Interesting article in the New York Times about the conflicts of going through menopause while your child is going through adolescence. Something definitely to consider as more women are having kids in their 30’s. This was something I did not think of as I was planning my family. We have a tendency to think about everything else, health, finances, etc…menopause was not even on the table as something we would have to work through…
I’m not alone. Many women of my generation — in an attempt to strike a balance between building our careers and our families — didn’t start having children until relatively late in life. Add it all up, and you get a volatile mix: grumpy, grunting adolescents and short-tempered, irritable mothers. With the onset of menopause between 45 and 55, women are stepping onto a big emotional roller coaster at the same time that our children are reaching the emotional tilt-a-whirl that comes with being a teenager. In other words, when we are least able to cope, the most is required of us.
Desperate for answers and utterly exhausted, she tried cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressants, a better diet, increased exercise, acupuncture, hormone replacement therapy and meditation. Mostly, she worked very hard to understand and communicate with her ever-moody teenage daughter. Results were mixed.
My own menopausal symptoms began more gradually, lulling me into thinking that I could manage them on my own. Then, one day last fall, during some minor quarrel with Nathaniel, he turned to me and asked, “Why are you so angry all the time?”
That’s when I decided to do something about the way I was feeling. Now, I’m eating healthier and spending more time outdoors exercising and walking.
It took a little more than a month to notice any change. But slowly, the tension in my house began to ease. I’ve found myself increasingly less angry and more patient and less irritable.
Of course, not everyone’s symptoms or experiences are the same, and certainly no one magic solution exists. But as more women face this phenomenon, it’s good to know that there are options to avert at least some of the fireworks — ours, anyway.
From all I can tell, the teenage drama is here to stay