Avivah Wittenberg-Cox is a coach, consultant and CEO of 20-first, a consultancy that helps companies around the world build gender and generational balance. Her current focus is on helping people transition into a successful second half of life, work she began exploring as she experienced menopause.
Find out more about Avivah at 20-first and find her on Twitter @A_WittenbergCox.
How old were you when your symptoms started?
I am 59 now. I must say I can’t remember! Sometime in my late 40s I think.
How did it affect your day to day life?
Not all that much, although I did drink sage tea from a plant I was growing in the garden. I had read that it was good for symptoms of menopause.
What were your symptoms – and were they different to what you expected?
I had some sweating, but there was nothing dramatic, although I had to wear pyjamas in bed so I wouldn’t soak the sheets. I did get very frustrated with the state of my marriage, which I left at 50. But I’m not sure that was a symptom of menopause.
What has been the hardest thing to deal with?
My late 40s were some of the most intense years of life, work, parenting and childing. Juggling tons of really huge issues made menopause a bit of a non-issue for me. There was SO much else to deal with.
Any positive symptoms?
I met (and later married) my current husband at 50, and interestingly, I remember my periods and everything else that had been tapering off returned and I was back to normal for a couple of years longer… The body is an amazing, adaptive thing.
What did you do to help your symptoms?
Read a few books, drank that sage tea, started yoga.
How do you feel today?
Pretty fabulous. Free, happy, healthy, engaged, loved and loving… and still practising yoga.
What do you say to other women?
Adulthood starts at 50. The first half of life is setting the stage, building the foundations, the family and the skills. The second half is reaping what you’ve sown and becoming yourself.
Menopause is a symbol of the shift from birthing, supporting and caring for others, and dancing along a tightrope, to being able (if you’re lucky and healthy and financially sound) to step into yourself, your dreams, your purpose. You can focus, often for the first time.
Adulthood starts at 50. The first half of life is setting the stage, building the foundations. The second half is reaping what you’ve sown and becoming yourself.
Your menopause was…
A very transformational period of my life. I wrote my first book, saw my kids fly the nest, left my first marriage, fell in love, and did some of my best work.
You feel MPowered when…
I’m doing good, sharing love, having fun and staying foolish!
Avivah is partnering with us on The Midlife Reset, a three-part online workshop to help you design the next phase of your life. £45, includes all three 60-minute sessions in November 2020. Book your space here.