, unhealed trauma, your career, your finances, where you live, how much joy you do or don’t engage in your life. But if we can understand the symptoms, the physical symptoms, as opening a doorway to look deeper into our own psyche, and I really wanna be clear, I have heard people say things like, you know, when you.
Mind body direct connection thing. So as an example, you sprained your left ankle. That means that you are afraid of stepping into your feminine. I don’t agree with that sort of way of looking at what’s happening in our body fully. Like I think these are level at which that that can be helpful. But I don’t like to suggest that because I cut my finger and on my right hand that it means something or rather, and that I can look that up in a book and it means the same thing for every single person.
No, I don’t buy that. I think that, yes, there’s a thread that can be helpful to think about that kind of stuff, but actually it’s so much more, multilayered than that. Like really, honestly, you are not that simple. As a human, you are multilayered and yes, there might be a thread in there that is worthy of looking at.
But please don’t tell me that I’m sick or I’m experiencing hot flushes because I’m storing anger in my uterus. Please don’t tell me that. I’ll do an internal eye roll. Having said that, there can be threads through what’s happening with our physical body and unhealed trauma. Things that have been wrapped up and put to the side inside of us.
But in terms of our body, the equation is not just one plus one equals two. The equation is a really beautiful, complicated algebra equation that I have no way of understanding. However, we can look at a small part of each equation of each of our experience and go, oh, that piece right there, I’m gonna look at that.
And that’s what perimenopause does for us. That’s what menopause offers for us. We can look at trauma that hasn’t been healed. We can look at, this is a really been a really big one for me. Our self-concept, most of the time our self-concept is unconscious. It’s just a part of the fabric of who we are, but through menopause it starts to become highlighted for us, and we see, oh, a lot of my behaviors have been based on the valuing of myself as being a good girl. It’s not something I thought about on a day to day basis at all, but I think as it starts to unwind and that self concept starts to come loose a little bit because it’s ready to change, then we can start to see it.
And so then I could see in my life all the places where I was unconsciously trying to keep the peace. To people please. The way I was relating with people coming from that good girl self concept and I didn’t need to throw out all of it. But I did need to throw out a good amount of it. So there is this big opportunity as as a woman going through menopause, where you can step into a more empowered relationship with yourself and a more empowered expression of yourself out in the world.
But to do that, we need to look at those self identities of the people pleaser, the good girl. The one that does everything right, the one that helps everyone feel good and healed and connected, if that’s been your role in your life, and that was certainly some of that was my role in my life. The shift that we go through in menopause is an opportunity to shed that skin and to grow a new sense of self.
One that is able to be more direct with others with how we communicate. And that, that’s a two-parter, right? That’s how we feel inside ourselves and also the skill of communicating in a way that invites, invites the other person to be a part of that. Because what happens if we don’t look at our lives, look at the movie of our lives and go through this.
Sorting process of what parts do I wanna continue on with? What roles do I wanna continue playing, and what roles do I wanna let go of? If we don’t do that, I’ve seen for women, we’ve all seen it in women around us, we are, rather than expanding into that new empowered expression of themselves through menopause, through that midlife time.
Their world for a while just stays the same. But then over time it just seems to become smaller and more narrow and smaller and more narrow. And there’s a sort of a, a shrinking and a brittleness that comes through if we are not grabbing the opportunities that this time of life offers us.
Think I put on around nine kg, something like that. Through this time, my body definitely doesn’t look like it looked when I was younger. And so there’s an opportunity to fall in love with your physical being for very different reasons than 30 years ago, and it’s not an easy path because it’s not really mapped out for us conventionally anyway.
So when I was sick in my twenties with Crohn’s disease, I was at my worst. I was, I remember being on the scales at the hospital. I was 39.5 s, which is really super, super skinny, super unwell and I had an ostomy bag and I had scarring around my abdomen and it was years as my body slowly started to heal and I still have scarring around my abdomen and there’s all, you know, stuff going on around the perineum and all sorts of stuff.
But through that time I was, it sort of moved me away from this experience of body I have in that, you know, here is this body, this is how I value myself or partly If I receive admiration for it or it looks a certain way, then I can feel good about myself. Like going through that sickness in my twenties really helped me to shed that and to disidentify from that, it was no longer important In the same way, like I grew to love my physical body from a very different place.
Not just for how it looked, but for, you know, housing my spirit and my soul, allowing me to move through the world, being able to do the physical things that I wanted to do. And so I thought I was sweet. I thought I was sorted for aging . Of course, of course I did. And then things start to change. And it’s definitely a journey around self love.
And for some women, you know, you might be listening to this going, I don’t relate to this all at all. I’m totally down with aging. I can’t wait till, you know, I can see more of those beautiful lines and that story on my face. And others of you might be kind of really scared about the aging process or not wanting to look at it, it’s okay to have those feelings too.
But coming to be with that from a, place of acceptance, of an acknowledgement of this is what it is, if I’m lucky I’ll get old and my body will be wrinkly and it will be, it will change. My hair will be gray.
That’s how I see it anyway, if I’m lucky. Cuz I work really hard to stay in this life and to find some joy in this life. And my thoughts are that now that I’ve done that hard work, I’m gonna stick around for as long as I can and so there’s an opportunity to change the way we think about our physical body and how our physical body operates in the world.
And, and not from a, like a place of, oh, I’m just gonna ignore it and not think about it. But actually, can I embrace how my physical body is showing up, right now? Can I perceive it as having beauty in all its forms and not just because I’m, I’m holding that aging clock back, but can I see beauty in the lines and the changes of skin and the, the change of body?
Because for all of us, as we stay on the planet, that is gonna happen.
And there can be many ways that we grieve through the menopausal process. And I do think that life can be this almost continuous cycle of birth and death and grief and rebirth and death and grief and rebirth again, and on we go. And that can happen on that, that psychological level where we can almost have the sense of naturally organically reinventing ourselves or reincarnating in a way in the same body because there is so much good that you and I can bring into the world, and it all starts with acknowledging and accepting exactly as we are right now. Even if you are struggling physically, emotionally, psychologically, even if these parts of your life that aren’t how you want them to be. Giving yourself that acknowledgement of, Hey, you did really well.
You’re doing really well. Keep going cuz not all of our life has to be perfect. That is an impossible stress making slippery slide. And I am all for, let’s accept ourselves as we are with our faults, with our messiness, with our unmade, this and that. And just relax into it. Cuz when we do that, we can show up so much more powerfully, joyfully with impact in our lives.
And when we’re doing that, we are creating ripples out into the world that are affecting the people around us in really life giving ways. Listen, if you are going through perimenopausal or menopause and the emotional psychological slash spiritual slash energetic side of it is kind of freaking you out is a bit of a challenge send me a message, let me know what’s going on, I’d love to hear from you.
There’s a way through it and there’s a way through it where we’re not just gritting our teeth and riding it out where we’re actually partnering with nature and the hormonal shifts that are going on in our system and recreating ourselves. From the inside out. Okay.
So much love from me to you.
Hey, thanks for joining me on the podcast. If you liked what you heard, leave me a five star review. Tell your friends, share the episode. It all helps to get this information into the hands of other people that can use it to really unwind people pleasing, imposter syndrome self doubt.
Because we can do without that anymore, right? We need to step up, step in to being the leaders we were born to be. Have an amazing week, my friend.