Mary Agnes Antonopoulos, Kick-A** Ghost-writer, Social Strategist and Branding Expert MaryAgnes.com
Having a network of other women to lean on and bounce ideas off of is a solid win as we transition through menopause.
I used to think that being overweight was the biggest worry of my life. I’m successful, loved, admired by many, but my cute size 18 was always a hurdle. Well, welcome to age 46, and the new worry is AG-ING. I can live with my size 18 figure – healthy or not is a different question. But the issues around aging, and what entering menopause means now – and will mean just around the corner – are terrifying. I find myself listening to any conversation where I hear the word Estrogen – and wondering if I should get that Suzanne Somers book. (I’m half joking – there has to be a better authority out there for women to turn to – that’s the conclusion I come to on that idea.) But who? How are we to find even a hint at navigating embarrassing issues like sex and body changes? And why is this so glaringly reminiscent of how I felt at fourteen, when I was entering puberty. Why are my changing breasts as embarrassing NOW as they were then?
The simple truth is that some of these issues belong with my doctor – and with all of our doctors. We should find an authority with a medical degree to address medical issues (not a Goddess from HSN). But many of our questions are about emotions and lifestyle. Answering those questions, my friends, is sometimes better suited to our tribe.
Our tribe. A lifetime ago, our tribe would have been the other neighbor-hood moms – we would have likely raised our families together and met at the local club for bake sales and sewing. Not so much anymore. For those of us in our mid 40’s or 50’s, who are finding our way through one stage of menopause or another, we probably don’t have those tribes. We worked. We didn’t have June Cleaver lives. We had careers and child-care – and if we ever baked anything for a bake sale, it was between 35 other things that day. And so, our tribes look different than the ones our mothers and grandmothers had to support them.
Our tribes are everywhere though, and available to us 24/7. From personal empowerment groups who focus on the feminine “goddess” like Vividly Woman to the simple, yet eloquent group “Menopause Sucks” – there are communities of women out there who GET what we’re going through. There’s also the more serious group Menopause Matters whose disclaimer says: Menopause Matters is about making your journey through menopause easier. We have built this fan page to provide visitors like you with the latest menopause news and developments that will enable you to have an easier passage through menopause.
We should find an authority with a medical degree to address medical issues
Those communities are on Facebook, easily accessible to all. There are many others. Two to explore might be http://www.wowowow.com and http://YourTango.com. Your Tango actually has relationship coaches who will answer questions specifically. So if you’re not comfortable to talk about some of the intimate challenges that enter your bedroom once menopause starts, even with a close friend or your doctor, that might be a place to seek answers or get some creative ideas to keep your sexuality – and sensuality – vibrant and healthy.
The bottom line is that the possibilities for support have changed vastly since the birth of social media there are inroads to experts and like-minded women on many levels that simply didn’t exist before. Menopause is no different than any other subject – and we have a LOT more information to wade through and evaluate than most issues. Having a network of other women to lean on and bounce ideas off of is a solid win as important as that group of girl- friends when we were first discovering training bras and boys.