Let's menopause party! Intentional celebrations change the midlife vibe from drab to fab
In person or online, a big bash or a small circle, some women choose to mark midlife the party way
Before you spend one more doom scroll convinced you’re hitting your sunset years at 40, think again. Women all over the world are Towanda-ing their way to the bakery custom cake counter and planning menopause parties to mark midlife.
Gone are the days of tired Over the Hill-themed birthday celebrations with grim reapers and tombstones. We’re just getting warmed up!
I haven’t thrown a meno-party yet, but with vibes this strong, I’m getting inspired. Forty is only the beginning of what we commonly consider “middle-aged”, after all. And with 47.2 the age at which we’re most likely to be unhappy, it’s a great idea to snag any excuse to make this midlife a party!
“This year, I celebrate hard-fought wisdom. The average life expectancy in the U.S. for women is 79.3 years today. At 60, I am aware that I have lived much more of my life than I have ahead of me. The horizon is shortening and I don’t want to waste a single day.” — Maria Leonard Olsen
Conversations and community ease the menopause path
The biggest reason to have a meno-party is to share information and break the stigma around growing older. GenX isn’t about to hush up about our midlife experience, after all. Make it fun and it’ll be a night to remember, not something to fear.
“This year, I celebrate hard-fought wisdom,” said Midst author Maria Leonard Olsen in reflecting on her recent milestone celebration — a trip to Bora Bora with lifelong friends. “The average life expectancy in the U.S. for women is 79.3 years today. At 60, I am aware that I have lived much more of my life than I have ahead of me. The horizon is shortening and I don’t want to waste a single day.”
5 steps to a fun and inspiring menopause party
If you’re intrigued and into planning a menopause party — or even a perimenopause party — for yourself or your friends, here’s what you need to know to get started:
What happens at a menopause party?
There are no rules, so pick your party approach! Consider an “I’m proud of my body, and I feel so much more confident after my decades here on Earth, but boy is there some weird stuff happening” kind of event. You’re gathering to celebrate your bodies and to get that sometimes scary word— MENOPAUSE — out in the open.
Gen Xers are hitting menopause like whoa, and we’re here to fangirl over every former Sassy subscriber who now talks openly about dealing with hot flashes, mood swings, and the many other changes so many of us experience.
Famous menopause icons include Oprah, supermodels Naomi Campbell and Beverly Johnson, Naomi Watts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, and Gillian Anderson. Brilliant artist Emily McDowell, comedian and author Margaret Cho, and fashion maven Stacy London — who used to shame women for wearing mini skirts after 30, and is now embracing her age — are wonderful guides as well. Use quotes from your favorite midlife icons as party decor, inspirational swag, or to entertain your guests with a game of “Guess Who Said It?”
Invite all your friends, IRL or virtual!
Talking about and preparing for menopause early helps everyone, since perimenopause can creep up in our 30s and last for quite awhile. If you need help starting that conversation, you can book services like The Menopause Directory. It offers information on menopause as well as Zoom hosting services for your menopause celebration. You could even invite a friendly OB-GYN, psychologist or other professional with expertise in supporting women in these life stages to show up or stream in.
Share your menopause party inspiration!
We love dishing on our latest favorite finds with our friends, so why not build a party around menopause faves — like a new take on a Tupperware party? There are lots of menopause-focused brands, including those for improving “hormonal” hair and skin like Stripes by Naomi Watts, and Womaness, designed by GenX ladies for “aging well”. Or products and routines that fight against night sweats and the drop in energy, joint aches, and weight gain.
You can also focus on personal journeys like sharing tips on ways you make yourself happy in your menopause or perimenopause years. If you don’t want to drink, serve mocktails! If you want to do a clothing swap or share some warm and fuzzy self-care items “Secret Santa” style, do it! (Personally, I’ve found so many small things really affect my sleep, I’d run through traffic to get to a pillow someone said helped them wake up without a crick in their neck, or a great white noise app.) Leave your great ideas in the comments!
Stock up on menopause party supplies
You aren’t likely to find specific supplies for a meno-party at the local party store, although you can pick any basic color scheme or theme and jazz it up. But there are more and more resources perfect for your event, like Etsy’s growing “meno-party” category, or Pinterest. Maybe you could play “Draw the host’s next tattoo” while wearing a blindfold, or hire a local chef to teach your group how to make some delicious new dessert.
Hint: Get creative! My friends and I once threw a surprise party for a friend who got breast reduction surgery. The big gift? A gift card to a specialty lingerie store, so she could get an expert fitting and brand-new bras!
And yes, we got a boob cake.
No matter how you decide to commemorate this season, I hope you’ll build community and conversation about midlife and menopause with your best friends easily and openly. That’s how I found out I wasn’t alone, and it was a wonderful, freeing moment when I finally decided to get started on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for my own perimenopause symptoms. Read about my first week on HRT, and share your own stories in the comments!
Anne Holub is a writer and poet whose last name means “pigeon” in Slovak. Her poetry has been featured on Chicago Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio, and a whole slew of publications both online and in print, including the anthology Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing (Open Country Press 2018). Her debut poetry chapbook, 27 Threats to Everyday Life was published by Finishing Line Press in 2023 and was a runner-up in the press' New Womens Voices Competition. Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, and after more than a decade in Chicago, she now lives, writes and grows things in the dirt in Montana with her husband Dan, their two dogs Merle and Rosie, and a sourdough starter named Rhonda. Catch up with her writing at aholub.com. Follow her on Instagram: @izatchu or where she types poems on vintage postcards @poetrypostcard.
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