At Make & Mary, we have the incredible privilege of connecting with women worldwide in all phases of their lives. Through our workshops and retreats, we've had heart-to-heart conversations about every woman’s stage, and it's become clear to us that numerous women navigate through perimenopause and menopause with far too little information. Many don't recognize perimenopause or menopause symptoms when they first arise, which can be stressful and scary, and they rely completely on traditional medical knowledge to guide them through this passage.
Our founder, Yvonne, is an herbalist who has spent the past few years of her life in the perimenopause and menopause transition. Between her first-hand experience, herbal education, and heartfelt conversations with other women who are also journeying through this phase of life, Yvonne has found knowledge to share on how menopause affects the body, what it symbolizes, and how women can support themselves during this shift on an emotional, spiritual, and physical level.
What is Peri/Menopause?
Throughout a woman’s life, she experiences various reproductive changes. Perimenopause usually occurs in the early to late 40s; however, for some women, it starts as early as the late 30s. This stage begins the final reproductive shift, where a woman transitions out of menstruation, and her body slows the production of eggs and estrogen.
After a woman’s moon time is absent for 13 months, she is officially in “menopause.” Culturally, menopause marks the moment a woman enters the stage of deeper wisdom and understanding. She has cycled through the phases of being a maiden and a mother, and she now represents the wise, well-aged crone.
As someone who has recently experienced (and is still experiencing) the rites of passage of menopause, Yvonne understands that this can be a demanding physical and psychological time for many women — especially living in a Western culture that lauds youth-oriented and patriarchal constructs. It’s easy to slip into the mindset of not feeling your worthiness when experiencing peri-menopause and menopause, but various cultures view this chapter with honor and respect for the wise woman spirit.
One of the many gatherings at Make & Mary
Maiden- before puberty, Mother- fertile years, Crone- post-menopause. You don not have to have given birth to go through the Mother phase.
Peri/Menopause Through Varying Cultural Lenses
In Asia, the Middle East, and for many indigenous peoples, this chapter and time symbolizes transformation and renewal, often including a positive shift in social status. Shamanic cultures view peri/menopause as a chapter of awakening as the spirit sets out on a journey of rebirth. While it may be challenging to remind oneself of this beautiful symbolism during a sudden and intense hot flash, it can be helpful to open the mind to these concepts as an act of self-love.
I have found that with the help of plant allies, baths, and other ritual practices that this journey, though often hot is also so enlightening.~Yvonne
How to Recognize Peri/Menopause Symptoms
Perimenopause symptoms can create a trying time for women, which is why the process often gets a bad rep.
Some symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Adverse mood
- Vaginal dryness
- Poor sleep
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
- Low libido
- Irregular periods
- Bladder complications
- Joint and muscle discomfort
- Symptoms often vary in intensity and frequency, and while numerous factors are at play, the average timeframe for these experiences is 7 - 10 years. A woman entering the first phase of perimenopause may notice a shift in the regularity of her moon time and may recognize that she doesn’t quite feel like herself.
Experiencing these manifestations may also significantly impact emotions and mental health. Psychological changes may surface as:
- Low mood
- Low self-worth
- Lack of purpose
These effects often reflect the broader societal perspective around this transition and can be highly trying for women.
We are endlessly creating ourselves, and peri/menopause is part of that courageous path.
Soothing Peri/Menopause Symptoms
Although peri/menopause symptoms can be highly uncomfortable, there are gentle, natural ways to soothe these manifestations and bring peace to the body, mind, and spirit.
One of our favorite ways to soothe the body during peri/menopause is to take baths. Baths have a way of relaxing the body and balancing out body temperature for those that experience hot flashes.
Baths have such an impact on Yvonne’s peri/menopause symptoms that she soaks at least once per week. To elevate your soak and make it feel more spa-like, you can add relaxing elements like Epsom salt, gentle herbs (like lavender, rose, and chamomile), mellow music, and candles.
Our Make & Mary Love Note CBD Bath Bomb and Soulshine CBD Bath Bomb are specifically designed with 100mg of CBD, nourishing salts like Epsom and dead sea salt, and soothing plant oils to invoke the magic of calm and leave you feeling balanced.
Due to the dehydrating nature of numerous peri/menopause symptoms, staying hydrated is crucial. Not only does this ensure the body and mind are able to function optimally, but it may also decrease the frequency of some of these uncomfortable sensations, like night sweats, nausea, vaginal dryness, and muscle cramps.
To encourage water consumption, you can try finding a reusable water bottle that is easy to travel with and has an accessible straw or sipping mechanism. You can also try natural water flavors like lemons and limes. This can make drinking water more enjoyable and delicious!
It may also be time to look into a natural lube to help hydrate your lady parts.
One of the main characteristics of peri/menopause is the decrease in estrogen production, which triggers many of the above discomforts. Some herbs are known to contain active constituents called phytoestrogens that potentially balance out estrogen levels and may ease peri/menopause discomforts.
Some supportive herbs include:
- Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
- Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
- Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
- Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)
- Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
- Chasteberry, also known as vitex (Vitex agnus-castus)
Our Founder, Yvonne, formulated our Inner Beauty Clear Skin Tincture with many of these herbs to help soothe her peri/menopause discomfort, and it’s been shared and appreciated by many women in our circle ever since.
Perhaps one of the most essential ways to encourage self-care and love during this transition is spending time with others who are also experiencing peri/menopause symptoms. Whether that’s a close friend or a group of like-minded women, talking and sharing in the experience is a great way to process the changes and find support during this life chapter.
Peri/menopause is a natural and complex transformation that affects all women differently. And while the ideas mentioned in this post may help bring comfort and solace during this shift, embracing this time in your life may also elevate your perspective and leave you feeling highly-inspired to find rebirth and growth as you enter this chapter of ever-evolving wisdom.