Michelle Zaro Menopause Doula

Congratulations to Michelle Zaro, our first Menopause School UK, Menopause Doula, On the East Coast of the United States.

Michelle Zaro is a certified Menopause School, Menopause Doula and the creator of “The Meno Mama,” where she works one-on-one with those traveling through the menopause transition.
She is based in upstate New York and meets with clients virtually or in her home office. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts from the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania and a teaching certificate from the United Montessori Teachers Association in Washington State.

Michelle received her Certified Life Coach with accreditation from the ICF via the Coaching Training Alliance based in the United States.
Michelle is also the co-creator of “Lady Lane” – a unique venture designed to provide a collaborative space for coaches from various fields, setting up a referral system of complementary therapists worldwide. She also hosts a weekly podcast and blog discussing Menopause, life, and personal growth.
Michelle has been married for 28 years, and she and her husband have two adult children who are just starting to spread their wings and have left the nest. In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, Michelle owns “A Sharp Melodies,” a private music school known for instructors who travel to students’ homes for music lessons. She’s into long-distance walking, having completed numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, and a second half marathon. Fitness is a part of her lifestyle. In addition to long-distance walking, she also engages in strength training and swimming. Michelle’s love for nature plays a significant role in her holistic health approach, and she’s on a mission to support women through the menopausal journey. Her personal experiences and passion drive her commitment to
helping others.

We caught up with Michelle to ask her a few questions about menopause, and why she chose to become a Menopause Doula.

What was the lightbulb moment that inspired you to Train as Menopause Doula?

When I was 46, I experienced a period with a bleed similar to a shark attack. My doctor prescribed medication, and when that didn’t work, they suggested a DNC. After the DNC failed, I was back on medication, which also didn’t help, and they recommended
an ablation. Thankfully, the ablation worked, sparing me from a hysterectomy. Throughout this six-month ordeal, not a single healthcare professional mentioned that this might be the onset of perimenopause. Shortly after the ablation, I began to experience a sensation like heat across my chest, which was diagnosed as internal shingles, not considering my age and medical history, and I didn’t realize it was the start of hot flashes.
The turning point came when I sought help for rage issues from my gynecologist, and his response was to go home and take a nap, dismissing rage as unrelated to Menopause. This was the final straw that led me on a quest to understand menopause symptoms. In the process, I discovered that many of my friends and individuals my age were struggling with a range of symptoms, from hot flashes to severe depression and anxiety.
This revelation prompted me to take action. I delved into research and stumbled upon the Menopause School. Their philosophy and mission resonated with me, and I quickly realized that this marked the beginning of a new phase in my life journey. I’m excited to
help women navigate the menopause transition, hoping they’ll have an easier time than I and previous generations did.

Can you describe your menopause journey?

I think I entered perimenopause around the age of 46. At first, I didn’t realize I might be going through perimenopausal symptoms because I still had a monthly period. I mistakenly believed that Menopause only occurred when your typical periods stopped. It
wasn’t until I looked back that I realized severe heavy bleeding was an early sign of perimenopause. I eventually had an ablation to address this issue. I’m still uncertain about where I am on the menopause or perimenopause journey, but I’ve found the
Menopause toolkit helpful for tracking my symptoms. Most days, this is the only way I can gauge my progress. I believe I’m still in perimenopause because I continue to experience severe hot flashes and brain fog. Over the past three years, I’ve made
significant lifestyle changes and discovered that a healthy lifestyle dramatically impacts overall well-being. I strongly believe in the power of mindset and the idea that what we put into the world comes back to us. How we talk to ourselves forms the foundation of
our lives.

What did you know about Perimenopause before it arrived?

I had very little knowledge about Menopause, associating it with older adults. The only time I heard the term “menopause” was when I became overly emotional, and my mother would jokingly remark that I seemed like I might be going through it. I didn’t pay much attention to it then. When I finally decided to learn more about the menopause transition and its symptoms, I was told I would experience hot flashes, weight gain, and general discomfort for 7 to 10 years, feeling like a different person. It’s no wonder there’s so much anxiety surrounding this topic. The more I talk with clients, the more I realize this is a shared experience, and I’m eager to change 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 could connect the dots earlier rather than relying on a doctor to explain things. Furthermore, I regret not understanding this field better, as it would have allowed me to advocate for myself when discussing my healthcare with professionals. I definitely would have removed all the menopause-related social media sites from my feed, considering the overwhelming amount of misinformation they contain. Many seek answers to our questions without knowing where to find them. I am now happy to discuss this phase of life with integrity and confidence.

What does it mean to you and your work now that you have completed the program?

I’m excited to work with clients, helping them navigate through the menopause transition. For so long, Menopause was hidden from society, only talked about in whispers. It’s an exciting time that we are shedding light on this phase of life that every single person who menstruates, regardless of gender identity, will go through. I’m proud to be on the ground floor as more and more individuals join the cause with us. Menopause doesn’t have to be a scary, isolated, uncertain phase of life anymore.

Fiona Catchpowle

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