Yesterday, after a discussion group on Dying Well (because I want to, and our baby did), I found myself in our local cafe with three older women. Just as we began to share our thoughts on the morning’s group, ordering our lattes and teas, one of the women suddenly waved the waitress over with great urgency for some water. Her face was pink and glistening and she seemed bothered.
“Hot flush?” one of the other women asked sympathetically.
“Yes, a real strong surge,” she replied.
I felt awkward – these women belonged to a club that I was not a part of, but would one day join.
Rather shyly I asked, “What does it feel like?”
And then I had the most amazing experience: each of the women shared what hot flushes felt like for them. Prompted by my tentative questions, they then talked about their experience of menopause. The stories they told of the transformative effect that menopause had in their lives made it suddenly sound very appealing – and I’d been rather dreading the loss of my reassuring cycle, the mood swings, the sleeplessness, and hot flushes.
I felt like a little girl being held in my mothers arms. What a gift of encouragement and deeper understanding that those three women gave to me as I approach this next transition. How I would love to have more of this kind of midwifing into the next stage of my life.
With this precious experience of having the way ahead illuminated by three older women, now I am even more committed to enabling this to happen for our teenage girls everywhere.
“Each woman reach one, each woman teach one.”
Next month, in my current girls’ Journeying Together™ group I shall be covering First Blood with them. A week later we shall invite all their mothers to join us for the girls to hear a diverse range of women talk of their experience of first blood and how their monthly cycle is now. I know that many prepubescent girls are ambivalent about starting their monthly cycle – somewhat daunted by some aspects of what they hear, as well as eagerly awaiting that sign of growing up that it provides. I remember some of those feelings from that distant time in my life – but I was put in touch with it all the more acutely whilst sitting at the feet of these three wise women.
At every stage of life, those older than us have so much to offer. I honour my elders.
And I am a little more excited about becoming a crone myself.