Elephants in the Room Part 5: Undoing the Stigma of Menopause with Cheryl Bridges Johns

Have you ever heard anyone say they are looking forward to menopause? A rare occurrence, to be sure, as our culture seems obsessed with keeping women “young” on all levels. 50 is the new 30, right? And while women inevitably age, the maturation of women has not classically been held in high esteem in our culture. So no wonder we view the onset of menopause with fear and trepidation; a stark reminder that we’re not what we once were. And as most elephants in the room, this natural transition into what should be a wise, peaceful and well-earned season of our lives is met with disdain; something to be hidden and ignored, or “fixed” with surgery, hormones, and a host of anti-aging products. For those of us who haven’t gotten there yet, we’re treated to the negative aspects played up historically by a patriarchal perspective giving us dread of hot flashes, mood swings, body changes, gray hair and overall loss of youth and vitality. Though this transition is unavoidable for all women, we’re here to look at what it all really means–to those who are currently going through it and to those who inevitably will. We hope you’ll be encouraged to find that there is much to lean into that gives us hope for a productive and meaningful second half of life. We’ve got a wonderfully educated and compassionate leader in this space–she’s not only been through it, but her work focuses on de-stigmatizing the whole topic for women and taking to task the historical negativity around a woman’s aging process. Cheryl Bridges Johns is an author, she’s an academic lecturer, she’s a leader. She advocates for women’s full empowerment, care for all God’s creation, and the renewal of the church to boot. She’s written a compelling book about navigating the second half of life as a woman–it’s called Seven Transforming Gifts of Menopause, which gets to the heart of this change by helping women find their voice and speak openly about their journey. Cheryl wants women to see their menopausal journey as a time in which we can become more and more of ourselves. She believes if society can embrace this natural occurrence, women can flourish in the second half of their lives, which can only lead to the flourishing of society as a whole.