Meet fashion icon, Stacy London. Best known as the co-host of TLC’s hit show, What Not to Wear, Stacy is now the founder and CEO of State of Menopause, a product line for women that addresses the symptoms associated with perimenopause.
Stacy opens up about the shame and grief that often accompanies menopause, the surprising symptoms like insomnia, depression and joint pain and why some experience such intense brain fog they think they may have early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Learn more about the nonprofit Let’s Talk Menopause: www.letstalkmenopause.org.
Thank you to Always Discreet for sponsoring this episode of Hello Menopause. Always Discreet because we deserve better.
Christine Maginnis (00:00):
Hey friends. The views of our guests do not necessarily reflect the views of Let's Talk Menopause. Let's Talk Menopause does not provide medical advice. The content in this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions that you may have.
Speaker 1 (00:23):
Speaker 2 (00:25):
What is menopause?
Speaker 3 (00:26):
Speaker 4 (00:26):
What is menopause?
Speaker 1 (00:26):
When you stop having your period? I don't know.
Speaker 3 (00:29):
When we get older.
Speaker 5 (00:31):
Something I'm going through now.
Speaker 3 (00:32):
My mother went through menopause, I remember, when I was young.
Speaker 6 (00:36):
I'm definitely not an expert but I believe it's when...
Speaker 7 (00:37):
Instead of having a period, it's hot flashes.
Speaker 8 (00:40):
I just remember the hot flashes.
Speaker 5 (00:42):
A combination of everything you can imagine.
Speaker 6 (00:44):
I didn't know there were health risks that come with menopause.
Speaker 4 (00:46):
Menopause is life changing.
Speaker 6 (00:47):
Yeah. It sounds terrible. I am glad that I don't have to worry about that.
Speaker 7 (00:50):
It's something that is not here soon enough.
Speaker 5 (00:52):
It's the end.
Speaker 1 (00:53):
You approaching us to talk about it makes me think like, wow, I know nothing about menopause.
Speaker 6 (00:58):
Especially if half the population goes through it. I'm kind of embarrassed I don't really know anything about it.
Speaker 1 (01:02):
They educate us on our period. Why don't they talk about menopause too?
Speaker 3 (01:05):
Being a woman is cool.
Christine Maginnis (01:11):
This is Hello Menopause, a podcast where you'll hear real menopause stories from real people.
Robin Gelfenbien (01:17):
Whispering behind closed doors? Not here.
Christine Maginnis (01:20):
We promise, it is not just in your head.
Robin Gelfenbien (01:22):
And you are not alone.
Christine Maginnis (01:23):
I'm your host Christine Maginnis.
Robin Gelfenbien (01:25):
And I'm your other host, Robin Gelfenbien. Let's Talk Menopause.
Christine Maginnis (01:39):
Hello everyone, and welcome. Welcome to the first episode of Hello Menopause.
Robin Gelfenbien (01:44):
Woo woo. Since you're new around here, we thought we'd introduce ourselves and give you a little lay of the land.
Christine Maginnis (01:50):
So this podcast is all about people sharing their own menopause stories. So I think it's fair that I share a little bit of mine. Just as I turned 35, I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, POF, a condition that is now called premature ovarian insufficiency, or POI.
Robin Gelfenbien (02:12):
Truly the worst two names anybody could have labeled that. I mean, ugh, it's just terrible.
Christine Maginnis (02:18):
I think the failure upset people so they upgraded question mark to insufficiency.
Robin Gelfenbien (02:23):
Big question mark.
Christine Maginnis (02:25):
Exactly. So there I was. I found myself as a newlywed who was so eager to start a family with her husband only to discover that not only was I in fertile, but I was well into the menopause transition.
Robin Gelfenbien (02:42):
God, I can only imagine how hard that was.
Christine Maginnis (02:45):
So when in 2020 my old friends Donna and Samara began talking about creating a non-profit organization that would be designed to help people navigate menopause, I thought that's genius. Let's do it. So we created, Let's Talk Menopause, and it's a place where we really want to change the conversation so that people get the information they need and hopefully the healthcare that they deserve.
Robin, you are famous for having good stories. What's yours?
Robin Gelfenbien (03:14):
Well, thanks, Christine. So I'm a comedic storyteller in New York City. And on this podcast, I'm here to bring some lightness to all this like sciencey stuff. So here's the deal. Science was my worst subject in school. It was so bad that my sister used to sing, she got a C in science. She got a C in science.
Now I am here to talk to you about menopause, which blows my mind. So before I start working on this, I knew jack shit about this topic because I haven't been through it, and nobody talks about it. And now I know way more than I ever thought I would.
Christine Maginnis (03:56):
I agree. And we have some really heartfelt conversations to share.
Robin Gelfenbien (04:00):
On each episode, we kick things off with what we like to call our meno on the street segment. I hit the streets of New York City asking total strangers about menopause, life, aging, typical stuff no one ever wants to talk about. And I talk to a lot of people, a lot.
Christine Maginnis (04:20):
Robin, I have to say that hearing each new menopause on the street montage is my absolute favorite part of recording this podcast. I love to hear the reactions you capture. It's eye opening to hear from so many people, and it never fails to make me smile. And I love that after each montage, you and I get to share our own personal reactions.
Robin Gelfenbien (04:40):
Me too. So let's weigh in on the montage we heard at the top of this episode. Christine, what did you think of what people had to say?
Christine Maginnis (04:49):
I have a bunch of things to react to, but I think what kind of struck me at the very beginning was how I'm imagining you on the street asking, what is menopause? And then so many people responded with, what is menopause? It just seemed like the question itself seemed to stop people.
Robin Gelfenbien (05:06):
Yeah. I actually was very sort of strategic about how I approached people. And when it came to stopping men, I kind of tried a couple of different things. One was like, let me just say, excuse me, can I ask you a couple of questions for a podcast? And sometimes I would say, can I ask you a couple of questions for a podcast about menopause? And when I did that, then quite often the men, if they were with a woman or something like, oh, that's all you. But with the ones who I only said, can I ask you a few questions for a podcast? They're like, oh sure. And then when the first question is, what is menopause? And they're like, what is menopause? They were like, what? That's why you want to stop and talk to me?
Christine Maginnis (05:44):
Yeah. I really loved the man who he sounded so sincere, and he said, well, I'm not an expert.
Robin Gelfenbien (05:51):
Right. Of course.
Christine Maginnis (05:52):
I give him points for trying.
Robin Gelfenbien (05:54):
Oh, totally, totally. And yeah, because I loved that there was one guy who said something like, I think it was the guy who said like, I'm embarrassed I don't know more about it. Which I think is just most people's reactions. But I appreciated the sensitivity there.
Christine Maginnis (06:11):
Yeah. I also noticed the woman who it sounded to me as if she's been there, done that, when she said, menopause, it's a combination of everything you can imagine because of all the different symptoms and maybe that feeling of what you didn't know before you got there. She just sounded like the wise owl. She probably could be a guest for a whole episode.
Robin Gelfenbien (06:35):
Yes. And I like the woman who was like, can't get her soon enough. She's like, hurry up already.
Christine Maginnis (06:42):
Yeah, I think she knows about it too.
Robin Gelfenbien (06:44):
Yeah, she seemed pretty well informed.
Christine Maginnis (06:47):
Yeah. And then how about the, I have to guess it was a younger woman who said, or was it a woman or a man who said, sounds terrible.
Robin Gelfenbien (06:55):
Yeah. I think it was a guy. Yeah. Because he was like, I'm glad I don't have to worry about that. That was definitely a guy.
Christine Maginnis (07:01):
Yeah. Yeah. That was great. I like the woman who said, and I think it's fitting for this show, why don't we talk about it? Well, we will.
Today we'll be speaking with American stylist, fashion consultant, author and magazine editor, Stacy London. After starring on a reality television show, What Not to Wear, she traded in her TV stardom to become the owner and CEO of State Of Menopause. She is passionate about reframing the conversation around menopause and midlife, and we are too. Here is our lovely conversation with the one, the only, fabulous, Stacy London.
Robin Gelfenbien (07:53):
Stacy London (07:55):
Hey, Robin. Hey, Christine. Hello, Menopause.
Christine Maginnis (07:58):
Robin Gelfenbien (07:59):
Stacy, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today.
Stacy London (08:05):
Oh, please. Oh, please. Do we have to be that polite? Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. We know each other. Let it all hang out.
Robin Gelfenbien (08:11):
Christine Maginnis (08:12):
We're friends here.
Stacy London (08:13):
Robin Gelfenbien (08:15):
Overjoyed. For those people who don't know you, the three people who don't know you, could you introduce yourself to our listeners?
Stacy London (08:26):
Me? Oh, hi.
Robin Gelfenbien (08:28):
Stacy London (08:28):
Hi. Hi, I'm Stacy London. I don't have a middle name. My parents didn't give me one. They were super lazy. So when I was six years old and filling out my ERBs, I wanted a really special, fancy, really elegant, special middle name that I gave myself. So I am Stacy Cynthia London on my ERB.
I think if you probably know me, you probably know me from the show that I used to do called What Not To Wear. But I am now the CEO and co-founder of State Of Menopause, which is a lifestyle and personal care brand for people experiencing menopausal issues.
Robin Gelfenbien (09:03):
Christine Maginnis (09:04):
So Stacy, we've done a lot of researching and reading about your story, and it's absolutely fascinating. And also parts of it are so heartbreaking. I felt so much empathy for all the things you were going through at the same time. But I want to travel back in time to when this all started. And you've said that nothing and no one prepared you for menopause. So if you can take us back to when it first started happening, the symptoms showed up and what was happening in your life at that time?
Stacy London (09:29):
Yeah, I mean nothing and no one did prepare me. And I will tell you quite honestly, it never occurred to me that I would go into menopause, that I would have menopause. I thought it was optional. The only cultural reference I had ever understood about menopause was when Edith Bunker yelled at Archie, and she was always so meek, and it was that she was going through the change. That is all I remember.
And I remember that my mother had a radical hysterectomy, but we never talked about anything that she experienced after. So the greatest predictor of when you were going to go into menopause is usually when your mother went into menopause. So I didn't have that conversation with her, but for me, I had spine surgery in December of 2016 that was pretty significant. I know Robin and I have talked about this before, but my spine is now made of bone and titanium. And I had that surgery, I believe it was December 6th, 2016. And it was really 18 months of rehabbing it. But in the beginning it was very, very painful and extremely hard. And in January of 2017, I got my period twice in one month, so heavy, never really had periods that. Never saw it again. Now that would mean essentially that after January of 2017, I was postmenopausal.
Christine Maginnis (10:59):
So you had two periods in one month with excessively heavy bleeding, and then you never got your period again?
Stacy London (11:05):
Christine Maginnis (11:06):
Okay, keep going. I'm sorry to interrupt, but that's interesting.
Stacy London (11:09):
Yeah, no breakthrough bleeding, no lighter periods, nothing. It was like, let's get this blood out of here, and we're just cleaning house. Got the Dyson. We're not coming back.
And so it was a pretty radical change for me. And I think when I look back now, it had probably started, the signs of it had probably started. I was 45 or 46, and what I remember about that time is that I was taking some time off from work. I was going to figure out what I wanted to do next. I had just finished another television show after What Not to Wear. And I was like, I'm going to take a year. I'm going to go travel. I'm going to figure out what I want to do next. And I did. I traveled a lot, but I also started to notice that I was grumpy a lot of the time, or I was kind of checked out, just didn't feel as mentally agile, just start to feel like, huh, is this what happens in your mid to late forties? You start to look different, feel different. I felt like my jowls were kind of melting into my neck, and my ass was melting into my knees.
But I still, that's not true. That phase, 2015, 2016, even early 2017, I still felt good. I mean I still felt like I looked like myself. The skin was changing texture, but it was the moods. It was the moods that really set me off.
Six weeks after I had the surgery, I went in to see my doctor for the first time, my surgeon, and he showed me the x-ray of all of the titanium in my spine. And I left, and I started to have the most bizarre sensation that didn't go away. My anxiety shot through the roof, and I kept thinking, oh my God, my body doesn't know that it was shocked almost into a death state because when you operate on somebody's spine, brain or heart, the body doesn't realize that it's not going to die. So there's this very weird association. Your body doesn't know that you chose to have surgery. It just knows that it's been cut open.
So they don't tell you ahead of time, but it's very possible when you have surgery in one of those places that you will experience anxiety or depression because your body really does not know how to handle that kind of blunt force trauma. So they don't recommend telling you ahead of time. I have no idea why, because when it happened to me, I had no idea what was happening. And I thought, why didn't you just tell me that this was a possibility? At least I would've been prepared. So here I am thinking that this surgery has somehow created this sense of anxiety, real anxiety, not so much depression, real anxiety. And I remember I would cry a lot. I was anxious all the time, almost kind of electricity vibrating through me all the time.
And I said to my boyfriend at the time, I feel like something is eating me from the inside out. I feel like some part of me is just being choked alive. And I couldn't explain it. I had no way of knowing where it was coming from other than to assume that it was my surgery.
But then as I was starting to recover from that, I started to have other weird things happen to me. My skin really did dry out to the point where it almost felt like sandpaper when you would touch it didn't feel supple at all, like skin, but it was more than that. The mood and the skin stuff were really the first things. But then it was the worst night sweats. And then it was not being able to sleep because of night sweats. And then it was mood swings, and then it was depression, and then it was rage.
And really, just as I was coming out of the 18 months of rehab, my dad who had been diagnosed with a heart disease earlier, so he got sick in March of 2018, and he died in November of 2018. And I was with him a lot of the time. I started to feel like what I thought was kind of the physical manifestation of grief and fear. So I started having heart palpitations. He had trouble keeping food down, and all of a sudden I was allergic to all these different foods, and I would vomit. I mean I couldn't keep them down, just like my dad. He would have a skin rash. I would get a skin rash. And I thought, what else could this be? All of this, it just feels like a black cloud has been following me ever since the spine surgery. I don't know what is happening to me.
And when I went to see my doctor and I said, something isn't right. She was like, it's menopause. You'll get through it. And because I trust and love my doctor very much, I thought I was overreacting because she was so dismissive. And I couldn't go on hormones because of my health profile. And so what are the options if that is not for you? And I asked my doctor, what do I do? And she was like, you will get over it. It'll be fine. Okay, well that that's not an answer. And I didn't know better to ask more questions.
Christine Maginnis (16:38):
Okay. Couple things. One thing is that a Johns Hopkins study that came out a few years ago said that 80% of residents, OB/GYN residents, come out of their program. They say that they feel ill prepared to discuss menopause with their patients. And I have to be clear and say that is not their fault. It's because the program makes coursework on menopause an elective. You can choose to take it, or you can choose not to. So do you really want somebody who's had two hours of information about something to be your doctor as you age? So I do think there is a serious gap.
Stacy London (17:14):
So what I care about is informed patients. If you don't know what to ask, you may not get the answers that you need. If your doctors don't feel prepared to talk about something, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't feel free to ask and to get the help that you need and to find the right doctors. So to me, this is much more about being proactive because the second thing that I did want to say about when I started to feel the real effects of the entire menopause experience, every phase, every cycle was that I didn't look like myself anymore. I didn't feel like myself anymore. But more importantly, I didn't know what to do about it. I had no agency over what was happening to me.
And I have become a staunch, staunch believer that we have to be our own advocates. And if you are like me, especially with the medical community, I'm a people pleaser. So I'm like, you tell me something. I'm like, okay, that's cool, that's fine, that's what it must be. I should have taken my GP, who has been my doctor since I'm 23 years old. That's 30 years she has been my doctor. I should have been like, what are you talking about? But I didn't know because she was like, yeah, that's what it is. It's fine.
If you really want to be in a position to pre-game it, the only way to impact the experience of menopause is to know everything about it before you get there. And we are the first generation who is openly, as Gen Xers, talking about menopause. We are not taking aging lying down. We feel more free, but we are still inheriting the generational shame of really anybody who experiences the hormonal fluctuations who has female reproductive organs.
And what's so crazy about that is that I cannot believe, even if we think about it as hormonal health and not female reproductive organ health, we are tying a person's worth to their reproductive system by saying that when you get to menopause, you're past expiration date. You are grieving for a loss that is something that you can't get back. I didn't particularly want children, but when I couldn't have them anymore, that stung a little bit. I mean, it's sort of like you can always do something, and then you can't. It was sort of having spine surgery and not being able to walk right away.
Robin Gelfenbien (19:46):
Christine Maginnis (19:47):
And you wanted ultimately to make that decision for yourself about whether you have kids or not. And then...
Stacy London (19:51):
And then it is, eventually, you don't get that choice anymore.
Christine Maginnis (19:55):
I want to piggyback on your notion of shame. So my story, in a nutshell, is that I got married at 34 and could not wait to start a family. Everything was going to be the dream. And then I started, not too long after, a precipitous decline in my libido, which had not been the case before. And I felt lethargic. I rapidly started putting on weight, and I felt off. I knew something was wrong with me. And I went to my doctor who'd been my doctor for a while, and I told her my symptoms and I said, something's really off. Maybe test my thyroid. There's something off. This is where the shame comes in. She was a little exasperated because she didn't want to run the blood work again because I just had it done six months prior. And she said, your insurance isn't going to cover this thyroid test. You just had one. And she put her hand on my arm, and she said, in regard to the low libido, she said, Christine, let me be the first one to tell you that the honeymoon, it won't last forever.
Stacy London (20:57):
Christine Maginnis (20:58):
I just turned 35, I think. And I really felt like she hit me. And then she did do the blood work and pretty quickly came back that I had what they called then premature ovarian failure, which now they call POI.
Stacy London (21:12):
I do actually want to say something about that because I was on a panel that was with a bunch of people who were all talking about the various stages of hormonal health when it comes to people with female reproductive organs. What was interesting was that they went in succession. They had somebody talking about women and their period. They had somebody talking about women and pregnancy. They had somebody talking about women and postpartum. They had somebody who spoke right before me about infertility. And in that conversation was a gentleman, very nice man, but he was using words like failure, success, performance.
And I was like, what are we doing to women? These words, this language is so weighted and is so painful that when they turned to me and said, well, isn't menopause the ultimate in infertility? And I was like, no, it is the end of fertility. And that is a very different conversation. Every natural process has an end. And this is not something that we should be ashamed of. We should be looking at it at the natural transition that it is. How can we make people ashamed of that which is natural?
Christine Maginnis (22:26):
Right. And if someone warned you, these are the symptoms that you may expect when you get there. If a doctor had a conversation with you at 40, it'd be too late for me. But for most people saying X, Y and Z would happen, then you won't get the feeling that I had, and it sounds like you had, Stacy, is what is wrong with me? I didn't say, oh, I have a medical condition. My hormones are a roller coaster. I just kept saying, what's wrong with me?
Robin Gelfenbien (22:51):
This is very engrossing. I mean a lot of times people will say the idea of why is this happening to me? Why is this happening to me? And you may have heard people say, you should say, why is this happening for me?
Stacy London (23:02):
When I was really experiencing the worst of my cluster of menopause issues at the same time, I probably would've hit you in the face if you'd said to me, oh, this is for a year.
Robin Gelfenbien (23:13):
Of course. That's why I was saying in this scenario, it's different. Yeah, yeah.
Stacy London (23:17):
But in this scenario, it actually isn't different because the one thing that we're not talking about is that I'm not trying to use scare tactics when I talk to younger people about menopause. I'm trying to use prepared tactics. I want you to know what's coming because the more you know, the more you know. And the more you know, the more it's going to impact your experience of menopause. If you know what's coming, you will be able to identify it and say, aha, I'm not crazy.
Christine Maginnis (23:41):
And you say, I know what that is.
Stacy London (23:42):
I know what that is. I know what to ask for my doctor. I know what to ask my care practitioner. You don't have to see a medical doctor. You don't have to take hormones. You could do acupuncture. You could find over the counter products.
The thing is, it is something that's happening for you because I think that menopause is mother nature's biological failsafe for making you refocus on your needs, not the needs of everyone else, not the needs of your partner or your kids or your parents or your job. It literally forces you to sit back just like Mercury in retrograde. We think about Mercury in retrograde. We think it's the worst thing in the world. Everything goes completely... Don't sign any contracts. Communication is destroyed. All your electronics won't work. But what do they say the flip side of Mercury in retrograde is? It is the time for you to stop trying so hard to make things work.
But the point is that you have to sit back and listen. You have to sit back and pause. You have to sit back and receive. And that is something that is happening for you. This is the thing. When we go to our doctors, we can't just say, I don't feel like myself. I don't look like myself. If you know what the telltale signs of menopause are, you can say, hey, I want this hormone test because here are the things that I am experiencing. Here is how I can elucidate them. Here is how I can explain them to you. This is what I'm asking for. And if you can't help me, then I'm going to find a doctor who will. That is your right and the ability that you have by pre-gaming this stage of life, by knowing everything you can know about it.
Christine Maginnis (25:25):
I've heard you say this before too, and I think it applies too, is that there's an inequity in that because, speaking for myself, I have healthcare. I can get that information, I can do the research, but I don't think that everyone has equal opportunity or as much time to be responsible for doing all their own research. And that's what gets me.
Stacy London (25:42):
I don't disagree with you, Christine. I'm not saying that you should do all your own research because I agree, not everybody has the time and not everybody has the luxury to have insurance. But I do think that for the most part, this is now something where you can type into Google menopausal issues, and there is SEO. You will see actual reputable sites with discernible information that allow you to make very quick choices and have power back over your own agency. I talk about Electrohealth all the time. Their 21st Century Guide to Menopause is a remarkable piece of work. The dedication and the research that went into that, the use of which is at our fingertips is really quite remarkable.
Robin Gelfenbien (26:28):
So you completely reinvented yourself. You are now the CEO of State Of.
Stacy London (26:33):
The company is called State Of Menopause. On the packaging, and if I had started this from the get, I would have made Menopause as big as the State Of. Why are we hiding from that word? Why does that make it any easier to normalize, not just destigmatize, but normalize and optimize for this conversation? So I will promise you that when we sell out of our first round of inventory, we are totally changing the packaging so that menopause is front and center. And I believe really strongly in that because you don't have to scream it from the rooftops. You can go to my site and get whatever you want, and it comes in discrete packaging. That is your decision. Whether you want to scream from the rooftops or not is your choice. I will do that for you. I just want to scream loud enough so that you get whatever help you need when you are experiencing and start this stage of life.
And you don't die as soon as you go into menopause. You have another lifetime in front of you. So not only do we have to start talking about it to optimize our health for the next 40 years, because in menopause, that's when cardiac, cognitive and bone health becomes so important. And you really do need to know how to eat, how to move, how to take care of yourself so that your health does not decline as you age. And we have to figure out the way through. How do we bounce back from that? How do we maintain our sense of self-love, self-acceptance, self-expression, self-esteem, all of the things that don't go away just because your period does or just because your progesterone does or just because your estrogen does. These are things that should not be limitations on the way that we want to live our lives. And the more prepared we are, the easier and more powerful I think the menopause experience can be for people.
Christine Maginnis (28:26):
Yeah. I think we're fighting a significant multi-billion dollar industry to be anti-aging. And it sounds so cliche to think we really need to be pro-aging.
Stacy London (28:38):
First of all, anti-aging is the definition of insanity. You can't bang your head against the wall expecting something different. You can't be anti-aging. How can you be against something you can't stop from happening.
Christine Maginnis (28:48):
Right. But I am finding, and I'm not just saying this, that I am very pro-aging in that I like myself better now than I ever did before. I find this age in my life to be great, and I feel more creative. I feel more emboldened. And I think I heard you say this on another podcast where you said you have less F's to give.
Stacy London (29:09):
Christine Maginnis (29:11):
I thought that was perfect because that is the beauty of being older. You've lived through enough, you've lost enough, to know where it's important to put your time and where really I'm not going to worry about that. It's empowering.
Stacy London (29:23):
I mean, I don't disagree with you. But I will tell you this pivot of mine, just going back to Robin's question about being the CEO of a menopause company, that's a big pivot. That's a big transformational shift to go from being a fashion stylist in magazines and then one on television to an industry that I don't know anything about to running my own company. I didn't go to business school. But then again, nobody is born a CEO. CEOs are made. And I was like, I'm going to do this. I'm going to do this, one, because it's really important to me that I do something that continues the kind of work that I've always done. And What Not to Wear was not about the clothes. It was never about the clothes. It was about what the clothes can do.
And in the same way, when I think about what I went through that I would never want anybody to have to experience because it was so disorienting and so scary, if I could help somebody mitigate that experience in a way that made it easier for them to get to the other side of, that's doing the same work. That's making sure that somebody's sense of self stays intact through what can be hard. I don't sugarcoat this stuff. It is hard. Menopause is not easy.
Robin Gelfenbien (30:38):
Stacy London (30:38):
Aging is not easy. But this idea of pro- or anti-aging or aging gracefully, I mean, please, I can not with any of that. There's no pro, there's no anti. You're just going to do it. And I don't care if you think you can stop the hands of time. Have the facelift, use the Botox, use the Instagram filters. I do not care. But you are going to die. And when that happens, do you want to look back on your life and make sure that you lived it to the fullest? Did you do as much with your time on this earth as you could have? What do you realize in menopause? What you might realize, if you are coming to this at chronological age, is that you have more days behind you than you have in front of you. That is scary. And that is also something to kind of value and revel in.
And one of the taglines for our company is feel better now because we want to be for you in the acute, symptomatic stage of relief. How can we help you in those acute moments? That's very important to us. But feel better now is also about remaining and accepting where you are. Come to us as you are, not who you were. We can mourn for her. You can say goodbye to her, but you have to accept who you are to welcome and nourish who you're going to become.
All of this is a remarkable reclamation of time for women and certainly have work to do within our own generation and certainly the generations that came before us. But I feel very hopeful about the idea of de-stigmatizing this or the shame surrounding this dissipating really quickly. For me, normalizing menopause isn't just getting you to be okay with it, normalizing it is telling your partner, your kids, your doctors, your care practitioners...
Christine Maginnis (32:23):
Robin Gelfenbien (32:25):
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Yeah.
Stacy London (32:26):
... here is what I need. Think about if you could just tell the truth of who you were. If you could say, in the workplace, I'm really struggling through these hormonal issues right now. It's impacting my productivity. If you could say that, and somebody lets you go home, and you could sleep during the day, then guess what? You'd be more productive the next day.
We want people to understand what is happening to us, even if it doesn't happen to them, or even if it's not happening to them right now, so that we can kind of create more empathy and compassion around the entire experience.
Robin Gelfenbien (32:59):
Yes. Stacy, I have one last question before we wrap things up. Since you and I met through storytelling, and I know you're a big fan of using humor, I'm just wondering, do you think if we gave menopause a different name that it would help people kind of embrace it a little bit more?
Stacy London (33:23):
I don't think it makes any difference. In fact, that's why I feel so strongly about keeping menopause in the name of my products. And if we can make that word feel beautiful to people, then it is.
Robin Gelfenbien (33:35):
And I totally feel like, going back to what I was saying about how this happened for you, I hate that you experienced the myriads, are we calling it symptoms? What are we calling it? Issues?
Christine Maginnis (33:47):
Robin Gelfenbien (33:48):
That you did, but I also look at it as such a gift because you are so passionate about this topic, and you are the one with machete. You are just chopping shit down. You're like, get out of the way. You are the trailblazer that I think this topic needs. And I am so grateful that you're doing the work that you're doing. Can you please, and I'm sure our listeners will feel the same way. They're just like if, like I said at the beginning, the three people who don't know you, can you tell us, can you tell those three listeners? We can give them some names. Where can they find you and everything that you're doing with State Of Menopause?
Stacy London (34:28):
Okay, well definitely please come to our site StateOfMenopause.com. I'm very excited that we have now started to introduce not just product, and there was a reason, actually a method behind that madness. I really wanted a product company. I wanted a consumer-facing product company because I wanted to be able to say, you have a problem? Here is a physical thing that can help you.
Now we're putting education behind that. Now we're putting research behind that so that when you come to the site, not only will you be able to see product and shop by concern, we use concern instead of symptom. You can see a list of things that we are trying to solve for at the moment. We take all that consumer feedback and all that data, and that's how we plan our next product drop, based on the needs of the consumer audience that we desperately want to be a part of. So please come to StateOfMenopause.com. Stay for a while, hang out, read an article, see how that applies to you.
Christine Maginnis (35:25):
If we could help anyone not experience what you and I experienced, victory.
Stacy London (35:29):
Robin Gelfenbien (35:31):
Well, on that note, thank you, Stacy. I want to hug you through the screen.
Stacy London (35:36):
I know, me too. Me too.
Robin Gelfenbien (35:37):
I feel so, like you're just this, ugh, I just love how passionate you are about this.
Christine Maginnis (35:43):
You're a ball of love and empathy.
Robin Gelfenbien (35:45):
Oh my God, totally. And to just see how you've come out of it and just all the important work that you're doing must feel so purposeful, and what you're doing is so important. So thank you so much for joining us today. And I can't wait to see you IRL soon.
Stacy London (35:58):
I know, it's so true. Guys, thank you so much for having me. Please follow us on Instagram, shop @StateOf. We want you to come and play with us because there is really a very positive understanding of this experience. Once know about it, once you know what the tough stuff is, you can really dig into the stuff that is going to be meaningful to you on the other side of it.
Robin Gelfenbien (36:28):
Christine Maginnis (36:29):
Robin Gelfenbien (36:29):
Are you just as amazed, impressed, blown away by Stacy?
Christine Maginnis (36:36):
I am. She had so much information to share, but she had so much heart to share and so much kindness, compassion, empathy. I loved every second of it.
Robin Gelfenbien (36:45):
You can tell she really speaks from the heart. I mean, because she cares so deeply about people, and she wants to do such important work. And given that you're both coming from this perspective of I don't want anybody else to have to experience what I experienced, it's just... At some point she was talking about the care you need, the doctors you need, the family you need, all these things. I'm like, the Stacy London you need. I was like, you are just this, rare that I say I'm speechless, but she just is, everything she says is just so passionate, and it's very moving.
Christine Maginnis (37:20):
Yeah. And I love that she's so honest and raw and that she could take you back to what a struggle that spinal surgery was, followed up with these symptoms of menopause that she couldn't quite identify yet, but the changes in her mood and how she was feeling. And then you add to that, the knowledge that your dad is quite ill and that she took care of him for a year and then experienced grief all at the same time. It just made my heart ache. And to think that she could come out of that with such things to offer the rest of us, I just applaud that.
Robin Gelfenbien (37:52):
I agree. I agree. And I am so thrilled that she was our first guest.
Christine Maginnis (37:57):
Yes, me too.
Robin Gelfenbien (37:59):
So yeah. So listeners, we hope you got as much out of it as we did. We just liked having you here, and we look forward to having you back.
Christine Maginnis (38:06):
Hey listeners, if you enjoy this podcast as much as we enjoy recording it, we'd love it if you could help us out.
Robin Gelfenbien (38:16):
,All you have to do is rate and review the show and it will help us reach more listeners. It only takes a minute, and it makes a huge difference.
Christine Maginnis (38:25):
It really does. And if you want to follow the show while you're at it, we won't mind.
Robin Gelfenbien (38:30):
No, we won't. And don't forget to tell your friends to check it out too.
Christine Maginnis (38:34):
Our mission at Let's Talk Menopause is to give people the information they need so they can get the healthcare they deserve. Please visit our website at letstalkmenopause.org for a wealth of menopause information, including a symptoms checklist, information about long-term health risks, how to navigate menopause at work, interviews with health experts and so much more.
Robin Gelfenbien (38:57):
This episode of Hello Menopause is sponsored by Always Discreet, makers of liners, pads, and underwear for bladder leaks. Always Discreet, because we deserve better.
And by the support of Astellas, on the forefront of healthcare change.
Christine Maginnis (39:12):
Hello Menopause is a production from Let's Talk Menopause, made in partnership with Frequency Media. I'm your host, Christine Maginnis.
Robin Gelfenbien (39:19):
And I'm your host Robin Gelfenbien.
Christine Maginnis (39:22):
Eda Garcutia is our supervising producer, and Alana Herlance is our producer. Laura Boyman and Catherine Divine are our associate producers.
Robin Gelfenbien (39:31):
Sydney Evans is our dialogue editor, and Claire Bidigary Curtis is our sound designer.
Hello Menopause was concepted by Jessica Olivia, Jill Pachesnik and Becca Godwin.
Christine Maginnis (39:42):
This podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and wherever podcasts are found.
Robin Gelfenbien (39:49):
So check it out.