10 Women Celebrate Life After Menopause: 'We're Off The Oestrogen Roller Coaster'

From the joy of ditching tampons to renewed confidence and even better sex, "there is light at the end of what you think is a never ending tunnel".

“It is horrendous, but then it’s magnificent.”

When Kristin Scott Thomas – playing Belinda in Fleabag – said the menopause is the most “wonderful fucking thing in the world” because it rids women of the pain of periods, sore boobs and childbirth, women sat up and listened.

Because while we (quite rightly) hear about about the difficult symptoms of menopause that two thirds of women experience – hot flushes, mood swings and memory problems, to name a few – we rarely hear that encouraging voice that says: you will be okay. Or better than okay.

So, to mark World Menopause Day, we asked women who’ve come through the menopause to share the benefits they’ve experienced, plus their advice for younger women struggling with perimenopause (the bit before) or feeling daunted by the prospect. The sisterhood replied in droves, so here are just some of the KST-worthy nuggets of wisdom:

‘You emerge a happier version of yourself.’

Christina, 59, lives near Winchester and hit menopause five years ago at the age of 54. Like KST’s character, she does not miss periods one bit.

“You don’t get bloated or moody in the third week of every month and you don’t bleed, ache, feel dizzy, sick and tired in week four.” she says. “You don’t have to worry about leaks or the right pants, or carry sanitary protection around with you all the time. But if you have a fairly straightforward menopause, you emerge as a less spotty, less moody, yet-not-mad and hare-brained, slightly older but possibly happier version of yourself.”

Christina’s advice: “It sounds obvious, but it’s going to happen anyway. I’d say don’t think too much about it, don’t ‘wait for it’. Live your life, wait and see what happens. Then deal with what you’re actually experiencing, physically and mentally, when the time comes.”

‘There is hope, it will get better.’

Jo Mosely
Frit Sarita Tam
Jo Mosely

Jo Moseley, 54, became officially post-menopausal (when you’ve had a year without periods) as of last month. The perimenopause came at a hard time for Jo; she’s a working single mum and her parents were both going through chemotherapy at the time. But coming out the other side has led to new adventure – Jo became the first woman to paddle board across the country 162 miles coast to coast this summer, fundraising and picking up litter on the way.

“The perimenopause broke me when I was already down but it forced me to reevaluate my life and look after myself and that has brought a lot of joy, friendship, creativity and adventure,” she says.

Jo’s advice: “If you are feeling awful, know that you are not alone and that you are not going crazy. It’s important that you start to look after yourself and your own needs. That’s not being selfish, it’s a must. Say no to things people ask of you more often and say yes to yourself more. And if you need to get medical advice or help, go for it. No shame at all. There is hope, it will get better.”

‘You will feel back in control of your life.’

Jacqui Wright
Jacqui Wright
Jacqui Wright

For Jacqui Wright, 61, from Salford, being happy on “the other side” felt unimaginable when she was going through a hard menopause. But she’s now relocated and feels more confident than ever.

“I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it as I’d been going through a tough menopause and as you think it’s never going to end, that means you think you won’t cope with whatever life throws at you,” she says. “But I can honestly say the last couple of years I’ve felt a lot more in control of my life so that means my confidence is back.”

Jacqui’s advice: “I think every woman going through menopause feels that they’ve ‘lost’ themselves and they’ll never feel the same again. You just feel so out of control with everything going on. Well it does get better and I’m here to tell you that you will feel back in control of your life and will definitely enjoy life again. Don’t despair, there is light at the end of what you think is a never-ending tunnel.”

‘Being off the oestrogen roller-coaster is fantastic.’

 Rachel Lankester
Rachel Lankester
Rachel Lankester

Rachel Lankester, 53, originally from Birmingham, went through early menopause at 41. She’s since set up a business and online community dedicated to helping women celebrate life post-40.

“If we’re told anything about menopause, we’re taught to fear it. We’re taught that older women lose their value with their fertility – our society worships youth and the fertility that goes along with it,” she says. ”[But] there’s so much to like about being post-menopause. No more periods. No pregnancy risk. No more pre-menstrual tension. Off the oestrogen roller-coaster. More able to prioritise ourselves rather than being driven to nurture everyone else. More confident and secure in our skin.”

Rachel’s advice: If you’re feeling daunted by the prospect of menopause ask yourself why. Is it because you’ve heard it’s always a nightmare and life is all downhill from there, that you’ll no longer be a vibrant, sexy, beautiful woman and you’ll fade into obscurity? Choose not to believe that rubbish!”

‘Menopause has been the best thing.’

Helena Tubridy
Helena Tubridy

Helena Tubridy, 59, from Ireland, has loved being free from PMS post-menopause, getting her MA in Ethics last year aged 58.

“I’m loving life and feeling great, menopause has been the best thing. I’d highly recommend it!” she jokes, adding that menopause gave her space to do a “mini audit” and take stock of her life.

“My daughter had just died by suicide and for four months I didn’t realise I was in menopause right then, aged 49. [It was] time of major transition and grieving,” she says.

“The clarity of my ‘menopaused’ life opened new horizons, and gave me the courage to head back to learning. Study was so much easier without PMS and higher testosterone levels also deliver more confidence in questioning, speaking and presenting.”

Helena’s advice: “Decide to navigate menopause actively – not to resist, hide it, or to feel shame or loss.”

And that’s not enough positivity for you, here’s some more wisdom we were sent: