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Menopause Support

QUESTION: Menopause Support - How can I get my family to supply the support I need?

ANSWER:

Receiving the encouragement of family members can be a challenging aspect of menopause support. Old stereotypes that reinforce the idea of women in their late forties and early fifties turning into "mad hatters" have not helped to engender the kind of support that most women need during this stage of life. Menopause is a natural life-stage of every woman, and should be viewed as such. Unfortunately, some families do not understand this and fail to give menopause support to a loved one.

Education is perhaps the biggest key to getting family to supply the support you need. Talking frankly and honestly to family members is an important step to take in "normalizing" menopause. When loved ones understand that most of the associated symptoms are common to all women and not indicative of physical or emotional ill health, they breathe a sigh of relief. Coping with a wife who keeps throwing off the blankets and turning down the thermostat is a lot easier when a husband can identify with multitudes of other spouses who are coping with the same things. When older children are helped to understand that mom's increased tearfulness and sensitivity doesn't mean she is "going off the deep end," they are more apt to be compassionate and patient. Helping family members know that what you are experiencing is "normal" is an important step to take in being treated as "normal."

A great deal of literature has been written from both the medical and mental health perspectives on menopause. Encourage your loved ones to educate themselves by reading about this life stage. Physicians' offices and counseling centers are great places to access materials and professionals will gladly offer resources on the subject.The Internet provides an almost inexhaustible supply of educational resources to take advantage of. Do your homework first. Then suggest or recommend materials to your family that will help them better understand the way your body, mind, and emotions are coping with menopause.

Perhaps one of the best ways to get the support needed from family can come from asking for it. The Bible says: “. . . And yet the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it” (James 4:2).

Although this verse is specifically talking about asking God, there is a principle for living contained in this verse. If you need support from your family, communicate it to them. Ask them for their patience, understanding, and emotional support as you transition through menopause. Better yet, God offers His help to your entire family if you seek Him. Menopause, like other life stages, forces us to seek fresh meaning in our lives. Consider talking with your husband or children about attending church and letting God be a support to you and your family. God says, “For I know the plans I have for you . . . They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:1).

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