Living in Uncertain Times: Experiences of Menopause and Reproductive Aging
Author Heather Dillaway explores the everyday experiences of women living in and passing through the stages of perimenopause and menopause, a transition that can change both one’s physical body and identity. She concludes that part of the everyday experience of this reproductive and life transition is learning to live in and with uncertainty. This chapter is from The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies.
“While there is existing clinical and attitudinal research on reproductive aging, we often forget to focus on the phenomenological experience of perimenopause and menopause—that is, the lived, embodied, day–to–day experience of this reproductive and life course transition. This chapter will explore the everyday experience of women living and passing through perimenopause and menopause, a transition that involves many day-to-day uncertainties and changes, including definitional uncertainties, uncertainties about signs and symptoms, uncertainties about aging, and uncertainties about motherhood and changing relationship statuses. Because the hallmarks of perimenopause and menopause are uncertainty and change, I will argue that experiencing menopause and reproductive aging is akin to living in uncertain times, and learning to live in and with this uncertainty is part of the everyday experience of this reproductive and life course transition. In fact, acknowledging and owning this uncertainty could be a new and different way of approaching and thriving during this reproductive transition.”