Why is it called menopause? And when will it have an emoji?
For the past few years I’ve been reading up on menopause.
I’ve been looking for those books and information that would be balanced and quite frankly contained some facts. My biological understanding of menopause was nearly non-existent and I wanted to understand what my hormones had in store for me.
One of the many misconceptions I had about menopause was that the word must have been created by a man because it had the word men in it.
Turns out the term was coined by a French physician, Charles Pierre Louis De Gardanne in 1812, la menopausie.* It derives from two Greek words: men for month and pausis for cessation. As with many things, it sounds better in French (say it yourself, la menopausie).
But what struck me about this was, given women have been going through the menopause for probably as long as there have been women, this term was only coined in 1812.
The Victorians called it the climacteric*, but then again they also put women in asylums because they thought menopause symptoms were associated with mental illness (I think I’ve read somewhere that hysterectomy comes from the word hysteria and hysteria was often used to describe menopausal women in Victorian times).
But menopause is about so much more than no more periods. It represents a new phase. It’s sort of like another adolescence but without so much of the teenage type angst, because we’ve got experience now and been around the block (ok, I’ll speak for myself) so when the hormones start doing their thing, we’re a bit more savvy about what’s going on.
That’s why I was delighted to find out that the Japanese word for this phase of life is “Koneki” and it means renewal years and energy.*
So stuff post-menopausal (or perimenopausal – which in case you’re wondering is the lead up to the menopause, because technically the menopause is only one day in your life), I want to have a Koneki phase of life.
Also I would like an emoji for Koneki. There are now period emojis so it seems only right we should have one for Koneki.
If Koneki appeals to you too, then take a look at My Wisdom Years workshop happening on 22nd September in West Yorks. It’s for women 50 and over to celebrate our achievements, discuss Koneki (I know might take a while to catch on) and dream and plan for this next phase of our lives. Click here for info:
If you register by Friday 30th August, you’ll be eligible for the Early Bird offer £300 (instead of £400).