In the first session of the Menopause Diaries, we have Lynette Sheppard, the prolific Menopause expert, thought leader and writer of the very popular blog “Menopause Goddess.” In this episode, she shares wisdom on holistic treatment, prioritizing yourself through mid-life and more.
Lynnette, thank you for being here today. Firstly, I would love to know about your background and experience? What were you up to before starting The Menopause Goddess.
So, I was a critical care nurse, not a nurse for women’s health per se, but I was also an alternative practitioner. I learned a lot about alternative and natural remedies. And so that became a strong focus for me. Fast forward then to peri-menopause and menopause, which hit me like a steamroller. I had no idea it would be so devastating and that so much would happen. My thought was it was just gonna be, you know, I get warm a couple of times and maybe fan myself delicately.
So thankfully, I think my alternative health background helped me have some ideas of ways to help myself. But I will say, it was really in my experience as a nurse. We had a textbook about women and children health, maternal child health in there was one sentence out of thirteen hundred pages about menopause. That was that menopause is when you stop having periods, period. So it’s very little information. And so I, even as a nurse, found myself completely unprepared for the storm that hit.
That makes sense. How did you go about then obtaining information on your chances, despite not having access to it?
Well, first I did what any self respecting modern woman does. I searched the Internet. Unfortunately, at that time, there weren’t those many great sites out there. There were some drug companies who had blogs, but they were sort of superficial. There was a site called Power Surge dot com, which I’m not sure if they’re still around or not, but they had a lot of information…but it was confusing. I couldn’t sift through it and figure out what was actually happening.
And when you’re in the midst of menopause, your ability to take in information deteriorates somewhat. So I got Christiane Northrup’s book, which was out at the time as a new book. And it was five hundred pages. And I put it on the shelf. I decide to take it down, look at and go, oh, five hundred pages, I can’t do this and put it back. So I just began to say, well, who would I go to to get some information.
I talked to my mom who never noticed it because they put her on hormones about as soon as she said I’m hot. And it was it was difficult to get the information. So that’s how Menopause Goddess actually came about.
Femality: A huge gap that we’ve seen at Femality is the clear lack of continuity of care.
“If women think that an alternative might work for them, but they only try it for a week, that’s probably not going to be sufficient to see results. You need to be on it for longer.”
Absolutely. If you want to start seeing differences in your lifestyle, you have to stick with it. So a lot of women who are trying natural alternatives, they’re just going and trying this or that and proclaim: It doesn’t work for me. So that’s it. I’ll move on. And that’s another issue and gap we’ve been seeing in a lot of women seeking care. There is a natural inclination to throw everything but the kitchen sink at it because it’s so hot and I’m miserable. And so I always say, when you’re trying natural therapies, you’ve got to give them at least a couple weeks to work and only try one at a time. Why? She won’t know what works and what doesn’t. It may be uncomfortable and I get that. But here’s the thing. We’re women. If you tell us that it’s temporary, even if temporary is a while, it’s temporary and it’s normal. We can do anything. We don’t know that. And then we can take our time and go, OK. And, you know, there’s a lot of remedies that are completely innocuous, like fans and cool clothing and different kinds of sheets for your bed and even bed fans. There’s there are numerous things that help with the discomfort while you’re trying things to see what works.
“Women need to be reminded of those more basic treatment remedies.”
“That is true. The worst of it might last a year or two. I know that sounds awful to some women, but really, again, we’re women. We can get through this.”
Can you tell us about what, in your opinion is the worst thing about Menopause’s effect on women?
“The worst thing is isolation, the feeling of being going through this alone.”
It’s really it can be devastating. I know there are a few women who slide through, but that’s the rarity, not the usual. And the isolation just makes it so much tougher because you can’t explain yourself. You know, your husband doesn’t understand you. If you have kids, your kids don’t understand you. No one understands except someone who is going through it and I often say to women, it’s critical that you have support during this time, menopause, it’s like puberty to the tenth power. If we can look back at what puberty was and how uncomfortable and weird that was, but we support our kids when they’re going through puberty. They go in their room. They close the door. They they might cry by themselves. We try to give them space. They’re just going through puberty. A menopausal woman often has to continue to work, do child care, do everything she’s been able to do so far and go through this.
“There’s no locking yourself in a garret and writing poetry for the menopausal woman.”
Thanks for joining us on the first edition of “The Menopause Diaries” with The Menopause Goddess. Visit us at www.femalityhealth.com for more information and exciting blogs. Femality Health — The only mid-life women’s digital clinic, providing holistic and personalized menopause care designed just for you.