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Don’t call it a midlife crisis. Call it a midlife renaissance. That’s the message Stacy London had for her audience during BlogHer’s Health conference last Friday. Seated on-stage at Rolling Greens, a nursery neighboring Los Angeles’s Arts District, the former What Not to Wear host opened up about the complex journey to her own renaissance.
It started, in a way, when she turned 47 and her body began to ache — constantly. Her skin got dry, she developed grey chin hair, her nails were becoming brittle, and bouts of cystic acne cropped up. Menopause was hitting, and London felt completely unprepared.
“I had mood swings, I was angry, I didn’t not feel like myself,” London said. “We have let women for generations white-knuckle through this because we are internalizing the shame around aging.”
So, she decided to do something about it.
The fashion expert co-founded State of Menopause, a company dedicated to selling products that address the many frustrating side effects of menopause. You can shop by concern (breast tenderness, hot flashes, itchy skin, etc.) and find everything from a cooling facial moisturizer to hand and joint cream. There’s also plenty of supplements and a hydration kit.
Beyond all the nourishing cocoa butter and cooling peppermint oils, London is hoping to start a larger conversation about aging and menopause. “I wish I’d known everything about menopause sooner,” she told SheKnows later over email. “The most important thing I’ve learned from entering this space is how much more we need to learn, explicate and make room for the natural occurrence of menopause instead of not speaking about it…and shrouding it in fear and shame.”
You can think of menopause as the mercury retrograde stage of life, London added. The time has officially come to sit back, receive and focus on your own needs.
“This is a reminder that you need to take care of yourself, too, because you have 40 or 50 years left to have an awesome life,” she said.
It’s also a chance to connect with other people going through the exact same transition. As new, confusing changes are happening within our bodies, sometimes it can really help to share, commiserate and simply feel seen. It’s what London wishes she had.
“When I was going through menopause, I’ve never felt so alone in my life,” London said. “Do you know what a relief it would have been to say to someone else, ‘You too?’”
Before you go, check out some of our favorite quotes to inspire positive and healthy attitudes about bodies and food.