Saturday, 16 February 2013

Menopause - be part of the solution

As a woman approaches menopause she may be less able to cope with her home duties and workload. Brain fog, fatigue and anxiety can really reduce her ability to reach the standards she sets for herself and those set by others. As a consequence she may become unhappy, frustrated and irritable. Peri-menopause can become a nightmare for all involved when it could be at least tolerable and perhaps even leveraged for positive change.

I’ve wanted to share this case study with you for sometime. This really happened and I am sure in some years time there will be a husband complaining that his wife does not care for his needs etc….and he will have no idea why that happened.

Sally (not real name) complained of fatigue and difficulty coping. A traditional woman, she does all the housework, works full time at a demanding job and does all the bookkeeping for the family. Her two teenage children study full time and one holds down a job as well. Her husband has a demanding job.

I explained how menopause was contributing to her mental and physical condition and strongly suggested it was time to recruit the family to help.  

Consequently she lined the family up one weekend to spring clean a major room in their lovely new home. In our climate a thorough clean is required every year as dust can collect and mould grow on walls etc. Pest insects can also move in if cleaning does not occur.

The husband and kids stood at the door and she explained the steps in the project – move furniture, wash walls, dust furniture, clean floor, replace furniture.  If they all helped, 2 hours, on her own 1 day. The kids piped up – “we don’t wash walls”. The husband agreed. “We’ll come back when you have washed the walls”.

Sally had really taken a risk by asking for help. The emotional cost was high. She was left feeling totally abandoned, powerless and disrespected. She did the job herself including moving the furniture while the rest of the family watched TV.  

So now she knows her husband will not support her when she really needs him.  

She knows the only way to get help is nagging and nastiness like dumping clothes left around the house in the garage. Her family think she has turned into a bitch.

The husband needed to support his wife. He had a chance to be part of the conversation, to be part of the solution. He could have attended medical appointments and helped work out strategies to solve the challenges of menopause including change in libido.    

Now Sally needs to solve her own problems and is very resentful - does he really think sex for him will be on the top of her agenda when she faces decreasing libido and vaginal atrophy?

The lesson for husbands – be ready to step up and support and protect your wife during peri-menopause. You can come out of this the hero with an efficiently running household and a happy marriage or you could drive your wife into depression and nagging. I doubt it is possible to be really close after betraying your spouse in her time of need.