The dark arches of the Big M.
A hot flush hell in your forties.
Today I turn 50. It’s strange and somewhat unsettling to see that number written down, like it’s not quite right and someone’s made a mistake. I still feel 30 in my head, my body acts like a 30-year-old and my outlook on life remains young – yet it feels like the body I woke up with today is definitely not the body I went to bed with last night.
Looking back, I’m quite certain that perimenopause started for me in my 30s. In fact, I believe my second pregnancy at 38 kicked it off quite strongly. The overload of hormones that floods the body before, during, and after pregnancy is extraordinary, so I didn’t think much of it. I was always tired, but just attributed that to a newborn baby and a toddler.
I started to lose my sex drive, which was always extremely high before, but… newborn and a toddler.
I started to feel overwhelmed a lot, but I thought I was going through postnatal depression. I took some Chinese herbs for that and while things started to pick up, it was the overall ‘unbalancing’ in life I was feeling. My sleeplessness started around the same time, so it was a general shitstorm I was in the middle of and had no way of seeing myself out.
And my gut was telling me this wasn’t a newborn and a toddler.
My 20s and 30s had been spent very actively – travelling to beautiful overseas places, kickboxing training on beaches in Fiji, creating a strong personal training client base in London. But entering my 40s was not so easy. Two small children, a body that wanted to be buff but wasn’t quite as centered as before, always struggling to ‘find time’. The overwhelm was extraordinary.
I just thought I was being a terrible mother. I felt as though my whole equilibrium had shifted. There were some glorious highs, but the lows were crippling.
Insecurity. Imposter syndrome.
These things all seemed out of character – I was fit and healthy, living a charmed life in Australia where I was able to create a training clientele list that worked for me around parenting. What was going on?!
It’s time for us to open up the conversation about menopause and the full effect it has on women.
The more I talk about it, the more people – clients, trainers, friends – ‘fess up and say that everything they thought they knew about The Big M was actually quite unhelpful. Accurate information is surprisingly hard to find, and real-life experiences are often hard to talk about.
Now, I appreciate that every woman will have their own experience, and not everybody will suffer; in fact, some women float through this time with a warm glow on their face – lucky for them! But it doesn’t matter if you float through or are only just barely keeping the fraying edges of your life together, it’s time this subject was no longer taboo and something we talk about in hushed tones.
We need to be open and share our experiences with each other.
So, out of my menopause comes the birth of Xali – a place where we can all collectively create a communal space to work through this hilariously brutal hormonal rollercoaster. This space is full of stories and anecdotes, some mine and some from others; some funny, some painfully real. There’s plenty of advice from specialists in the fields of nutrition, exercise therapy, hormonal health and different modalities of training to get different perspectives on this confusing time. This is your place, your journey, your Xali.
So, are there any benefits to this life transition called menopause? Well, as far as I’m concerned, I haven’t found one yet! (But I’m living in hope).
However, talking about my symptoms with others has been the key to managing it. And knowing that I’m not alone. Within this Xali space, we’ll talk about common menopausal symptoms, what causes them, what we can do to alleviate them. We’ll talk about my journey, which is different from every other journey, but you might see some similarities and gain some insight into things that might work for you. We’ll create a space for you to share your stories within the Xali community, all while providing activities to keep you moving, techniques to keep you mindful, recipes to keep you nourished and researched articles to keep you informed.
Xali means ‘a new way’. It’s going back to the wisdom of the women that has been forgotten.
Our Xalian tribe is designed to enlighten and lift – it’s the celebration of something we deserve, rather than the uncertainty and unknown that currently exists.
Xali is a space where our daughters will no longer have any issues in talking about the three very clear transitions in our feminine lives, and that men also have a place to learn and understand.
I want to take the shame and fear out of this time. I want to help educate women on why it happens, how we can manage the symptoms and change our perspectives.
I want the word ‘menopause’ to be normalised and as easy for everyone to say as, well… menopause.