Opinion | Sexuality

Holy Hot Flashes! A Spiritual Take on Menopause

How the mysterious life stage changes a woman's capacity to nurture others.

Belly fat? Check.

Hot flashes? Check.

Sleep problems, mental fog, AWOL menstrual cycles? Oh yes.

The desire to nurture others? Pfffft. Gone. Current thinking on menopause tells us that the caretaking "instinct" is nothing more than a relic of a woman's reproductive years.

As Sandra Tsing Loh notes in a wry piece in the November issue of The Atlantic, the message of pop-culture self-help tomes like Christine Northrup's The Wisdom Of Menopause is that mommy's selflessness is basically a biological hiccup. In other words, as a woman's estrogen powers down at menopause, she becomes far less nurturing and way more self-centered. It's pure biology:

It is not menopause that triggers the mind-altering and hormone-altering variation; the hormonal "disturbance" is actually fertility. Fertility is The Change. It is during fertility that a female loses herself, and enters that cloud overly rich in estrogen. And of course, simply chronologically speaking, over the whole span of her life, the self-abnegation ...
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