Why we need to share our stories with those that will follow. And listen to them too.
We are always very happy when younger women drop into our community of curious minds. As the world wakes up to the impact of menopause, seeing millennials taking agency now for their hormones means that the conversation is working. That the cookie crumbs we’re collectively leaving are being found. And that change, through education and empowerment, is happening.
Research tells us we all benefit too.
In fact, in data shared by Gen-M this month, 93% of women in the UK wanted their partners and families to be better informed about menopause.
But this week we’ve also been thinking about the value younger women bring in ‘advocating up’. As a generation of individuals with a better awareness of their bodies and perhaps a keener sense of the inequalities in the health sphere, more and more women in our community are telling us that their ‘a-ha’ moment came from a conversation with a daughter or a younger colleague at work.
When we host workshops in the corporate sphere, around 20% of attendees are in their late 20s and early 30s. They want to know not just what to expect. But what they can do now to nourish their bodies and minds and harness their hormones.
Some are scared of menopause. After all, so much historical noise has focused on truly terrible stories - because we need those stories just to be heard. And, despite a growing effort to balance representation, if you google the lifestage you’d be forgiven for thinking that it happens just to caucasian, middle-class women in their mid 70s….and that it leaves you frail and VERY VERY HOT. But the young women we speak to want to be empowered.
And, when they see someone who may be struggling, they have the language and empathy to reach out. Perhaps this means they don’t carry the shadow of shame we can feel. Perhaps it feels, already, a little less taboo for those that follow.
We hope so. Because when we reach out to each other to connect something very powerful happens to our hormone levels. Science tells us that feelings of connection increase the release of oxytocin - sometimes called the ‘cuddle’ or ‘love’ hormone due to our ability to trigger it with touch and bonding. Interestingly, women and men seem to respond to oxytocin differently. And whilst further research is needed, for women, oxytocin tends to also increase feelings of kinship.
And when we reach out and connect across generations? Well, researchers have shown it helps our mental health. It makes us more positive about the future. And happier about today.
So, this weekend, if someone younger than you asks if you’re ok...perhaps rather than our customary ‘I’m fine’, it’s worth telling your story. And listening to theirs. Your hormones and your heart will thank you for it.
With love, Rebekah and The MPowder Team.