Meno Mom and Teen Puberty
When you were having your kids, did you ever think you might be going through peri/menopause while your child goes through puberty? Probably not. So, here we go...this new journey that really requires a lot of patience and new techniques for communicating.
We asked a mother and a daughter about their experience to give us real insight into what can happen to a family and steps you can take to make things a little easier through this time in your life.
The Puberty Stages
Renee, Mother (39): “I must say it has been a bit of a journey dealing with both of our emotions. My daughter, June is learning how to navigate through all the changes her body is going through. I have to be honest that I have to remind myself that we are both going through physical changes and I have to be patient with her and myself.”
Renee started her period at 11 years old. She shares, “I'm not too sure what menopause is, but my mom told me she won't be having any more babies because of it.” It doesn’t seem like much has changed in her perspective. Her main focus is dance and more dance.
Let's Talk About Emotions
From June’s perspective, she feels comfortable talking to her mother no matter what. Renee, on the other hand shares, “My daughter and I have our moments where we need to be away from each other. Our emotions are running rampant and we need a moment. Then, there are other times where she wants to know and understand why she's feeling the way she does. She's a mommy's girl so we have a really strong relationship, but we are still two females with strong personalities. I think we came to an unspoken understanding that if the other needs a moment we allow each other to have it. Being a mom, you can sense your child's emotions and feelings and my daughter is pretty mature and can do the same with me.”
Day In The Life Of Peri/Menopause
Renee: “A typical day with me is taking a moment to listen to my body. I'm constantly on the go, but I try to get a feel for how my body is acting. At least 3-4 times a day I have hot flashes that start from the center of my chest and feel a burning radiating sensation that goes from my chest to my head. I've learned to go with whatever my body is doing.
The one symptom that I can't stand is insomnia, shares Renee. I used to love sleep; like napping during the day, sleeping early, and sleeping the whole night. Now, I sleep for a couple hours at a time. Physically I'm used to it, but mentally I'm like, "I want to sleep!!"”
We asked Renee, how her relationship with her daughter has changed with these intertwining cycles, “I'm not sure our relationship has changed that much. She needs me more in some aspects, but in other ways, she's older (11) so she's a lot more independent. When things get heated, I tell her (probably not the best way) to get away from me. I give her choices on where we can go for both of us to cool down.”
A great take away from what was shared is that sometimes you just need to step away; and, that’s for the adult and the child. Sometimes you need to reassess things as an adult. Feel what you are feeling. But, go back to your child and teach them about what is happening to their mind and body as well as yours.
June shared that she had not been taught about peri/menopause in school yet, since she had only been in 5th grade. But, Renee shared that , “I believe that at all stages of parenthood classes/education would be helpful. I am a teacher, and I have been around children of all ages. I think that has helped me a little bit. But, I think no matter how many classes you take, some situations you're going to have to figure it out on your own!”
Renee’s advice for women and girls is to have an open line of communication before your daughter starts their cycle. From the age of 8, I started to tell my daughter what to expect when her cycle started. She would ask me questions randomly and I would be honest - from what it looks like to how it feels for me. We also put together a kit that goes in her backpack for school. It contains 2 pairs of underwear, pads, wipes, and Advil. We went over how to keep herself clean and how often to change her pad etc. I always want to keep the lines of communication open so she never feels confused or runs to her friends for advice.
The big takeaway from what these ladies shared is communication. It’s never too young to start sharing about the cycles your body will go through. June was familiar with what to expect at 8 and even started to ask questions. In the same way, it’s essential to start sharing more about peri/menopause at a young age as well so they know that this life cycle starts with puberty and continues on through post menopause.
In the end, know that you are not alone and there are other mothers experiencing peri/menopause and raising children going through puberty.