The Best of Amaliah Straight to Your Inbox

Endless Winter or Second Spring: Embracing the Season of Menopause 

by in Health on 5th July, 2023


The female design is encoded for change. Life cycles and menstrual cycles form concentric circles that orient us to nature around us, as well as the shifting seasons within us. The sun, our universal clock, awakens us with its rising and settles us with its setting. This daily orbit is known as the circadian rhythm.  However, from menarche or the first period, a second clock attunes us to our menstrual cycles, which by no accident, are influenced by the phases of the moon. This monthly revolution is known as our infradian rhythm. 

Over decades, our menstrual clock unwinds and our hormones shift to no longer ebb and flow as they did in our menstruating years. Estrogen levels drop and ovulation hopscotches to a new beat until our monthly bleed becomes irregular and then naturally ceases. Once we complete an entire year without menstruation, we reach what is called menopause, and for some this new season can be disorienting.

Menopause occurs when the ovaries no longer produce estrogen and ovulate.  Without ovulation, progesterone is no longer produced in significant quantities, which makes conception impossible. Naturally, this tends to occur between the ages of 45 and 55. [Postmenopausal Hormone Levels | Menopause Now] However, surgery, illness, medical treatments, and intense stress can cause premature menopause prior to 40 years old. Additionally, family history, lifestyle habits, toxin exposure, genetics, and autoimmune conditions can contribute to ovarian insufficiency, meaning that the ovaries no longer make adequate amounts of estrogen. [Early Menopause in 20s: Symptoms, Causes, Concerns, & More (]

Closing the chapter on our fertile years shifts hormonal production from our ovaries to our adrenal glands which are also responsible for our stress response.  For these reasons, accumulated stressors, whether adrenal, dietary, emotional, etc., can contribute to a more challenging experience of menopause, alongside micronutrient deficiencies. According to Alisa Vitti, author of In the Flo, “Your symptoms are always in direct proportion to your degree of micronutrient depletion and lack of self care.”

For Menopause Coach [], Aamilah Begum, menopause came on suddenly following a hysterectomy. After decades of painful periods, dismissive doctors, and persistent advocacy, she was finally able to confirm her long-held belief– she suffered from endometriosis. For years, Aamilah was expected to simply tolerate her heavy, painful periods and referred for psychological counsel instead of further investigation when her symptoms became unmanageable. When Aamilah pursued consultation with an out-of-town specialist, he confirmed what she had known all along and helped her explore treatment options.  

When presented with the suggestion of removing her uterus, Aamilah thought it made sense as she had no intention of having children and was already over 40.  She prayed istikharah and proceeded, but was blindsided by the sudden onset of menopause.  Her moods became erratic and her relationships suffered. She felt like an entirely other person, even in her worship. An unforgettable low for her was staring at the blessed Ka’bah during Umrah and feeling absolutely no connection to Allah.

Aamilah’s quality of life started to return when she began hormone replacement therapy (HRT). She began feeling like herself again and found purpose in gathering women to discuss and understand the menopause journey. As for her spiritual life, her teacher and mentor Ustadha Iffet Rafeeq [About Us (] helped her feel a sense of connection to her womb space, even in spite of its physical removal. She felt affirmed that she still held the gift of womanhood within her, regardless of her ability to bear children.

Writer, Abda Khan [abdakhan | Twitter, Instagram, Facebook | Linktree], describes menopause as the “shifting of tectonic plates”. Feeling like the very ground beneath her was unsteady, she noticed her life and the lives of her peers quaking in significant ways.

Divorce, new homes, and adult children leaving the nest added layers of complexity to the internal changes she noticed. As estrogen, our key bonding hormone, decreases, the tendency to forfeit self for family intactness also loosens its grip and ignored conflicts tend to surface.

For Abda, the overlap of menopause and divorce was especially challenging, as she did not have the support of her spouse to anchor and comfort her in this rite of passage. Through her own written expression and lifestyle habits that center her personal wellness, Abda feels no need for hormone replacement therapy to compensate for hormonal changes. Her shift to vegetarianism significantly reduced nuisance symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Abda feels affirmed that menopause is, in fact, her second spring, opening possibilities of new growth, wisdom and experiences.

For Naimah Abdullah, triathlete and entrepreneur, menopause is her initiation into queendom. She is guarding her energy and protecting her health by remaining fit, cutting sugar from her diet, and prioritizing boundaries that protect her mental health and her availability to her adult children. Naimah recently completed an entire month of fasting in Ramadan for the first time without the interruption of menstruation, pregnancy or breastfeeding. In this season of her life, she feels Allah drawing her in closer. She enjoys the consistency of daily prayers without “a break” and is experiencing a new intimacy in worship that was harder to attain while tending to the demands of childrearing and family.

In a recent Instagram live [Angelica Lindsey-Ali (@villageauntie) | Instagram], Angelica Lindsey-Ali, also known as the Village Auntie, gives voice to the fine line between menstrual health and mental health. After a sleepless night fraught by panic, she was reminded that perimenopause, the phase of life leading up to menopause, can bring on challenging emotions and symptoms that are not spoken about. Angelica referenced recent studies that report how anxiety and depression often go unnoticed in Black women because they may present as overwhelm and irritability. She reminds women to check in with their medical providers about mental health challenges as they may intersect hormonal changes.

While polling middle-aged women at The New Pause, a menopause symposium held in March 2023, menopause advocate, Tamsen Fadal, shared reels of attendees reporting surprising menopausal symptoms like brain fog, hair loss, itchy ears, dry skin, burning tongue sensations, ‘frozen shoulder’, etc. They also shared tips for coping with menopause like exercise, tending to neglected areas of your life, managing stress, naps, and self-care.

The same participants polled also reported not being prepared for menopause by their mothers, which sadly mirrors menstruating ending much like it begins for many unexpecting girls– being left to figure things out on our own, alongside peers.  

The medical doctors present also reported to Tamsen that they received no significant education about menopause in medical school, but had to learn through self-study and experience that cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, joint, sexual function and sleep challenges can also be connected to menopause.  Their honest responses might explain why women like Aamilah were poorly prepared and inadequately supported when seeking medical support.

Like a second puberty, transitioning towards and through menopause can feel clumsy and uncomfortable as our bodies adjust to a significant reorientation. In societies where women are only praised in their youth and valued for their fertility, aging women might feel forgotten or discarded. However, menopause can also be seen as a gift that brings neglected areas of our life to the surface and gives women the hormonal footing to be fearless in their truth-telling, no longer yielding to the sensitivities attributed to the bonding hormone of estrogen.

To ease the transition, holistic hormonal experts Dr. Christian Northup and Alisa Vitti, recommend the following practices to support endocrine health while transitioning through the portal of menopause. [How to Prepare for Menopause in Your 30s and 40s – First For Women]

Limit Sugar and Stress: All reproductive hormones are significantly impacted by our cortisol and blood sugar levels. When both are high, estrogen tends to dominate in proportion to progesterone which tends to worsen menopausal symptoms.

Eat more fiber and omega- 3’s: Adequate dietary fiber supports daily bowel elimination which can help our body reduce levels of excess estrogen in the body. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fats can help soothe hormonal disruption and safeguard against early menopause. Important note – the longer we ovulate, the lower our likelihood of inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular conditions, and cancer later in life.

Get more sleep: In spite of the popular obsession to biohack, doing more with our time and functioning with minimal rest, sleep is still the best known way to digest stress hormones. If getting more sleep is a challenge, we can protect the quality of sleep that we do get by sleeping in a dark, cool room, limiting screen use within two hours of going to bed, and having a consistent bedtime routine.

Exercise responsibly: Metabolic changes during menopause can make weight gain easy and weight loss stubbornly slow. The temptation to work out harder and longer might arise while watching the scale. However, intensive and long workouts can raise our cortisol levels and turn on fat storage in the body.  Instead, focus on functional fitness that prioritizes muscular and skeletal strength, flexibility, and use, with special attention to the muscles around the hips. Weight lifting strengthens bones which can safeguard against osteoporosis later in life.

Focus on micronutrients: Long-term use of hormonal birth control, chronic stress, and consuming packaged foods can contribute to micronutrient depletion over time. Paying special attention to B-vitamins, magnesium, probiotics, antioxidants, and trace minerals in the diet are helpful ways to restore key nutrients needed for hormone production.

Meditate: Relaxation practices are known for easing physical and psychological discomfort, including the reduction of hot flashes, anxiety, etc. Dr. Northrup describes perimenopause as when “all the unfinished business of the first half of your life comes up.” Therefore, being able to sit with and take stock of where you are enables more presence and awareness to do the course-correction needed and proceed further in the direction you want to go.

Menopause might be presented as a death or ending of our fertility, but this season can also usher us into our wise woman years.  By fully embodying the creative power that we have practiced through decades of cycling, birthing, and bringing projects and ideas to fruition, we can stand in our truth, enabling us to become the aunties and elders that our communities need.


“Second Spring” is a concept borrowed from Traditional Chinese Medicine

Chantal Blake

Chantal Blake

Chantal Blake is a Holistic Menstrual Health Educator, Womb Steaming Therapist, and Writer. In her upcoming book, Peaceful Periods: Holistic Womb Care for Teens, she curates an informative reading journey for young women that is both empowering and enlightening. Instagram: @honoredwomb Facebook: @honoredwomb Website: