I am still wide awake at 0105hours. It has been a busy day but things have been constantly served up on the to do list all day and all the time in the day seems to have just run away. I can see eyes wide open in shock! This is an example of the few changes that may be happening to some of us.
Being a mum and a wife can frequently take its toll. Incessant demands, never ending chores and pressure to be the indefatigable supermom, can at times create a weariness that tends to pull one down both physically and emotionally. I believe our focus should be what we do those times when we think “no one is looking out for me”, “no one acknowledges the things I do around here”, “I am exhausted”, “get me out of here”. Need I go on? Do these statements resonate with you?
You are in your mid 40s and there are a few priorities in our lives. We want to ensure that our children are safe, happy, content and quite frankly doing well in every area. It is generally considered that once you are in your mid-40s you are at the top of the hill, perhaps at the zenith, major milestone achieved. Do we need reminding that we still have many years to go until our children are ‘fully sorted’ and frankly does this ever happen? I see the 40s as a ‘changing time’ in my life but not the end of the striving.
How do we cope with ourselves? How do we move through perimenopause to the full-blown menopause? Suffice to say this is a treacherous time. It is unpredictable on so many fronts and has the potential to manifest quite severe adverse consequences.
My husband always says that society is built on the family unit. Stable families lead to a stable society. The wife’s or mother’s wellbeing are a key determinant of family stability. Therefore, if that is the case, it would not be far wrong to say that the family unit is built on the female’s hormone! Think about it people, mums are jack of all trades – you are the chauffeur, secretary, receptionist, chef, pastoral leader/manager, husband helper / ego soother, school liaison officer, trouble-shooter, wren. We are selfless. Therefore, when perimenopause to menopause comes it is often like a hand-grenade. No one prepares you.
There are so many articles that have been written on this topic but I would like to focus only on an issue that many take for granted and perhaps would prefer to draw a veil over. Slowly the mummy-sagacity is moving on. We can see this happening and so can the rest of the family.
The symptoms you may notice will include, persistent sad or anxious mood, irritability, sleeplessness, or not enough sleep, fatigue, aches and pains, forgetfulness or a lack of concentration, worthlessness or feeling guilty, weight gain or even weight loss. No amount of Christian praise and worship will miraculously make any of these symptoms disappear or tranquillise your nerves. Our bodies change also – oestrogen levels fluctuate, signs of aging, hair challenges, flat belly becoming not so flat.
We just need to prepare ourselves. This is one topic mothers do not talk about and it takes their daughters by surprise. There must be a certain age where we should be speaking openly about this to our daughters. However, I am still uncertain if it would prepares us well enough for the change.
Accept the change. We are unable to run away from this change. We are unable to deny that we are experiencing changes in our bodies. Denying it can only affect us negatively, mentally. It could also bring about confusion. So, what you are going through the ‘peri’ stage! Accept the change and continue saying to yourself “I am beautiful, I have reached an amazing age and the changes are beautiful”. As a Christian, I go through scriptures that help me. Philippians 1:6 tells me categorically tells us He who began a good work in me (and you) will perfect it. What a promise!
Get closer to your spouse. A lot of times we imagine things that are necessarily not there. Your husband still loves you the way you are. You both are going through changes however you need to both remain committed. This means your journey is his journey. Get closer to him, talk to him, let him know how you are feeling. I am still learning to depend on his robust assessment but I am glad we are going through this journey together, developing in every area of our lives together.
Learn to relax and reduce stress. Exercise is such a wonderful thing. We all are extremely busy but we must find time to exercise. A mix of exercises will be good for us. We all know the benefits of exercising – good sleep, managing stress better and more energy for work and play respectively, it makes us look better. Do not forget your pelvic exercises!
Woman to Woman. I am completely blessed that I have my mother whom I run to when I need to chat, gain objective knowledge, gossip and more. I can speak to my mum about anything and everything. When we initially chatted about ‘peri’ and ‘meno’, her initial response was “oh I went through it, every woman goes through it”. We laughed and the conversation began. I have a mum who is able to teach, mentor and show by example. Find an older woman who has been there and worn the t-shirt! Every young woman needs an older wiser woman who can teach, mentor and show by example. When you feel overwhelmed you may need a shoulder to cry on or just someone who is not your spouse. The older woman has been on this road and will be the right person to encourage and inspire you. For those of us who believe and even those who do not the bible speaks of this in Titus 2:3-5. Quite frankly if you thought certain principles are not in the bible, they are!
Professional support. Occasionally this may be needed. Doctors and other women’s health professionals are here for a reason. For those of us who believe, my message here is trust in God through the medical professionals. We must listen to them and consider their diagnosis. Seeking professional help does not mean you have no faith. God uses medical professionals to provide skill, proficiency aegis and care. Every treatment modality suggested needs to be fully evaluated with as much understanding of the issues at stake as possible. It has been stated that in this day and age society is quite accepting of
Medical history and tests. Throughout your 40s medical tests can be very useful to help in the diagnosis of medical problems. Correct identification of treatable problems like thyroid disorders and vitamin D deficiency is valuable. You will get tired and frustrated but every test is important. Be it blood counts for anaemia, cholesterol, diabetes screening, thyroid hormones, blood pressure endeavour not to overlook these but ensure that you know ‘that your tests are okay’.
Mindset . Our disposition and mental attitude will determine our responses to situations. Each day I reflect on the positives that have worked well. I sometimes make a list of this and hope to use those positives the next day. It could be the most mundane things. You have been suffering from hot flushes, weight gain, mood swings. So what?! Think positive thoughts by being aware of what you say to yourself. Be grateful with your body and your health. We must also learn to have some ‘me time’ where you set aside time for you and you alone.
Practice Gratitude. This is a topic Ike and I teach quite often. It is applicable here. Celebrate the fact that you are alive and well.
For those of us who are married perhaps it is also time to focus on our husbands. He is also confused and concerned. I have to sometimes remind myself that he is also going through ‘my uncertainties’ so I must try and be nice, friendly, patient but mostly treat him with love.
The truth is that we are all growing up, developing and changes will occur. When this happens let us embrace it. There is life beyond this and I choose to be happy and celebrate. I am still realising this.
Love and much blessings to you,