If memory serves me, which is questionable the closer I get to menopause, I have been counting down the days for when menopause would start for me since I got my period in fourth grade.
I can even remember getting excited about early menopause. It was absolutely "Yes! (after having my 4th and final child) Any time now! Bring it on, I am done with this period crap!" I couldn't have another child if I wanted to so I thought it only fair that I not have to deal with cramps, discomfort, water weight, sore boobs, and all the extras that come with that time of the month.
See, the focus there… was just not having a period anymore.
I am still waiting for it to stop. Let me tell you what I wasn’t expecting to be graced with in the meantime: sleeplessness, night sweats, hot flashes and a decrease in libido (seriously, why do that to a woman?).
I never realized that along with the hormonal changes that take place as you move into the senior “wonder years” is the way your body tends to gain weight, that it changes how you carry weight… and it feels like there is next to nothing you can do to lose it! Talk about challenging my sexy factor!
Keep in mind, I take great pride in my body. I eat healthy, don't smoke, rarely drink, don't do drugs, and I exercise. The discouragement and outrage I felt at my body seemed like a betrayal. I surely didn't feel sexy. I hated everything I had in my closet. Even my favorite sexy bra and panties didn't fit the same and made me feel quite the contrary.
Now, I am a coach. Part of what I do is help my clients work through situations and life events like this and here I was, struggling. It was impacting every aspect of who I was, as a woman… as a mom, girlfriend, and coach. Yes, the mindset is important but you still need the props. You still need to feel it. I wasn't going to throw out my entire wardrobe, despite contemplating it one morning trying to get ready for a business meeting, in tears because nothing felt right, I almost did pitch it all.
That is when it hit me. Feeling.
I needed to find clothes that helped me feel good.
Oh yes, I needed to address the extra weight as well, and that was going to happen (and it did) right after I take care of feeling sexy again.
This required me to do two very big things. Stop looking at the size associated with the clothes I was trying on AND finding a style that reflected my personality while camouflaging what made me uncomfortable and accentuating the positives.
I get it, it sounds completely superficial and you shouldn't need those things to feel sexy or confident or like a woman. Since we are all being completely honest here, we do need them. What we don't need is to fit society's idea of what sexy is or what we need to wear to be sexy. We need what is natural. Naturally us.
I went for comfort and sexy. What does that mean? Cotton. It also means I went vintage. That is the beauty of fashion trends, they repeat themselves. For me right now it is a resurgence of the late 60's and early 70's, where you didn't wear things that showed everything you own… and the fabrics were loose and you felt good in them. I am a big believer in feeling sexy starts with your bra and underwear. So finding those lovely gems for everyday wear is also important, my personal favorite is Warner panties.
Specifically, Warner “no muffin top panties”. Yes, I know… where is the sexy there? I have noticed with my "new" body where I carry weight has shifted slightly. All of my 44 years if I carried any extra weight it was right in the abdomen, right in front. I have the little mom pouch, I have had 4 kids - 3 of which were C-Sections, so my stomach has not been completely flat again since I was 22. The plus that I am embracing (smiling here) is that I have more of the curvy hourglass figure now. Before, my shoulders were broader than my hips.
Oddly, I am feeling more like a woman now than I have in my entire life. I have been given a different level of self-confidence in my body… more acceptance of who I am and what I look like. Perhaps, all these years of waiting for the BIG day (menopause starts) so that the period would be gone, I was really waiting for the chance to finally just be at home in my body.
Written by: Jennifer S.