A Partner's Guide to Menopause
As women begin to deal with menopause symptoms, it can be difficult to know how you can help or to fully understand what is happening. With Menopause being a taboo subject, your partner may have difficulty to describe what is happening or how she is feeling. It can be frustrating and confusing (for both of you), and you may feel helpless to know how you can help.
In this article, you will find a guide of what your partner is experiencing, and how you can help during the transition.
1. Educate YourselfThe first thing you can do is try and better understand what menopause is, what the different symptoms are and how they can affect her, both mentally and physically. While you won't be able to fully understand how it feels, having an understanding of what is happening will help you be supportive as you need to be. Many women feel lost, lonely and helpless. Some feel like a shell of themselves and are trying to figure out what is happening.
2. Ask her what she needsEvery woman experiences menopause differently. While a majority deal with hot flashes on a regular basis, others will feel more of the mental effects. Provide her with open communication. Asking her how you can help, or what can help lets her know that you care about her and that you support her. She may feel scared or uncomfortable to talk about the experience and changes that are happening, so asking her allows her the change to talk it out with you, the person she trusts more than anyone. Offer support, run a bath, help clean around the house, hug her (unless she is having a hot flash, then get her something to help cool her down)
3. No pressure!Whatever you do, don’t ask when her symptoms will end, or how long it will last. Like you, she doesn’t know the answer to that, and it’s not helpful. If she had the power, she wouldn’t have any of the symptoms, to begin with. On average, menopause symptoms last anywhere from 4-8 years, but everyone is different.
4. Be patientKnow that Menopause is not forever, even though it could feel like it for both of you. Resist the urge to snapback. I know, easier said than done. Remember that estrogen and hormone levels play their part that can cause emotional frustration and temperament. Try to stop, breath and walkaway.
5. Accept the silenceSome woman may need the space to be quiet to self reflect. Don’t take the silence as something you have done, it may not be anything to do with you. The changes are physically and mentally, so sometimes quiet spaces are great for meditation and practise breathing.
6. Encourage to seek help
Anxiety can be crippling. With menopause, some women find they lose their self-confidence and need professional support and help to get through the transition. Offer to go with her. It will mean a lot to have you there.
Everybody goes through menopause differently. Open communication to understand what she is experiencing is key. She’ll notice your support and efforts and really appreciate it.