Becca is the founder and host of Black Women Breathe – At the Brown Table, a podcast and blog that provides education and a safe space for serious discussion about the health crisis that Black women face. With deep passion laced with a bit of humor, Black women are guided to information, encouraged to share their stories and witness reinvention at work.
Becca believes that menopause does not have to be the end, but rather it is a newfound freedom that opens the door to new possibilities. At 47, she knew that she was not just battling a recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. The anxiety, depression, insomnia and the darkness she was feeling alongside sudden trips to the ER for chest pain, hot spots and nerve pain were all screaming at her that something was not right. No one believed that she could be in perimenopause.
Unfortunately, she tells us, women of color are rarely on the spectrum of seriousness. Finally, four years later, after limping through years of exhaustion and functional despair, she had to take steps to save herself. She has a daughter to be an example for.
In the Black community, menopause is a foreign word, says Becca. Acknowledging pain has always been a luxury, and if it ever is acknowledged, attention to it is short lived. When Becca ended up in the hospital for a courteous overnight stay to “get some rest”, her new mission was born. These days, she is dedicated to speaking and writing about the intellectual, physical, and mental health and wellness of Black women – because Black women must breathe too.
Over to you Becca, to tell us what’s in your Midlife Survival Kit.
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, $90
There is a saying in the States that Black don’t crack! Ha! While my skin is still showing some youthful signs, changing hormones means changing skin.
While stuck in the house last Spring, I noticed a sallow hue in my face and a few dimples in my cleavage area. I tested a few products, and the Truth Serum won the prize. Not only does the boost of collagen leave my face perfectly plump, hydrated and glowing, but it has also nurtured my cleavage. Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum is a staple in my war chest. I love it.
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Brentwood Home’s Crystal Cove Yoga Set, $149
I believe that I have always been affected by stress. However, in the last two years, my annoying child stress found his long-lost brother, anxiety. A strong and confident woman even amidst the given societal triggers, anxiety has left me feeling tearful, irritable and even enraged.
Meditation and breath work brings me the sense of security and peace that anxiety steals when it surfaces. But when it comes to spending long periods of time on the floor to decompress, there is nothing more appealing than having the right tools.
Meditation and breath work became so much more exciting and comfortable once I decided to treat myself to the Brentwood Home’s Crystal Cove buckwheat filled yoga set. It has been a game changer for my restructured yoga practice as well. The organic, handcrafted cushions and bolsters enhance my total experience.
Got a perimenopause or menopause question?
Turmeric Superghee, £6.99
Turmeric, “The Golden Goddess”, lives up to its Ayurvedic characterization as a spice with various benefits. Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient holistic approach, uses turmeric for internal and external inflammation, treating many common symptoms of perimenopause: fatigue, joint pain and IBS to name a few.
For me, the combination of perimenopause and Fibromyalgia symptoms cause tremendous stress to my body, setting off a barrage of pain that affects my sleep and state of peace. The Ayurvedic golden milk recipe (there are a variety of recipes online) with a couple of teaspoons of Turmeric Superghee soothes the pain and puts me in the deepest sleep zone. Always chat with your doctor.
READ MORE: 10 of the best menopause supplements.
Essential Journeys’ Tuberose & Arnica Bath Salts, $12.50
These bath salts, with some John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme playing as I soak, is a combination I love. Coltrane’s soothing music and the aroma of the salt in the soaking tub is how I love to spend my Sunday evenings.
My workout routine was downgraded from running to intense hot yoga, cycling and challenging weight training as result of Fibromyalgia. Now, with the onset of perimenopause, my workouts have changed again. While I do continue to cycle, I had to cut out the intense yoga and lighten the weights. I now focus a lot more on core exercises with an emphasis on Pilates and resistance bands. Three times a week I work this regimen, and my muscles are spent. The sultriness of the tenor saxophone and sensuality of the mix of arnica and tuberose… Perfect! I can relax, regroup, and rejuvenate for the next week.
Birkenstock’s Arizona Shearling sandals, £115
What can I say, but “These shoes!”. After many years of wearing 6-inch heels, (because the higher, the more beautiful and sexier I felt), I realized if I wanted to salvage what was left of my back and knees, I needed to redefine beautiful and sexy. When I saw that Birks had made their way to the runway as the foot covering of choice with chic couture, my 96 pairs of heels – yes, 96! -were history.
As I crossover into a new realm of life, I realize that minimal and beautiful fit perfectly together. This journey rebukes the status quo, and instead, allows me to redefine myself by my own definition, based on the wisdom that I have gained. Menopause is a badge of honor that has power behind it.
Now, I have a ton of Birks, and if you have ever worn them, you know after breaking them in, they are the best sandals ever. I work hard and sliding my feet into my favorite sandal with shearling is the soothing comfort I deserve after a busy day on my feet.