— Sandra Gordon is dreading menopause. The 46-year-old from Weston, Connecticut, watched her mother’s memory falter in her mid-50s, due to changing hormone levels. “Every time I get my period I say to myself, ‘Yes! I’m so relieved!’ ” says Gordon.
She’s not alone. Many women recall their mothers’ hot flashes, sleepless nights, or unexpected mood swings — not to mention thinning hair, sagging skin, and wrinkles — with apprehension.
But hearing your mother’s account of menopause can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, says women’s health expert Christiane Northrup, M.D., the author of “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause.”
“One of my patients said to me, ‘My mother always told me the best years of her life started after menopause, and therefore I looked forward to it and never had a single problem.’ Another told me, ‘My mother told me this is the worst thing that can ever happen to you and I’m terrified,’ ” she says.
Either way, your mother’s menopause isn’t always a predictor of what your experience will be. It’s not all hereditary, and there are a few things you can do to make your own transition easier.