Women Over 50—Spring or Winter?
In order to keep ideas fresh and flowing, I’m going to be inviting guest bloggers to share their perspectives on growing older. There are new boomer sites bursting forth into cyber space on a daily basis and this is a post from one of my very favorites. The Magnolia Diaries, Volume II is chock full of ideas, quotes, musings, and wonderfully crafted writing. I’m always blown away whenever I visit. I know you’ll find the same when you drop in. Here’s a recent post concerning midlife and menopause:
So, here we are into May and I don’t know about you, but I’m still waiting for spring. In the deep south where I originally hail from, I’m certain they are enjoying very mild and spring like temperatures. However, here in the north we’re still trying to figure out if it’s winter we want, or spring. Personally, I love winter and wouldn’t mind snow 9 months out of the year (must be the menopause speaking with those hot flashes and all), but I also wouldn’t mind a few weeks of nice spring, early summer temperatures. Yet, we are still not quite there yet.
So, as I look at the forecasts nearly daily to see if we will have warm temperatures or cool, I can’t help but think of the years that I first began my adventure into perimenopause.
Much like this time of year, with it’s constant changing, it was turbulent. There were ups and downs and times when I blew through my life with the emotional force of a cat-5 hurricane. It was not only unpleasant for me, but extremely difficult for my family as well. Though the physical changes were challenging and sent me running to the nearest doctor and herbalist for relief, I must say the bigger and more difficult changes were those that I went through psychologically.
No one prepares you for those types of changes and I don’t think I would be exaggerating if I said that it was very much like teenage years. Very volatile and very much a time of trying to figure out who you are…again. Except, this time you’re redefining what you had worked so hard to define those first 40 years of your life.
Yes, it’s that big and for many, that difficult. I’m embarrassed to say this, because now that I’m beyond it, it seems so silly. But the truth is, as a young woman I defined myself by my sexuality and my ability to produce children. I mean, let’s face it, when you are a young girl approaching adolescence, all you can think about is when you will get your period and the first time you’re going to have sex. Ok, maybe you didn’t, but I did. (and I don’t think I’m too terribly alone in this.)
The onset of menses signals womanhood in the minds of young girls and every young girl wants to be a woman. She wants to be beautiful and desired. This doesn’t change as one gets older. We are still that little girl in heart who wants (and maybe even needs) to be beautiful and desired. So, perhaps this is why many of us struggle so when we reach the menopause years. If we have spent a lifetime defining ourselves through our fertility and sexuality, then it only stands reason that when it changes, so does your self-image.
I’m not altogether sure this is a bad thing…you know, defining yourself through your fertility and sexuality. Maybe it’s quite natural. And so it’s also quite natural to begin a new definition when this part of you changes. It doesn’t make it any less traumatic however, for many of us anyway. And I certainly grieved in the truest sense of the word.
It took many years and lots of herbal supplements to get through those times, but I can say now with a certainty that I am feeling much better about life and who I am. Though I’m still not too fond of those darn hairs that keep cropping up above my lip, I would say that the lessening of estrogen and the emergence of testosterone in my body is proving to be a good thing. And oh yeah, good news ladies, sexuality hasn’t left.
Yeah, there’s some rocking and rolling there for awhile as those hormones are trying to find a new place to live and the changing most definitely affects your libido. But, it’s not permanent. In fact, the biggest secret out there is that women in their fifties and older are still highly sexual creatures. (Can you hear that loud whoop? That would be my husband)
If you are already menopausal, this is not news to you. But to those of you behind me that have yet to enter this tumultuous time, or perhaps you already have…take heart. There is something better on the other side. Grandchildren!