I bought a couple of the menopause greeting cards Naomi Watts designed and sent them to my girlfriends. They were really well received; I highly recommend it. And remember the cards raise money for the Alliance for Period Supplies. In addition to the cards, Naomi has founded a line of face, hair, body, vaginal, and supplement products for menopausal women called Stripes. To back up the products, the Stripes website has an expert advice page with “Menoguides” offering topics from sex to moods to how to talk to your doctors. It’s fantastic and a real testament to Naomi’s commitment to making menopause a part of the national discussion. One of the unique parts of Naomi’s personal experience is that she was essentially going through perimenopause as she was having her kids. She started peri early, at 36, and that was right when she was trying to start her family with Liev Schreiber. But as she’s told us before, no one had ever talked to her about perimenopause so she felt “very alone.” Which is why she’s so determined to make sure other women don’t have to navigate this part of life on their own.
Naomi Watts has shared more of her experiences with perimenopause and menopause — and is encouraging other women to do the same.
At The New Pause Symposium in New York City on Friday, presented by The Swell and Stripes, Watts said that her personal experiences inspired her to create Stripes, a skincare brand for women in midlife.
“I found myself at 36 and perimenopausal, a word I didn’t even know about, and at the precipice of trying to start a family. So I went into complete panic, felt very lonely, very much less-than or like some kind of failure and what was I going to do? There was no one to talk to, there was no information, basically on my visit to the doctor, who said, ‘Well you’re not getting pregnant … your bloodwork is indicating that you’re close to menopause’ so I was freaking out.”
Watts acknowledged that there are more resources for women in perimenopause and menopause than there were 18 years ago, but much more more education and awareness are still needed.
“I went through anxiety, shame, confusion, panic and managed to fall pregnant naturally after two years of trying and getting my system right with different alternatives, since I wasn’t a candidate for IVF,” she said. “After the second child, I went through massive night sweats, hot flashes and I thought ‘this is terrible,’ and I would try to test out the community of my friends and I was sort of met with nervous laughs and shrugging it off, and I thought ‘Oh wow no one else is there, I better keep silent,’ and that’s how it was.”
Watts also asked her mother, who told her she had been 45 when she started perimenopause. “And that’s all I knew,” she said. “There was no detail around it. There was no handholding from doctors. The doctors said okay, ‘Here’s a patch or a gel or a spray.’ ”
“I just knew that this is a road that no one else should have to walk through alone again without a community, because without proper care taken you are going to turn in on yourself.”
I’ve said it before but let me reiterate my admiration for what Naomi is doing. I respect that she’s backing up her product with advice and support. It feels like she’s building a whole community for women. Unlike Naomi, my mother never went through any kind of menopause. She got periods forever until she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had a full hysterectomy to eliminate it. So we didn’t have any notes to compare. I entered peri at 48. Granted I was unfamiliar with peri until I was knocking at its door, but I had friends who had entered it, so I was not alone, like Naomi was. And I certainly wasn’t considering kids. That must have been lonely as I’m sure everyone both in and out of the medical community wrote off her chances. It’s amazing to be able to bring these things up now. Honestly, talking about menopause and being over 50 with you all in these posts, I’m starting to really feel myself. Community matters. This is how we change opinion. And Naomi gets that.
And check out her products. They aren’t cheap, but they do answer quite a few calls. There’s a cooling mist for hot flashes. The lubes look really good as do the supplements, one that focus on vaginal health and the other on managing hot flashes and brain fog. Plus all the skin and hair care.
Photo credit: Avalon Red, Cover Images and Instagram