Saturday, 26 January 2013

Menopause – plan to make it easy

I’ve wanted to write this for a while, yet have lacked the creative energy and time to do so – which I feel is a common issue for peri-menopausal and to an extent post menopausal women.

We all slow down with age and can manage less. However, women may experience a much more acute onset of body limitations than do men.

Fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and lack of the emotional energy necessary to persuade others to help out are common issues faced by women during menopause. Things get a bit better after menopause but it’s likely one will never be the same again. For example, working over night to get a job done will be harder and recovery from loss of sleep will take days.  

Medical, nutrition and life style solutions are important and need to be considered at leisure rather than in emergency situations, but they will not magically put things back the way they were and anyway, one is slowing down due to age anyway. Strategic change is essential.

Obviously, one needs to plan for menopause and mobilise the family to get things done and maintain standard of living etc. Study of likely issues, risks and solutions thereof is obviously very important.

You need to be ready to identify the problems and start implementing no regrets solutions before peri menopause starts. A woman experiencing a bad menopause may not have the emotional or physical strength to insist on help, especially if a partner and children are righteously antagonistic and aggressively ensure that “cranky bitch” does not impinge on their good life.   

Ideally one should go into menopause with grown children, a low care garden and a well maintained home with labour saving devices.

Now is the time to hire a cleaner for the house to lift the burden of heavy and time consuming housework. A woman who has worked, raised children and supported her husband definitely DERSERVES support and time off at this time. It’s not a gift, it should be a right.

Ideally also the husband will have advanced well in his career and the house and other large expenses will already be paid off (e.g. car, house renovations, children’s education etc). Hence, the family could afford a reduction in working hours of the lady experiencing menopause – even a year or two off work during the worst of it would be nice depending on symptoms and career.

If time off work is not possible, then the family should chip in to shoulder part of the home-work load of their wife and mother. Usually women my age work and do most of the housework. This cannot continue. Rather than solve (or not solve) the problem through fighting and agrimony, the family should sit down together and decide who does what, when and how. The male leader of the household will then need to oversee the solution so that the lady does not suffer undue stress dealing with reluctant helpers and thus just withdraw to suffer alone.

The above woud have helped in my situation. I’m sure other people can adapt or improve on the advice.. The basic concepts are awareness, planning, support, generosity and goodwill.

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