Menopause Conversations with a Younger Me

By Niecy Nash-Betts • Published 5/6/2024

Niecy Nash-Betts sits at a table learning about menopause from the Versalie website

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work as an actor is the ability to jumpstart conversations. I love bringing people together and helping them see things from a new perspective, to see the world, to see life a little bit differently.

I’ve been doing the same with Versalie, but this time with a “menopause twist.” Our collaboration has allowed me to get honest and unfiltered about this important topic with my loved ones, social media followers and now, you beautiful people checking out this powerful online resource.

Yet, the true gift of my work with Versalie has been the chance to engage in that raw, unscripted dialogue with myself — reflecting on how my body has changed over time and tuning into those changes as they’re happening.

I remember the first time I got my period as a young girl. My mother said, “That means you’re a woman now.” But I told her, “I don’t want to be a woman, I want to be a lady.” That’s because my grandmother used to say, “A little bit of hair and a little bit of paint makes a woman what she ain’t: a lady.” And that’s how I began my journey into womanhood, with the love and guidance of my family.

Fast forward to the journey toward my last period — AKA menopause — but this time, no one talked to me or prepared me for what to expect! I felt confused, uncertain and frustrated, and didn’t know where to turn. I was left piecing things together on my own because no one prepared me for what to expect.

I want others to learn from my experience, understand their bodies and embark on their menopause journey with confidence. That said, I want to share the things I would tell my younger self in the hopes it helps YOU…no matter where you are in the menopause process.

Niecy Nash-Betts stands prepared for any hot flashes during menopause with her bedazzled portable fan

Lesson #1: Understand your symptoms. 

Did you know there are more than 34 symptoms associated with the hormonal changes during menopause? I certainly didn’t at the onset of my perimenopause. Hot flashes were the first sign, but since I didn’t know what symptoms to expect, I didn’t connect the changes in my body to “the change”. The mood swings, thinning hair, fatigue…was it me, or was it menopause? I had no idea these symptoms were all connected! And how was I supposed to know being tired was part of this process? I don’t know a Black woman that’s not tired!

I urge you to take a moment to piece things together and consider whether any unusual changes in your day-to-day might be linked to menopause — be it sleep patterns, eating habits, weight, or emotions. Recognizing these changes as part of menopause can truly transform the way you confront them…and the way you see yourself. It’s all too easy to feel like you’re unraveling!

Lesson #2: Talk about it!

You don’t know what you don’t know, and I simply did not know! But apparently, I’m not the only one in the dark: Versalie’s recent survey uncovered a staggering 66% of those in menopause are keeping silent about this life phase with their inner circles. Even more startling, 70% are navigating menopause without discussing it with their significant other. These conversations are critical to helping those around you have empathy and understanding for your menopause journey. Especially when it comes to symptoms like mood swings and brain fog, it’s crucial for your loved ones to understand what’s happening so they can meet you with the grace of patience and compassion.

My daughter’s reaction when she learned about me working with Versalie to talk about menopause was a wake-up call. She said:

Oh my gosh, Mom — do you have ‘The Menopause?’ Are you hot? Do you want a cold towel?

It was a lightbulb moment. I hadn’t realized how little I had shared about this significant part of my life with her! For those younger than us, talking about menopause is truly a gift for their future.

A perimenopausal woman meets with her female doctor to discuss and learn more about menopause

Lesson #3: Take action.

Once you’ve got your list of symptoms and the conversation about menopause out in the open — now we gotta do something about it. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for menopause. Each of us are going to have different needs and priorities when it comes to the best course of action, so it’s important to talk to a menopause-trained professional to help guide you. This is one of the biggest things I was missing on my menopause journey. My hope is others rely on the amazing resources now available to achieve the clarity we all deserve.

But you, my friend, are in the right spot. Here, you can connect with Versalie CARE™ powered by Wheel, where you can schedule a virtual 1:1 appointment to get all your personal menopause questions answered. And the best part? The health professionals you’ll meet are medically licensed and menopause-trained, which is harder to come by these days than you’d think! I’m so envious of the resources available to those who are trying to figure things out today and only wish I had them when I was seeking answers myself.

From me to my younger self…and now to you: Start your own exploration of menopause today and have those crucial conversations — with yourself and others. As we break the silence and make menopause a familiar, open topic of conversation, we all become better equipped to navigate — not just survive it, but truly thrive within it.

…but if push comes to shove, you can always bedazzle your portable fan, so you look cute during your hot flashes.

Xx,

Niecy

Niecy Nash-Betts is a paid spokesperson for Versalie™.

Last Updated 5/14/2024

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