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Naomi Watts is ready to bring humor to an unexpected place: the conversation around menopause. (Yes, menopause!) The Academy Award-nominated actress and mom of two, 53, is done with the silence and shame that have long surrounded the phase of life that, oh, literally every woman on the planet experiences once she gets to a certain age — and she’s making it her business to talk about it. Watts is launching a menopause brand called Stripes this fall, and she’s also partnered with Em & Friends on The Naomi Watts Menopause Collection, a line of menopause-themed greeting cards.

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The cards — four in all — bring a relatable and funny voice to the menopause conversation. And If you’re wondering what’s so funny about menopause, well, Watts explains it this way: “We’re taking a step to empower women during their menopausal transition. Humor is a big way to access uncomfortable conversations and wherever there’s pain, there’s a need to defuse it.. and yes, if we can’t laugh, we’ll just cry and god knows we’ve done enough crying by now.”

Conversation of any sort was lacking when Watts began experiencing perimenopause, she told SheKnows via email. “I went into perimenopause earlier than my peers and there wasn’t a ton of conversation going on about menopause at the time. My own personal experience echoed what I went through with fertility, which I found to be very lonely and shameful, the notion of not being able to bare children was making me feel ‘less than.’ I knew if I was feeling this way that there were likely others feeling this way, and that society’s perspective needs to change.”

That’s a big reason why the greeting cards project appealed to her. Founder Emily McDowell’s irreverent designs “shared our mission of normalizing candid conversations,” she says, “and I’m hoping these cards inspire women to reach out to one another in solidarity as we approach Menopause Awareness Month this October and beyond.”

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Naomi Watts launches a Menopause Greeting Card Partnership on August 30, 2022 in New York City.
Getty Images for STRIPES

To that end, the cards make light of the WTF-ness of it all (The “I Have Some Questions” card asks, “Is there such a thing as cute sweat-wicking sheets?”) while also giving voice to shared feelings and experiences. (“Watch Out for Each Other” speaks to the feeling of invisibility women going through menopause can experience.) They also have a charitable component: Through Oct. 31, $1 from each card sold will be donated to the Alliance for Period Supplies.

I Have Some Questions Menopause Card

The Naomi Watts Menopause Collection greeting card

For her part, Watts is still in the thick of it all, with new symptoms of menopause popping up all the time (“just when I think they’ve stopped, a new one appears!”) but says she has found relief from keeping her diet balanced, working out, incorporating supplements into her routine, and HRT. “I really trusted my provider’s guidance from the start since there’s no single approach to menopause or aging.”

Contributing to the evolution of the topic and reducing the shame also surely helps. “The menopause movement is coming,” she says, “and I hope my generation is the last to be suffering in silence.”

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