Perimenopause – who really cares about the cocoon?

You are warmly welcomed to our next events

Kindness for Therapists

Am I Going Mad

Think how many times the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been shared. How many wide-eyed little ones have heard of the adventures of that determined caterpillar. How he nourishes himself. How he prepares himself, until after his final munch on a green leaf, he creates his cocoon, and “two whole weeks later” he emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

What a potent message for nourishing ourselves, readying for a time of transformation, allowing the transformation to fully evolve, and then, only then, can we emerge in winged splendour.

I heard some time ago, that if you cut open a cocoon, mid-transformation, all that would be released is mush.

It became such a clear metaphor for perimenopause and menopause, and the importance of allowing for the full transformation, in all it’s mushy realism. That this pupae phase is where the breaking down is most important and most necessary.

We move from child to adolescent in our life spring, to our life summer when we are potentially in full creatrix mode, perhaps feeling more solid as we head into our life autumn, when we will at some point start meeting our perimenopause self.

What happens though, as we move further into our life autumn, and deeper into perimenopause? As we find ourselves navigating the menopause phase of separation, needing to strengthen our cocoon to protect ourselves for the dissolution into transformative mush? This early phase of menopause, can be painfully lonely. It’s a time to find allies.

But, once we’ve reached the point of the pupae, who is paying attention to what is happening within? To the dissolving self?  

It’s might not be considered a particularly attractive time. To many moving through perimenopause, it feels as though so much is breaking down, even eviscerated. As our hormones shift, so does our psyche, and the menopause manifestations start to become our guide as to how we might take the kindest care of ourselves.

However, even in the world of conscious menopause care, the phase of life that we call perimenopause is sometimes not acknowledged. I’ve even heard it dismissed as not a phase at all, as well as not being particularly interesting. That, if symptoms or manifestations are present, it’s due to insufficient inner work, or that the symptoms are simply confused with ill health.

Ageing women have often spoken of feeling invisible, and of losing their importance. It made me wonder if this attitude to perimenopause is where the seeds are currently being sown. If those who support conscious menopause aren’t even acknowledging perimenopause, where is there a safe home?

Here then, is a rallying call of support to my fellow travellers in perimenopause, and a call out to those who may have lost interest in our cocooned state:

While we’re in the mush, it doesn’t always stop us functioning. Although we will almost certainly need to make changes to accommodate our energy, tolerance and needs, please don’t discount us, we’re working at a different pace right now.

We don’t stop adding value to the world. In fact listen closely to the words of a woman in perimenopause, as she’ll speak all the truths, and cut through life’s bullshit. In reality, anything else is just too exhausting!

Honour a woman in perimenopause. She’ll be meeting all the unanswered questions from her life, all the unfelt grief, navigating the shift from one sense of herself to another, as yet, an unknown self, and a potentially powerful self. It’s courageous work.

Quite simply, it’s a time to be even kinder to each other and ourselves. Simple but often difficult to achieve.

To post-menopause women, in their Second Spring or beyond, don’t forget that you were also once in a mush state, inside your own cocoon. Perhaps, part of being human is to forget how truly challenging that particular moment of time in the transition is, and how absolutely necessary it is.

To discount the mush, is to discount our natural evolution of self.

At Woman Kind we do, deeply care about the cocoon, and we look forward to sharing Am I Going Mad again in May 2020 to explore perimenopause in all it’s mushiness.

You are also warmly welcomed to our next event Kindness for Therapists on 15th March


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