by Rainbow Shultz
From the very early stages of developing our Romp and Nourish formulas, Corrie and I have been discussing the Big M, menopause. At first, we mostly marveled at how little either one of us knew about what it’s really like. Which got us thinking, why aren’t more womxn talking about menopause? Why is this natural transition cloaked in mystery?
One answer to those questions became clear when we started conducting focus groups for Lark. In a circle of womxn aged 25-35, only one person out of twenty had learned about menstruation from their mothers. The rest had relied on friends, older sisters, or older sisters’ friends for a crash course in using pads and soothing cramps. These young womxn described an undercover network of teenagers raising preteens in the ways of womanhood. For most, the great magical experience of becoming fertile was marked by a quiet bedroom conversation with another teenager—and a long, terrifying read of the instruction pamphlet in a tampon box.
If that is most womxn’s introduction to the beginning of menstruation, imagine the lack of conversation around the end of menstruation. At midlife, there are no neighborhood teenagers to take your hand, no instructions.
Our focus groups with womxn aged 50-70 were as enlightening as they were raucous. Discussing menopause with a room full of women who had already stared it down, felt like taking the lid off of a shaken carbonated drink. It was hilarious. It was terrifying. It was educational. It was the honest sharing of menopause experiences that Corrie and I had been missing in our lives. We learned that the knowledge about menopause is all there; there just aren’t many places in this society where we share it.
But luckily we are starting to.
In London, there are “menopause cafes” popping up. In Hollywood, actresses are starting to mention the existence of menopause. At Lark, we are talking about it every chance we get. Passing information from older womxn to younger womxn is empowering. It feels like love.
We hope to get the conversation going, and create a place where we can all learn from each other, because, friends, there is a LOT to learn.