You’ve read what the doctors have to say about menopause. You’ve heard the experts speak about “the change” on TV talk shows. Now it’s time to listen to the women themselves. Women at the Well: The Many Voices of Menopause is the only book of its kind to provide a voice for women on the printed page. In this compelling book, women share their firsthand stories of what it’s like – physically, emotionally and spiritually – to experience perimenopause and menopause.
These are the “women at the well” who stand in a united circle to draw the healing waters of wisdom to share with others. And what they tell us is both heart-warming and heart-rending. They want us to know their struggles. They want us to know what has helped them and what hasn’t. They want us to know that menopause is a natural biological process and that they are not crazy. Most of all, they want other women to know that they are not alone.
Informative and highly readable, these 33 narratives take us into the personal lives of these ordinary and extraordinary women who share their journeys through this critical life passage. They tell us what it’s like physically and dispel the myth that all women have hot flashes and mood swings. While some do experience these symptoms, others don’t. “One size does not fit all” when it comes to menopause.
As Catharine, one of the women in the book, states, “Often I would feel like a chained horse in the starting gate right before the big race. High anxiety would just come over me. Twice I had to ask my husband to leave a restaurant because I became so anxious and just couldn’t sit there any longer.”
Or as Michelle shares, “The memory loss has been the most difficult for me. Downright embarrassing. I would be in the middle of a conversation and forget what I was saying. The night sweats got somewhat better . . . but now they are getting worse again.”
But even as these women share their physical and emotional struggles, they manage to find hope and laughter, as Dee Adams writes. The creator of the world famous mid-life cartoon, “Minnie Pauz,” she shares, “The most valuable thing I have is my sense of humor and I hope to share it with as many women as possible. It really does help to laugh at ourselves . . . things DO improve. I promise!”
Or as Dr. Larrian Gillespie, author of many books including The Menopause Diet, writes, “One day you’re feeling fine and the next day your discover a suicide note from your ovaries on the side of a box of Tampax!”
As these women open their hearts, we also learn about other mid-life challenges occurring at the same time as menopause – divorce, caring for aging parents, dealing with an empty nest and looking ahead to their own aging and retirement.
While ultimately a woman must make her own decision as to treatment to help alleviate symptoms, these women tell us what has worked for them and what hasn’t. Not intended as medical advice, these options range from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to natural herbs and products.
For any husband, significant other, family member or co-worker who can’t seem to understand the menopausal woman in their lives, this book will help. Medical and mental health professionals will also gain greater insight about women’s menopausal experiences in these accounts.
Even more important, perimenopausal and menopausal women – or those women about to enter these stages – will find support and validation in these stories. At this nurturing well of firsthand information and wisdom, they will find hope. There, they will hear the "many voices of menopause."