I celebrated finally reaching the menopause with a mini-break

Raising a flute of sparkling wine, I clinked glasses with my husband Peter. ‘To the menopause!’ we toasted. It was 13 November 2021 – exactly a year to the day since my last period – and I was clinking to my official menopause. It’s not a milestone many women choose to acknowledge, but one I firmly believe shouldn’t pass without ceremony or celebration. After all, this day had been a long time coming.

Six years earlier I’d noticed my regular-as-clockwork periods becoming erratic. At 46, I realised I was entering perimenopause. But instead of dreading the menopause itself, I looked forward to the day my periods would finally cease. For decades I’d suffered debilitating hormonal migraines during my period, sometimes for up to two weeks in every month. Having fewer periods during perimenopause at least allowed me some respite.

Still, I was a little anxious about the prospect – I’d heard enough horror stories from friends about erratic mood swings and mortifying hot flushes. But thankfully, apart from occasional moments of brain fog and light joint pain, I didn’t experience any debilitating menopause symptoms or need HRT.

I also didn’t feel like I was losing my femininity, either. In fact, I felt like I was regaining my identity. After homeschooling both my sons through their GCSEs, with one son now working and the other in college, entering menopause meant I had more time than ever to focus on myself. My child-bearing years didn’t feel like anything to mourn and instead I embraced my new independence. I finally had time to start my own copywriting business, Let ME Write, and also write a series of children’s books, something I’d dreamt of doing for a long time.

I’d always used a tracker app and after having a period in November 2020, as months passed without another, I began to realise they’d finally ceased and that my menopause, which is officially the year after your final period, was fast approaching. And unlike birthdays or anniversaries, my menopause would only happen once in my lifetime, so I felt that date, and the new phase of my life it marked, deserved celebrating in a special way.

Even so, I wasn’t sure if I’d be perceived as ‘over-the-top’ when I suggested going on a ‘menopause mini-break’ to my husband, but he loved the idea and booked a cottage for us on the Norfolk coast. My sons looked vaguely confused when I explained our plans, but they were nonetheless delighted to have the house to themselves while we went away.

It was 13 November 2021, exactly a year to the day after my last period, when Peter and I were sitting in a country pub, celebrating my menopause with fizz. The day wasn’t tinged with any sadness. In many ways, I felt relieved – looking forward to life without periods was joyous. I could officially wave goodbye to PMS and migraines and look forward to focusing on myself.

The rest of my ‘meno-break’ was glorious, involving all of my favourite things: the theatre, windswept beach walks and leisurely dinners. When we got home, a few friends confided that they wished they’d celebrated their official menopause too, rather than letting the day slip past quietly. While other friends who are still perimenopausal have vowed to mark the occasion when the time comes.

I understand for many women the menopause not only arrives with unpleasant side-effects, but also as a glaring physical reminder of the ageing process. And sadly, even though it is a certainty for all women, the subject can still feel taboo or embarrassing. By embracing my menopause, I’ve felt empowered to reframe that narrative. I’ll always be a mother to my sons. But the end of my child-bearing years highlights that I’ve done the hard yards. Surely now, I deserve to reap the rewards.

So I’ve marked 13 November – my ‘meno-versary’ – in the diary for this year, too. On that day, I’ll raise a glass to myself again, as a reminder of the fresh – and exciting – opportunities post-menopausal life has brought me.


Did you feel relieved when you were through the menopause? Let us know in the comments section 

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