“You are probably in perimenopause”, chuckled my gynecologist at my annual exam after I mentioned to her that my menstrual cycles had recently shown some irregularity. I only mentioned this to her because throughout my entire menstruating life, my cycles had been consistently around 28 days (with the exception of pregnancy and postpartum). I was thrown off by this suggestion and left the office with the question “What is perimenopause and how did I not know I was in it ( & a side note: why is my gynecologist chuckling)? My grandmothers went through this, my mom went through this, the outspoken elders I learn from went through this and none of them have ever shared openly about it.
I began to explore, gather information, have hushed conversations with sister friends in my kitchen, on walks through the redwoods or on lunch dates, about this “perimenopause”. We would share stories of our signs of perimenopause: shorted or extended cycles, our increased or decreased menstrual flow, our anger, frustration and impatience with our children, our partners and life in general, our flushes and flashes, brain fog, holding weight in our bodies differently, our strong pull to leave behind current jobs & careers to follow our passions and purpose with new vigor, our embrace of our silver streaks… We would laugh and say, “I guess I’m in it!”. After having private conversations with many women, I decided to call together a circle of BIPOC sister friends between the ages of 45- 55, creating a safe space to openly have these conversations, to share our experiences and support each other with the intention to bringing these discussions out of hiding, to demystify and amplify this potent, transformational 4 to 10 year journey known as perimenopause.
What I offer here is based on my personal experience as a black mixed race cisgendered female, as a womb carrier who birthed and mothered 3 children and as one who has cultivated a wholistic wellness lifestyle over the past 27 years. I also come from the experience of being a space holder for an intimate circle of BIPOC women where we explore various topics and support each other through our individual and collective journeys of perimenopause.
I recognize that each and every woman’s perimenopausal journey is slightly or largely different and is impacted by race/racism, gender identification, socioeconomic experience, levels of stress, access to healthcare, wellness practices, therapeutic support, nourishing whole foods and so much more.
For the past 2 years I embarked on an intentional, mindful journey through perimenopause. I tended, nourished and nurtured my body, mind and spirit as I moved through this liminal space between mother and crone, between my reproductive years and post menopause.
NURTURE and NOURISH MIND, BODY and SPIRIT THOUGH THE PERIMENOPAUSE JOURNEY:
* Find out the menopausal stories of the women in your family by asking how old they were, what symptoms they experienced, what life changes did they consciously or unconsciously make during this menopausal transition. Within our biological families we can often see patterns. If your mother went through menopause at a particular age, there is a possibility that your menopause journey would begin around the same age. Even if you are not within your biological family, talking to the women you are connected to can be a beautiful starting place to open the conversation and awareness around perimenopause. This knowledge can help support you in having more understanding, self compassion and validate what you may be experiencing.
* Call together a circle of women to share, support and learn along this journey of perimenopause. Circling up with other women through various life stages is our true nature. The lived experience and collective wisdom among women is invaluable. Cultivating a circle of solidarity, connection and compassion where you can feel seen and heard can support this transition immensely. Let us gather together, speak our experiences and stories through this journey OUT LOUD, bringing this powerful initiation into the light.
* Gather resources that address the emotional, physiological, spiritual aspects of and changes within perimenopause. Books, podcasts, courses can offer a sense of clarity and connection to this topic that is not openly discussed by so many. Finding content you resonate with can offer a sense of belonging and dissolve the sense of isolation many women feel through this transition. Many menopausal resources can support topics of surrendering, inviting change, letting go of the past versions of yourself, body positivity, aging acceptance and the true gift of perimenopause, stepping more fully into our power & purpose. Gathering a variety of resources can offer a greater awareness about what is going on with your whole being through this journey. Also, being well informed will empower you to advocate for yourself within your family, place of work, with your doctor or wellness practitioner. I offer some resources that I have found valuable below.
Call on the support of herbal remedies to support the nervous system. I found these to be especially helpful in easing anxiety, stress, mental and physical tension, along with supporting a host of other perimenopausal symptoms. Tinctures of milky oat and motherwort, teas of rose, red clover and lemon balm are among my favorites that I lean on through this journey. Also, the practice of herbal body oiling is another way to invite herbal allies into your whole being. It’s a beautiful way to intentionally connect with your changing body, loving up on each and every part of yourself. Oils of St. John’s Wort, mugwort and yarrow are a consistent part of my herbal body oiling practice.
Call on the support of flower essences to support the emotional body. Flower essences contain subtle energies that will support the emotional aspects of oneself bringing about emotional wellbeing, inner balance. Flower essences are gentle yet potent remedies that offer therapeutic benefits to facilitate healing and can safely be used by anyone. Flower essences are especially helpful during times of great transition. A couple of my favorite essences include Woman Of Wisdom Formula by Desert Alchemy and Wisdom Body pink magnolia/rose quartz essence by Uchū Botanical.
Make self care a priority by carving space in your day, week, month year to slow down. Take time to nap and be in solitude. Let go of the push to always be productive, listen more deeply to what your body is asking, feel the YES and NO in your body and respond from that place of knowing what you need. Spend more time connecting with nature through a spot of earth, a neighborhood tree, a walk through a forest or being of service in a community garden. Bring in more movement that feels nourishing to your body and spirit like dance or yoga.
Perimenopause is a multilayered, cyclical and spiraling journey. Everything you do to nurture and nourish your body, mind and spirit folds into, feeds, informs and supports each other, a wellness ecosystem of sorts, to support you through this potent, transformative journey.
More about the Author:
Tamu Mosley is an Oakland CA born (traditional Lisjan Ohlone land) mama of 3, a teacher, a wholistic wellness facilitator, a kitchen alchemist, a home herbalist & herbal maker, and a budding flower essence practitioner. Tamu is the creator of Wholistic Shine (established in 2014) and Uchū Botanical (established in 2018).
She is deeply nourished by a consistent self care practice cultivated over the past 27 years that includes preparing healthy plant based meals, natural skin care & herbal remedies in her ‘kitchen healing laboratory’, as well as seasonal wholistic detoxes, yoga, connecting with nature and working with flower essences.
Tamu is passionate about a wholistic approach to eating and living by bringing more mindfulness and intention to daily choices along with cultivating wellness practices that support mind, body and spirit. She is honored and humbled to support others on their wellness journey by inspiring, educating and empowering them through her Wholistic Shine and Uchū Botanical offerings.
For the past two years Tamu has been on an intentional, mindful journey through perimenopause, tending to her body, mind and spirit as she dances this space in between mother and crone, reproductive years and post menopause. In 2021 Tamu called together a circle of sister friends and created a space to share experiences and support each other through this journey called perimenopause. From this space ‘Dancing The In Between’ Womb Circle was born.
New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way by Susan Weed
Pre-order/purchase Spirit Weavers Gathering’s book: When Women Gather, A Decade With Spirit Weavers here.
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