Congratulations to Siri Erickson, our first Menopause School UK, Menopause Doula, in the United States.
Dr. Siri Erickson is the Founder of Compassionate Way, a holistic health coaching business opening in December 2023 in the U.S.A. Siri works with menopausing clients virtually and will soon be opening an in-person office at The Haven at Hallett’s, a new holistic health center located in Saint Peter, Minnesota. Siri has a B.A. in chemistry from Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, and holds a M.Div. and D.Min. in Contemplative Practice, Spiritual Renewal, and Strategic Leadership from Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California. She is a certified Clinical EFT Practitioner through EFT Universe and a certified Menopause Doula through The Menopause School, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Siri is a Rostered Leader in the ELCA and is a Qualified Administrator (QA) of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) through IDI, LLC. Siri lives in St. Peter, Minnesota, with her husband, two kids, and a Siberian forest cat named Fig. Prior to starting Compassionate Way, Siri held a variety of leadership roles in the non-profit, faith, and higher education sectors. She loves walking, hiking, gourmet food, movies, libraries, board games, live music, and historical fiction. Her personal wellness practices include daily breathwork, walks in nature, EFT/tapping, tea with friends, somatic movement, dancing, singing, gratitude journaling, and eating nourishing meals.
We caught up with Dr. Erickson to ask her a few questions about menopause and becoming the first Menopause Doula in the United States.
What was the light bulb moment that inspired you to train as a Menopause Doula?
I was finishing up a certification in Clinical EFT/tapping and preparing to start my own coaching business. I was out for a walk and was thinking about how helpful EFT had been to me along my own menopausing journey (once I figured out that it was a thing and I was on it!), and I wondered if there was such a thing as a Menopause Doula certification that I could combine with EFT to help other menstruators with this major life transition. I got home from the walk, Googled Menopause Doula, and found The Menopause School. I read through their philosophy and sample course materials and knew that this was exactly what I was looking for! I signed up immediately!
Can you describe your own menopause journey to date?
I used to think menopause was just a day when periods stopped and there might be some hot flashes along the way. I had NO IDEA about perimenopause lasting 10+ years before, ovarian aging, the biochemistry of the hormone changes and how that impacts the whole mind and body, etc. I was 46 when I first heard about perimenopause from my sister-in-law, who is a medical provider, and I was in the thick of symptoms such as unexplained anxiety, sleep disruption, night sweats, crushing fatigue, and inability to handle stress. I was, quite frankly, miserable. I am a learner, so I did what I always do when I’m facing something new – I did a deep dive into the science of perimenopause. I learned so much about what was happening to me, that it was REAL and rooted in ovarian aging and biochemistry changes in the body. Then I started searching for supportive resources. I used EFT/tapping to reduce my anxiety and stress, breathwork to calm and repair my nervous systems, reduce body tension and anxiety, made some significant career changes to reduce external stressors and shift into a more healing environment, starting walking outside every day at least twice, continued to focus on nourishing, real foods, added in some supplements, and a year later – I am still in perimenopause – but I feel so much better. I sleep better, I have fewer night sweats, I have more energy, I am much happier, and I don’t feel like I am suffering. I know more changes are coming, but I don’t know when or what. I am still having periods monthly, though I have noticed subtle changes in the amount of bleeding. I expect that my periods will start spreading out at some point and then eventually stop. Now, though, I feel confident and empowered to make this menopausing transition an opportunity to invest in my health and to help other menstruators do the same.
What did you know about perimenopause before it arrived?
I knew nothing. The first time I even heard the word was when I was 46; I was casually telling my sister-in-law, who is a medical provider, about my sleep disruptions, night sweats, anxiety, and fatigue. I said, “I’m worried I might have cancer.” She said, “It sounds like perimenopause.” And I responded, “What is that?”
If you could turn back time, what are the one (or two) things you would do sooner, to help yourself navigate this time?
I wish I had known about how perimenopause, with its hormone changes, can make us less resilient to stress. Now I have a daily practice of breathwork that really helps me keep my nervous system healthy, gives me energy, reduces my anxiety, and helps me to enjoy living my life. I suffered for a couple of years not knowing that something real had changed in my body (aka – ovarian aging!). I didn’t know why I felt so terrible or that there were things that I could do that would make a huge difference.
I also wish I would have been better prepared for the sleep disruptions and anxiety. I had always been a great sleeper and a pretty non-anxious person, so these symptoms just really knocked me down for a while, and I didn’t know why they were happening. I have gotten very serious about my sleep habits, and it makes a huge difference, even though I still have occasional nights where I don’t sleep well. I have also found that Clinical EFT/tapping is an amazingly effective way to reduce anxiety by dealing with a lifetime of unresolved emotions and traumatic past events. Working with EFT practitioners has really helped me get back to a more familiar, less anxious version of myself, which I am so grateful for!
What does it mean to you and your work now that you have completed the program?
So many of my friends and colleagues are in perimenopause and don’t know it or are just realizing it. I have learned so much and changed my life and feel so much better. I want to help other menstruators feel better, enjoy their lives again, and set themselves up to live vibrantly and joyfully as they move through the menopausing journey.
This is such an exciting time for us at The Menopause School as our training program continues to reach wider across the globe, and we are delighted to welcome Dr. Erickson into our community of Menopause Doulas, saving lives, changing the world, one menopause at a time.Fiona Catchpowle, Creator & Founder, The Menoapuse School