Been talking to quite a few women this week. Their stories about menopause are touching, particularly those who are struggling to make sense of what is happening to them physically and spiritually.
To prepare herself, one woman had done quite a lot of reading around the menopause. When it arrived, she recognised various bodily symptoms, but nothing prepared her for what she was going to feel about her self.
Namely, the change from thoroughly enjoying sex with her husband for almost forty years, to finding herself sitting in the GP’s surgery being confronted by those two dreaded words, ‘vaginal atrophy’. ‘Such ugly words,’ she said mournfully.
In contrast, another woman talked about how she wanted more sex, not less. I was heartened by this. Even so, she increasingly felt an urge to do more with her life; to contribute something that had meaning and significance. She said, ‘I am very aware that I am now entering my last phase of life, even if this means I have another twenty odd years to go. I really want to do something to help, but I am not sure what this might be.’
So this is not just about sex. It’s about meaning too, and how we can make a difference as older women in a society which, it seems to me, is geared towards staying beautiful and young.