Menopause with all its symptoms, trappings and jargon has entered our cultural consciousness largely because so many 'baby boomers' have entered this phase of life. Menopausal women are now an audience, an audience with a need and the discretionary dollars to address that need. And so, the medical professions, drug therapy merchandisers and alternative/complementary modality therapists have taken a keen interest in menopausal women.
Talk to many members of the medical profession who hold to the efficacy of the allopathic model of intervention and you learn that menopause is often viewed as a disease to be avoided, postponed, or medicated. Menopause, in other words, is seen as an end -- -- -- an end of fertility, youth and cultural usefulness. Discuss menopause with many feminists and healers from the alternative/complementary medical modality and you learn that menopause is viewed as a time of magical change, wisdom, and zest; a beginning of freedom from cultural roles and a celebration of the self.
Most women's experience of menopause probably falls somewhere along the continuum between the two ends of this duality. Talk to many women going through menopause and you find a group of human beings experiencing a wide variety of unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable physical, mental and emotional symptoms. They may also be facing bewildering changes in many of their most stable relationships, and find themselves questioning many of their most cherished beliefs about themselves, their experiences and their world. No one view of menopause can satisfactorily answer all their questions, treat all their symptoms or help them find internal understanding and acceptance of "The Pause" and the changes inherent in the transition of menopause. To make matters worse, American culture does not readily provide many positive models or guidelines for women to hold on to as they navigate menopausal waters.
Hopefully, this paper will provide some helpful answers.