So many of us are disconnected from each other, our families and our communities or "tribes". My children would say I simplistically look at the problem and blame everything wrong with our world on how babies are born. I don't believe it is that simple, but I do believe the way we are born and the way we give birth plays into our cultural struggles in a large way.
Science now shows that how our mothers felt while growing us in their bellies dramatically affects how well we cope with life outside of the womb, and for the rest of our lives. We already knew that the affect of drugs and the common cultural disruptions around birth and the immediate postpartum time affects the flow of known hormones, and still yet to be known hormones, and pheromones important to mammalian birth and attachment. We know that in mammals, when this hormone cocktail is interrupted, it severely affects how babies and mothers attach to one another immediately following birth. As humans we can thoughtfully move past that, but working with women on the front line of birth, I see what a toll it takes on a new mother when the ease of mammalian hormones surrounding birth is altered and made difficult. This is one of the reasons women can suffer varying degrees of postpartum depression. If you find this topic interesting or as fascinating as I do check out the APPPAH website (birthpsychology.com - Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health) where you will find lots of research on these topics and more.
Much of my adult life has focused around studying birth, babies, nutrition, breastfeeding and how the best we can offer in these areas makes for healthier babies, women and families, both emotionally as well as physically for their generation and beyond. As I have grown older this interest has expanded to the age of the perimenopausal and menopausal women - both definitions that sound scary and often negative. This time of life should be the beginning of an excitement and anticipation for women, a time when a new exhilarating freedom is just around the corner, one that we are taught about as little girls and one we continually look forward to. Unfortunately that is not what we have been taught by our mothers and grandmothers, sisters and aunties and culture at large. Instead we are taught we will need to replace the hormones that our body "stops" producing (which it doesn't) or we will dry up and our bodies will break and not work "right" even more than they already have. We are taught our vaginal tissue will be thin and dry and we won't want sex anymore, sex may hurt if we do choose to have it, and for anyone to want us still, our husband included if he is still around, then we will need the doctor to prescribe us things, and we may need parts of ourselves lifted and tucked, reduced or enlarged and we will certainly need to feel apologetic about our hot flashes or sweating should we be experiencing that. And we should go through all of this quietly without anyone knowing our dirty little menopausal secrets.
I want to say, or perhaps really I want to be shouting, that in exploring this time of life I have found it to be extremely EXTREMELY rewarding. Is it hard at times to get past the cultural constructs that try to convince us we should be sad we are getting older? Absolutely! Though this blog may occasionally take me back to passionate outcries for mothers and their children and women in general, primarily it will be a place to share what I share with women in person on the subject of reaching this time of life - of being the wise woman, a crone - and really seeing and knowing how beautiful that woman and time of life is AND how needed she is in our communities and world. We are missing so much as communities and tribes when we leave her out and don't respect all the wisdom she has to offer us.
As I reach another birthday, I have felt it was my time to bring these subjects up to women like myself, who have reached the half century mark and beyond, who have raised their children, if they have had any, and who are onto this new time of life that is highlighted by the changes in the body that make birth control needs a thing of the past. That in and of itself is a new space to celebrate because of the intense liberation it brings to not need to worry about becoming pregnant. Bring your condoms along dear women because it still appears most men leave protection up to women. In today's world the over 50s humans have the fastest growing rate of sexually transmitted infections. Skip being that statistic! I will see you soon my wise woman friends and all those who love us. Please feel free to comment with topics you'd like me to discuss and I will try to include those in posts in the near future and happy almost birthday to me!