The Change can be The Chance (Menopause)

Nowadays, mid-life sets in much later than it used to. To be fifty doesn’t feel old, and there is potentially still a lot of life ahead of us. For many women, this is the time when the body starts to change. Fertility decreases, menopause sets in, and with it quite often some difficult physical symptoms like hot flushes, drier skin, weight gain, insomnia, loss of interest in sexual relations...all of which affects their relationships and adds more challenges. And, as if this wasn’t enough to deal with, there may also be emotional turmoil, depression, mood swings, or the feeling of not being a 'proper woman' anymore because of the loss of fertility. On top of all this, middle age is also often the time when children become independent.

In a nutshell, everything changes. The symptoms of change are different for each woman; some sail through it without many difficulties; others suffer badly and feel like their whole lives were turned upside down and inside out. They often suffer in silence because they "don’t talk about stuff like that”. Of course, this is not a good tactic. Not only are we affected by all these changes in our innermost intimate self, but everybody around us is affected as well, often without realising what’s going on. The more we hide or resist this change, the more problems it will cause; and, of course, it will not go away even if we try to ignore the challenges it brings.

A lot depends on our attitudes towards The Change. It’s not called that for nothing; it’s the time in our lives when we need to change, when we need to learn new ways of looking at life and ourselves. The end of physical fertility is a relief for some women; for others, it’s a big loss that needs to be grieved so that they then can move on to a new kind of creativity which is not about physical fertility anymore. It’s about maturity and experience of life, about wisdom, about handing on our knowledge to others. It’s the time of life when we are not simply defined anymore by being mothers or partners; it’s about remembering who we are in ourselves and what we want our purpose to be for the next few decades. If we can gently let go of our roles of the past and look forward to new possibilities of growth and self-development, then The Change can be The Chance, and then usually the symptoms improve or we can learn better ways to cope with them.

The only way through it is forward; there is no going back. We will never be young again, whether we can accept it or not. But why would we want to? This is Our Time now!

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Bath, Somerset, BA1 5TH

Written by Judith Schuepfer-Griffin

Bath, Somerset, BA1 5TH

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