Menopause is a natural process that usually occurs when a woman is approaching 50. During menopause a woman stops getting her period, and therefore it may be more challenging for a woman to get pregnant during this time. Most women start experiencing hot-flushes, night sweats, weight gain and irregular periods when they are approaching menopause.
A woman may be faced with emotional difficulties such as ‘my body is not the same as it once was’ and women feeling ‘less of a woman’ because of such biological changes. Such biological changes may come as a shock to some women, and it may be hard for some family members to understand this. Therefore, menopause may be a difficult time for a woman to endure. Due to the symptoms, menopause is automatically given a negative image. Some women link menopause with having mixed feelings and irrational emotions. (Journal of Holistic Nursing, 25(2), 106–118.). This article will describe how families/ friends can support women who are going through menopause. Menopause is something beyond our control, but our attitude towards menopause is
Below are some ideas how you can give support to a loved one going through menopause:
- Educate yourself – The more you know about menopause, the more likely you are to understand what your wife/mother etc. is going through, and so the more likely you are to give this person your support.
- Try listening efficiently – do this by actively paying attention to what they’re saying, by doing so, it is likely that you will be confided in more.
- Stay calm during conversations – even the ones you do not agree with. Being patient does not mean putting up with everything, of course – but if you are aware of any topic which might trigger stress it might be a good idea to steer away from this topic in order to avoid conflict (avoiding arguments by avoiding any topics that seem to irritate or frustrate them.)
- Be patient – mood swings are a common symptom to menopause and they do not last forever. Remember that you’re both doing your best to adapt to this situation.
- Do not deny her experience – every woman goes through menopause differently and it’s important to keep an open mind about this. The more support she gets, the more she will feel safe in this situation, keep in mind that this is a relatively new time in your life for both of you.
If you are also going through menopause, and wish to help your friend out who is going through the same thing, it is important to take care of yourself too. By taking care of yourself, you are indirectly helping out your friend as well. Self-care is important for your overall wellbeing and by taking care of your needs, you are emitting positive energy to yourself and to others too!
Christina Demanuele is a student studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Malta. She is currently a volunteer at Willingness Team.
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