Journeys through Menopause:
Women writing about midlife
by Elizabeth R. Perkins
Stories and self-respect
This book consists of a series of personal accounts of menopause, in prose, art or poems. They come from women aged between 40 and 80, at different stages of their development, with different experiences of menopause. The group includes women who live alone or with partners (of either sex), those with no children, and those with children ranging from 10 year olds to adults with children of their own. It includes women in the caring professions, business women, academics, writers, artists, and women on low incomes with limited education. They draw strength in difficulties from spiritual traditions which include Christianity, Islam, Goddess spirituality and Buddhism. They had different symptoms and used different methods of relieving them. They experienced menopause at different times; both cultural and medical attitudes have changed considerably over the interval covered in this book. The mix is enriched by three group contributions, from Afro-Caribbean women in Sheffield, from Muslim women in Leicester, and from women in a disadvantaged area of Sheffield who were reclaiming their lives from the effects of prescribed drugs.
The value of stories
Telling your own story means that you make sense of your experience for yourself. To tell that story for others to read implies that it has value. Menopause has for too long been dismissed in Western culture as a tedious but trivial affair, hampering women from playing their proper part in society (whatever that is).
We need more menopausal stories, so that we can appreciate both the variety of women’s experience and also the common threads. This will benefit both those who tell and those who listen. For women who want to tell their own, there are many ways to do this – examples in this book include not only writing, but painting, sculpting and even gardening! Whichever method is chosen, the process makes a statement – and one which implies value. Doing this again in a year’s time may well produce a different pattern; menopause is about change and different issues may become important. Sharing it with others may change the stories in the sharing – a group discussion can discover common ground or contrasts which seem more important as a result. The accounts of group discussions in this book show women helping one another to discover what they think and how they feel, and what really matters to them.
71 pages, with photographs and illustrations, ISBN 0-9548026-0-8
£7.50 including postage & packing (UK only – £9.00 rest of world)
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