There is a growing whisper among women in their 40s and 50s. Women who feel an agitation, something stirring. There are questions. There is uncertainty. There is worry. There is also a deep rumbling that needs to be named.
Our bodies are changing once again. Again!!!
We’ve all heard about the physical things that start to happen; the sleepless nights, the hot flashes seemingly out of the blue, the heavy unpredictable periods and on and on. Our bodies have gone through so many changes in our lives. At the mercy of hormones through puberty or perhaps growing a child, we know that our bodies are amazing but can also be frustrating. We can feel powerless in the face of these changes. There’s a lot of discussion about the physical, but what about the rest?
When we were girls, we were told that we can do it all. The world is open to us. In fact, as ‘good feminists’, many feel some sort of duty to be able to do it all, to have it all. Women at this age, though, are starting to confront these expectations and its challenges. There is shame, guilt, self-loathing, anxiety, anger, but also so much joy and pride.
Many midlife women in my therapy practice and in my personal life are questioning identity. Who am I truly right now? Who do I want to be? We have embraced the roles of partner, parent, daughter, colleague, professional, etc. But as our bodies change, once again, many women start to look at who they are as a person separate from these other identities we wear.
Who is the woman I am? Who is the woman I want to be? Who is the woman I “thought” I would be? What were the expectations for myself at this age as a younger person and did I meet those expectations? Do I feel like I failed my younger self for not meeting those expectations? Whose expectations were they truly? Did the expectations actually belong to others? Were they from our families of origin? Were they from our culture, religious upbringing or social norms for women? What are the things that are standing in my way of getting to where I want to go? Where is it, even, that I want to go????
There are so many questions.
It’s ok to name the questions.
It’s ok to ask the questions.
But how we start to unpack the answers is a different process for everyone.
Women at this age are generally used to caring for others. Maybe it comes naturally. Maybe we have been taught this. But who will care for the caregiver? We need to be our own best friend and focus upon ourselves first before we can give to others.
To women of this age, it can feel that they are supposed to stay in the roles they find themselves in. But why is there acceptance for us to have changed through puberty or through our 20s or perhaps through parenthood? We need to give ourselves permission to change through our 40s and 50s. The healthiest people I know are the ones who look at themselves from time to time and decide on what they want to keep and what skin they want to shed. They bring new energy into their lives and their relationships. They realize that change is normal and natural. Our bodies are physically changing. But so are other aspects of ourselves. We are organic beings that need change and new energy or else we will wilt.
The therapy space can be the place just for you to unpack these ideas. The journey is yours and you can make things happen for yourself. A therapist can be an important addition to your community of support.
If you are considering embarking on healthy growth in this stage of life, feel free to reach out to me. We can discuss whether this feels like a good fit on your journey during this Midlife Rumbling.
I look forward to connecting with you.