In celebration of Women’s History Month this March, we’re honoring the different stages of womanhood. From getting your very first period through menopause, everyone’s experience is unique, but one thing is for sure: womanhood comes with lots of joys mixed in with challenges along the way. But like any journey, it’s the ups and downs that make the adventure worthwhile. So at the end of the day, it’s all worth celebrating.
One way we can celebrate is by sharing our stories and experiences. In doing so, we tap into the collective power of women and realize we are not alone. For that reason, below, we dive into common highlights and challenges that women experience at different stages of womanhood, plus some inspiring examples of real-life women who are winning, thriving and making history at each stage.
Women’s Journey #1: Menstruation
Everyone’s first-period experience is wildly different. For some, it may have been a celebration and rite of passage as you make the transition from childhood to adulthood. For others, it may have been inconvenient, embarrassing, or even a scary experience. And that’s just your very first period. Every period after that can also be quite eventful.
Take Kiran Gandhi, for example, who got her period the day she ran the London Marathon. Despite enduring period-related pain and discomfort, she didn’t let that stop her. Gandhi completed all 26.2 miles like a champ while free bleeding. Not only did she achieve her goal, but she also made a statement helping end the stigma around periods. Can you say, menstrual hero?
Women’s Journey #2: Pregnancy
Pregnancy is another womanhood stage that many women experience. Your body completely transforms to create new life, making you realize how incredible your body is and the miracles it can produce. Although your body goes through major changes over the nine months, that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to hit pause on your big goals. If anything, pregnancy can be the fuel that helps you get there. For example, Jacinda Ardern, the first female prime minister of New Zealand, discovered she was pregnant the same day she won, setting the example that women can have successful careers and be moms.
Women’s Journey #3: Postpartum
Once your baby is born, you enter the postpartum phase of womanhood. This sacred stage includes lots of bonding time with your new baby while finding a new rhythm as a family. That said, many hardships may arise during postpartum, which can be mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing, such as postpartum depression, hair loss, overwhelm, and sleep deprivation, not to mention your body is recovering and healing from childbirth. Know that you’re not alone in this experience. Many new moms have been through it. You’ve got this!
Wherever you need a boost of confidence, tap into your inner Ruth Bader Ginsburg. After giving birth to her daughter, the cultural icon made the Harvard Law Review while also attending her husband’s classes. Talk about supermom.
Women’s Journey #4: Menopause
The menopause stage of womanhood is synonymous with mood changes and hot flashes, but there are also many reasons to look forward to this phase in life. Most notably, it means no more periods or PMS-related symptoms for you, which alone can be very empowering. Menopause is also an excellent opportunity to take inventory of your life and hit the refresh button. What’s working? What’s not working? What new goals do you want to achieve? The sky's the limit. Junko Tabei, for example, was the first woman ever to successfully climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, at age 52 during menopause, no less.
No matter what stage of womanhood you’re experiencing right now, remember that you’re not alone. Many women go through similar things and experience all the highs and lows with you at every stage. Let that be the strength you lean on when challenges arise and remember to savor all the joys of womanhood too.
It’s Women’s History Month and we’re celebrating by honoring the different stages of womanhood and real-life women who are winning, thriving and making history at each stage. Read their inspiring stories: getrael.com/blog.