Hi there, and welcome to a new set of adventures – in Postmenopauseland. What’s in store for our intrepid explorer? What’s it like to be postmenopausal? Let’s find out as we catch up with Cath and the Dean family.
Outwardly still the same…
I don’t know what I was expecting to happen as my body marched past the magic 365 day marker, leaving perimenopause behind for ever.
I was half expecting to see a hairy wart, or a hooked nose, or even a hint of green tinge to the skin. The reflection staring back at me looked pretty much the same, except for a bit of toothpaste sneaking out of the corner of my smile. Note to self – do not grin like an idiot while brushing teeth. It gets messy!
Now that I’ve officially reached postmenopause I feel I want to mark the occasion somehow. There are so many rites of passage to celebrate during life, why not make menopause one of them instead of being something to fear, dread even. After all, as long as we a nice and healthy we should see another 25 to 30 years of life. That’s too long to spend regretting the passage of time.
Creating a new Rite of Passage…
Armed with a book or two and some on-line research I decide I am going to have a croning ceremony in a few months’ time (just to make sure I am definitely and absolutely over the finishing line), I just need to work out what I want and when it’s going to happen. Hopefully the weather will play nice and I can have it outside, but you can never rely on the UK weather. I can’t control the weather but I can prepare a to-do list worthy of any good project manager.
- Find a suitable spot in the garden to be my altar (the sun deck)
- Decorate said altar with candles (in lanterns for safety. The deck is wooden!)
- A pot of soil – not a problem for a keen gardener
- Sage to cleanse the area of any unwanted energies
- Some items to remind me of my ‘mother phase e.g. photos of the cost centers (AKA the kiddos) and me at Disney, their hospital tags from birth, my fertility thermometer
- Slim candles – one each of red (life), black (fertile possibility) and white (death)
- A crown – made from ivy and flowers growing in my garden
- Pray for a dry night!!
With everything set up and my daughter prepared to help me, we set off for the sundeck (aka altar). The weather was perfect for late autumn, thank you Mother Nature. With an air of solemnity we processed down the garden… when out of the blue…
‘BARKETY BARK! HOWL’
‘What the hell…?’ I whisper to Cost Center 1. ‘OMG it’s next door’s dog!’
From the other side of the hedge we hear our neighbour talking to the dog. He knows there’s something out there causing the dog to break into a full-on wolf howl, but he doesn’t know it’s us. Looking at CC1, I grin, hold a finger up to my lips, indicating we’re running in silent mode, and hope that doggo and his dad give up and go back inside.
We freeze on the spot, hardly daring to breathe. Seems doggo has supersensitive hearing not to mention comedy timing!
‘What’s the matter Pup? Whatcha barking at? asks doggo’s Dad.
Silently I answer his question -‘Just your neighbours heading to the bottom of the garden for a Croning ceremony. Nothing to see. Just grab doggo and head back inside.’ In reality, CC1 and I look at each other, shoulders shaking with silent laughter as we try to step onto the sundeck without squeaking a single wooden plank. Thank God we used screws instead of nails when we built it. It’s a testament to how well Mr D and I constructed the deck that not one plank squeaked.
‘Please just pick up doggo and head inside’ I plead voicelessly.
‘Now that I’m outside Pup, I may as well chill out here. It’s a lovely warm evening, too good to miss.’
The best laid plans…
You have got to be joking! Now what do we do? Well I’m damned if I’m waiting for the next lunar cycle. Only one thing for it, we’ll have to whisper our way through the ceremony.
Reaching the point where I’m supposed to snuff out the red candle with my left hand, I hesitate for a moment. I’ve never snuffed out a candle with my bare fingers. I prefer the pain-free version of deep breath and blow (even if it does mean that molten wax goes for a wander). Can I bring myself to do it? I’ll give it a go. Licking my thumb and forefinger I make my approach…
‘Yeeeeouch! Dang! Shoot!’ (note – this is the polite version)
‘Shhhh!’ hisses CC1 as I blow on my singed digits.
Mindful of my unexpected audience, we stop, listen for any sign that we’ve been overheard.
At this point we both get the giggles and have to clamp a hand over our mouths to stifle the noise.
Drawing in a steadying breath, I place my home-made ivy and flower crown on my head before I whisperingly declare myself to be Crone.
With CC1’s help we close the ceremony, tidy the altar, and sneak back to the house. As soon as the door is closed we collapse into fits of laughter, wondering if our unsuspecting neighbour caught any of it.
To this day, as far as I know, he didn’t. Either that or he’s too weirded out by us to mention it.