How Do I Explain Menopause to My Family?

Sheryl offers her best advice to a Pauser. Spoiler alert: It’s not all in your head.

Dear thePause,

I’m 49, in the throes of menopause and hardly recognize myself. How can I explain what I’m going through to my family? They think it’s all in my head and it’s causing a lot of tension (and resentment) at home.

I’ve thrown open the window in the middle of a 15-degree day. I’ve burst out into tears for no reason. I’ve gone crazy looking for my glasses when they’re sitting right on top of my head. I know it doesn’t help when I yell, but I’m just so frustrated by everything right now. Any advice for how to communicate better with everyone in my house who is not experiencing menopause? Help!

Losing My Sh*t    

Dear LMS,

It can be so hard dealing with menopausal symptoms and especially frustrating when you don’t feel “heard.” Hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, weight gain. These symptoms (and more) are stressful for sure. Unless someone has walked in your shoes, it is very tough for them to really “get” what you are talking about.

One reason your family might not understand is that no one outside of grown women seems to talk about it — and even among us, there can be a sense of taboo or stigma.

Of course, that’s why we created thePause, to talk freely about topics like panic attacks, hot flashes and brain fog. We even wrote about The Upside of Menopause!

To us, knowledge is power. So having a clear sense of what’s happening to your hormones right now is step one for having a birds-and-bees discussion with your family. The next step is to figure out ahead of time what you need from your family during this challenging time. Perhaps it’s silent understanding? Maybe a hug? Or maybe a promise to try harder to grant you some alone time when you need it?

When you gather, share that stress can aggravate menopause symptoms so perhaps, in the interest of peaceful cohabitation, “please resist the urge to roll your eyes when I tell you ‘It’’s hot in here!’ And a cold compress wouldn’t hurt, either.” #bonuspoints

Good luck with “the talk.” Let us know how it goes!


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For a Pause

  1. Music has the power to soothe. Here are some playlists for different moods, including, of course, when you’re feeling your emotions escape into dangerous territory.

  2. For the next time, you want to say, “Leave Me the F*ck Alone” but can’t quite get the words out of your mouth, let one of these t-shirts say it for you.

  3. Remember “Calgon, take me away?” Yep, they’re still at it, offering up these lavender and honey bath beads too.

  4. Send an SOS for chocolate and/or wine without opening your mouth; just put on these socks, put your feet up, and leave the rest to your beloved family.

One More Thing

Seriously, there’s nothing more to add to this. purrrrrrr.

Stay healthy and see you next week!


It's a family affair.
It's a family affair.
— Family Affair, Sly & The Family Stone

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