Letting go of expectations, permission, and cultural detritus can leave menopausal women struggling for an identity. Do they continue as beforeâ€”shrouded in a persona that tends to no longer fitâ€”or do they allow themselves to revisit and explore aspects of themselves considered too self-serving during the childbearing years?
As Dr. Northrup (2003) explains, â€œCaring for others and pursuing unexplored personal passions are not necessarily mutually exclusive choices, but our culture makes them seem so, always supporting the former at the expense of the latter. This is part of what makes the midlife transformation so much of a challengeâ€ (p. 5). The unraveling of what was often becomes the material on which future creative fires are built. The realization that the remaining years seem some how more countable and less vague, lent an â€œif not now, when?â€ component to the flux of menopause for many of the women I interviewed for my Masterâ€™s Capstone Project.
As midlife women regroup and reassess, there is often heard the lament from husbands and partners that the woman they once knew is gone. Sex has become a memory. With the decline in estrogen production, the vaginal walls become thin and dry. Intercourse can become painful. Couple this with low to no testosterone levels and desire for intimacy wanes sharply. And this brings me to the topic of body changes. Â Stop byÂ next week!