How to Talk to Your Family About Your Menopause Symptoms
When it comes to menopause, there’s no need to suffer in silence — and that includes letting our families in on how we’re feeling, and how they can best help us during this time. Some people might feel like talking to their families about their menopause symptoms is just burdening them. But it can actually be incredibly helpful for family members to understand what you’re grappling with, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms that might include them, too, like irritability or brain fog. Talking to your family about your symptoms can help them empathize and allow you all to understand each other better — and if, say, menopausal irritability causes you to lose your cool around your kids, talking about it beforehand can help them understand that it’s not about them.
But even given all these pluses, talking about all the gory details of (peri)menopause isn’t easy for many of us. After all, most of us didn’t have the same conversations with our own mothers, so we don’t even have previous experience to draw from. But as long as you lead with love and honesty, talking with your family about this serious topic will be a success. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
The Puberty-Menopause Parallel
Having a good reference point for comparison does wonders when it comes to finding an understanding. Luckily, just about everyone over the age of 16 has the experience to use as a reference point when it comes to understanding menopause: puberty.
No, menopause and puberty are not the same things, but they’re similarly intense hormonal changes that have profound effects on the body and mind. You may even have kids in the household dealing with puberty at the same time your symptoms start popping up, which could be quite the minefield. But, conversely, having that in common makes it a lot easier to build an understanding.
So when you plan how to talk with your family about menopause, remember “The Talk” — and use that to build your own talk.
Tell Them Why You Want To Have “The Talk”
It’s not enough to simply tell your family “I’m dealing with menopause” (especially because younger family members might not know what that means). You need to tell them why you’re talking about it. Identifying the motivation behind a conversation can help cement understanding and lead to a productive outcome. So before you talk, consider your “why.”
Are you looking for support? Sometimes, we feel like we shouldn’t burden our loved ones with our needs for support. But supporting each other when we need it is what families are for. And just as you can’t know what support your family members need if they don’t express it, they need to hear about your needs from you, too.
Do you simply want to talk about what you’re experiencing? That’s a great reason — after all, menopause needs to be normalized! Having a frank and honest conversation with your family is an amazing way to help destigmatize in society.
- Do you want to explain? A lot of women don’t even realize they’re peri/menopausal until their symptoms have started screaming — both at and through them. If you’ve been struggling and taking some of your frustrations out on loved ones, a heartfelt apology and explanation can be as good for you as it is for your family
Leave Room for Laughter
Yes, menopause is a serious topic. But even the most serious topics need to embrace levity. Laughter both relieves stress and unites us. So don’t be afraid to express all the parts of how you’re feeling — even the less serious parts.