Life After Menopause
Sometimes, when it comes to menopause clichés, we women are our own worst enemies. The idea that life basically ends at menopause, or that it's all downhill from that point, is often just as engrained in our minds as it is in society's perception of postmenopausal women. We need to change our attitude. Menopause is a trigger for self-exploration and reflection on what has passed and what is still to come. It gives us an opportunity to assess our lives, decide what we want to change, and what we want to experience in this new phase.
The Physical Aspects
That's all very well you may say. But how are you supposed to do all this reflecting and focus on the positive when you're still having hot flashes and struggling to sleep at night?
Unfortunately, the fact that menopause symptoms may continue for a few years after a woman has her last period is something that many women don't discover until it happens to them. However, hard as it may be to maintain, a positive attitude can still help. It's important to focus on the solutions to the symptoms you're going through, and to take a proactive approach. Your doctor can't help you unless you tell him you are suffering - make notes of your symptoms and then approach him for advice.
Part of having a positive attitude to menopause is also about not putting too much pressure on yourself. If you are still feeling overwhelmed by the physical experience then perhaps this is not the time to be making big decisions about your sex life, family life or future career. This is ok too.
Sex And Love Life
Some postmenopausal women find their desire for sex decreases. This is often balanced out, however, by a new found sense of sexual freedom. Worries about contraception are now behind them (although it's still important to use condoms if you're having sex with a new partner). In fact, statistics indicate that more and more women after menopause are doing just that - beginning new romantic relationships and having active sex lives. Just because you no longer get your period does not mean that you are not at risk for contracting STDs.
Children And Family
Menopause often coincides with the growing independence of your kids as they get older. They will need you now in different ways than they did before. Many women find this difficult, but there are positives to be drawn from this situation - many positives in fact.
You may have more time on your hands to focus on your own ambitions and hobbies. What was that thing that you always wanted to do before you had your first baby, and then never got around to? Where did you want to travel? These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself - think about the answers and act on them!
You may find that you and your husband/partner now have more time alone together than before. Some couples at this stage of life are quite bemused by this prospect. However, this is the ideal opportunity to reconnect, to start going out together again, to start getting to know one another again.
If You Need Help
Some women need a little assistance with life after menopause. All of the advice above is very easy to give, but not perhaps so easy to implement. If you do find that life is getting on top of you, you should try and communicate your emotions to your loved ones and friends. There are also support groups for women, in which everyone is going through the same or similar experiences to yours.