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Reframing Menopause as an Awakening

I woke up from feeling dead inside to living a life of passion and new possibilities!

Marcella Hill
October 5, 2023
Medically-reviewed and fact checked by Ryan Lester, PA-C

Marcella Hill is an author, speaker, perimenopause advocate and creator of the Wake Her Up community, which supports thousands of women with resources and inspiration. Her moving and relatable story has been featured by the New York Times and Oprah Daily, moving millions of women across the globe to start listening to themselves.

I stood in the bathroom brushing my teeth, trying to summon any sexual desire. It had been over three weeks since we last had sex. Today was a good day. We spent time in the yard, got the grocery shopping done, took the kids and dogs for a walk, and then watched a movie. He even ran to the store for our favorite ice cream and rubbed my feet. Sex seemed like the next thing on the list to do. It was always fun once I got into it.

I wiped my mouth, put the cap back on the toothpaste and crawled in bed. He was playing a game on his phone. Laying my head on my pillow, I realized how exhausted I was. My eyes closed and my body didn’t want anything else besides sleep. He leaned over and kissed my forehead, laid his face in front of my face, wrapped his arms around me and said, “Today was nice.” Without opening my eyes, I gave a tired smile and a quiet, Mhmm. He rubbed my back and moved closer. His nose was touching my nose waiting for me to respond. 

I also was waiting for me to respond. But nothing turned on. Thoughts flooded in, If he was just more romantic maybe my body would want to have sex. Maybe I’m not attracted to him like I used to be. If I just lost some weight, then I would feel sexier and then I would want sex all the time. Maybe, worst of all, I’m falling out of love. The podcast I listened to said if I do it more, then I’ll want it more. One girl did it for 30 days in a row and got her sex drive back. Maybe I just need to do that. I’ll just do it anyway.

We make love, and it’s nice, nice like checking off a chore that needs to get done.

I wake up in the middle of the night. My legs won’t sleep. No matter what position I am in, my legs have to move and wiggle. Finally at 3 am I get up and take some ibuprofen thinking that it will relax my body enough to sleep. This was the fourth night in a week that I had gotten up to take ibuprofen. I must need to do some more yoga or meditation; obviously I’m super stressed out.

Waking up the next morning, I was already ready for a nap. Getting out of the shower I noticed as I wrapped my towel under my arms I smelled like onions. Did I forget to wash my armpits? Maybe it’s the towel. No. It was me! Ugh. I put on extra deodorant. Maybe I just ate something weird yesterday. 

Brushing my hair I notice that my scalp is flaky. That’s so annoying, I just washed my hair. I guess I need to change my shampoo or do a deep conditioner.

Standing in my closet was the worst part of the day. I had gained weight over the past year and none of my clothes fit the way they used to. I hadn’t changed anything, I was still eating the same and going to the gym. But everything was uncomfortable. I go for yoga pants and a big tshirt. 

Today was going to be filled with driving kids around. My back had been bothering me for awhile now, but lately sitting in the car was almost unbearable. I grabbed the whole bottle of ibuprofen to bring with me. 

The first stop was the dry cleaners, but I had forgotten to grab the clothes that needed to go to the dry cleaners. Which wasn’t the first time. I swear I’m getting old, I forget everything

The rest of the day was typical, errands, driving kids to and from activities, taking ibuprofen to take the edge off of my back pain, and calling my friend who is a hairstylist to ask her about which shampoo I should change to. 

After the kids were in bed, I found myself standing in the mirror brushing my teeth wondering if sex needed to be added to my list of chores again tonight.

This was my life for five years after asking my gynecologist to check my hormones. She checked them and told me that everything was normal, and I was just getting old. I was 36-years-old at that appointment. 

A friend introduced me to hormone therapy and after the first night I slept all night.
After a few months I realized that my scalp wasn’t dry and flaky. The onion smell from my armpits wasn’t there anymore. And after a long walk I realized that my back didn’t hurt, and hadn’t for a few weeks. 

I was standing in the kitchen when my husband came home from work. He kissed me his regular ‘home from work kiss’ and my body lit up. Like lightning from down below up through the top of my head; I was turned on. The feeling was so foreign, I was almost embarrassed. I felt like a teenager not really knowing what to do with feeling horny. I couldn’t remember the last time I asked for sex. It was always him asking and me being too tired or just doing it anyway. It wasn’t ever me needing it, wanting it, RIGHT NOW!

I have now been on hormone therapy for over a year. My brain, my body, and my soul feel like they all woke up and I am back! 

Life is different when you feel alive. What felt like a life of slowly dying now feels like a new life where anything is possible.

I went skiing with my son for the first time. I hadn’t been skiing since I was 20. I take an adult hip hop dance class just because I can. Long road trips aren’t painful endurance tests. Pouring passion and desire into my goals and dreams has brought new opportunities. I finished writing my book that I had worked on for over 4 years. Enjoying pleasure in my body is a new experience that I gladly practice regularly. 

I don’t stand in the mirror brushing my teeth at night, feeling like I might have one more chore to do. 

After sharing my story, millions of women have come together to share theirs. Living dead inside should not be normal. Women deserve to feel awake and alive. We deserve to live with passion, desire, and hope. The Wake Her Up community is now filled with over 38K women all supporting each other in their individual awakenings. It has brought me and thousands of others the encouragement and strength we all need to wake up during this transformational phase. I didn’t know that Perimenopause was even a thing. I thought I was going crazy. 

We aren’t crazy, it’s our hormones!


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About the Author

Marcella Hill

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