Julia Child's rise to success during Menopause
You might ask, do we need another story about Julia Child? And, I would say, get ready for a new experience. This series on HBO Max is a look at Child’s life that we have never gotten to dive into. Yes, she became very popular. But, no one has stopped to think about how she took all of this on during mid-life and peri/menopause. It makes her even more relatable and amazing at the same time. The season finale of Julia is on May 5. Take the time to enjoy this intimate perspective on the year that Julia Child’s TV career began.
They don’t wait to get into the thick of things! The first episode of the season jumps into her waking up from a hot flash and splashing her face with water to cool down. In the next scene, she is meeting with her doctor and discussing her symptoms. She even brings up her libido (or lack thereof). Right after leaving the doctor, she calls her husband, Paul whom she is very close to, and can’t bring herself to tell him that she has entered into peri/menopause. It feels like admitting this to her husband would mean she would be giving up so many things in their relationship, from what seems like an active sex life to the idea of having a child.
The long transition
Peri/menopause is a total mind and body transformation in many ways, and can last up to 10 years. Peri/menopause symptoms can leave you reeling and feeling like your body has betrayed you. Many women find they no longer feel like their usual selves, and grieve the loss of who they once were.
You can tell Child is having an inward battle on so many fronts here. She wants to respond to her husband Paul's sexual advances but just isn’t able to. We will see in future episodes if she builds up the confidence to have this discussion with her husband.
As Julia Child is heading into the butcher she sees a friend's baby which makes her pause to reflect, that could have been her if she wasn’t in peri/menopause. Whether a woman has had a baby or not, the thought of no longer having the option to have a child can make a woman feel down.
Once a woman enters peri/menopause, the general thought is that she can't get pregnant, but this isn't the case. I wonder if Child knew that there was still a chance that she could have gotten pregnant during peri/menopause because her sex hormones were not completely depleted at this stage. Getting pregnant becomes more difficult as you age, but it isn’t out of the question. And nowadays, there are many medical interventions for women who want to try for a baby in midlife. So if you are still trying, don’t lose heart!Work relations
This series not only openly discusses Child’s experience with peri/menopause, but also her apprehension about starting a new career later in life. So many people, including her husband, tell her to be happy with what she is doing with her cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” But, Child isn’t satisfied with stopping with her cookbook. She enjoys the challenge the new endeavor brings. Thankfully, she doesn’t give in to the naysayer's thoughts and goes on to be such an inspiration to many cooks after her with a brilliant television career teaching the world how to cook magnificent meals from home.
Child enters the TV world at around the age of 50. She is already judged by her 6 foot 2 stature and her not-so-glamorous looks for the times. But, she doesn’t give up and tells the male producers on the public t.v. channel, Boston’s WGBH, “One of the advantages of looking like me is that you learn at a young age how to not take no for an answer.” She doesn’t let any preconceived notions get in the way of her success. She stands up for what she believes in and doesn’t give up.
For many women entering midlife, staying in their career, starting a new career, or exploring a new hobby can all seem very daunting. Not knowing how to handle hot flashes and brain fog in the workplace can make it seem impossible. A study found that both physical and psycho-social factors in the workplace can influence the severity of symptoms at work.
Here are some options that can help make your time at the office easier while dealing with peri/menopause symptoms.
Child is an example of how you can push through the peri/menopause and still reach your professional goals. She pushes through hot flashes while filming, forgets her script and which camera to look at during recordings, but she has friends and family surrounding her that make sure she gets it right. You don’t have to take this new journey alone. Make sure you have a support group of friends and family to help you during this time. Whether that is to watch your kids when you have a class or to bring you an ice pack at work when you are overheating.
It’s time to embrace these changes, and use them to make us better, stronger, and more powerful women. Focus on this time in your life and make the most of it. Celebrate it! Child does this by making this opportunity to start a new creative career venture that turned into the television food industry we love and enjoy today.