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A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays: Pregnancy & Empty Nest Syndrome – the broody blues of menopause!

by Eileen, on 13 February 2017, A.Vogel's Menopause Mondays

This week it’s all about the broody blues of menopause! Suddenly feeling an overwhelming urge to have a baby? Or if you have children, are you feeling down as they become more independent? I explain why you may experience these two very common feelings as you approach or go through the menopause as I take a look at pregnancy and empty nest syndrome at this time.



Video transcript:

Hello, and welcome to another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays. And today, I’m going to talk about pregnancy in the menopause, and also about empty nest syndrome, and very often, these two things come together.

Now, it’s quite interesting, the number of women who contact me actually saying that as they’re approaching the menopause, they are desperate, absolutely desperate for a baby. And they have this deep-seated need that it’s taking over their lives. And this can be women who’ve already had children, who’ve maybe got children who are leaving home. It can be even women who have never had the desire to have children suddenly find that they’re absolutely overwhelmed by this need to get pregnant.

Now, in a way, this is actually quite logical, because, you know, we are human beings, but we’re also part of nature. And nature’s primary focus, if you like, is the continuation of the species. So what happens as we approach the menopause and our hormones start to change, that some women can find that, “Yes, I just want one more chance at having a baby.” Or for those women who’ve never had children, this, again, they just want to actually have a baby. And it can become their focus. It can interfere with daily life. And it can actually become quite obsessive. Now, this is not something that’s in your head. There is a real reason for this. And this is caused just by the way your hormones have been primed, if you like, as you start to approach the menopause.

Thinking of having another baby

Now, if you are in this situation where you are seriously thinking about having another baby, there’s a couple of really important issues. One is as you start the approach to the menopause, especially if your periods start to miss, there is the possibility that you will no longer be able to conceive, and that is obviously, a big issue. Also, we have to realize that the older that you get, then there are more risks both for the mother and the baby during pregnancy. So this is the point here where if you are serious about it, that you go and you discuss this with your doctor. You find out. You can usually do blood tests to see whether it’s still possible to get pregnant, and also to check your general health, just to see that you are able to withstand all the trials and rigors of pregnancy.

Pregnancy

Now, talking about pregnancy itself, there’s also a large group of women who do not want to get pregnant as they approach the menopause. And they’re always worried about, you know, “How long after my periods have stopped is it safe, where I don’t get pregnant.” In normal circumstance, we say two years. Once the two years is up and you’ve not had any period at all in that time, then you are considered to be safe from pregnancy.

Now, some sources will say one year, but in our experience, we get an awful lot of women who’ve gone for a year , ora year and three or four months without a period, and then they suddenly come back, or they actually start up again. Very often, this is just due to a sort of last fling of your hormones. But if that happens, then you have literally got to start counting again. So we always say to people, if you don’t want to get pregnant at this particular point, then it’s advisable to keep using some form of contraception until the two years is actually up.

Empty nest syndrome

Now, this particular point where some women that are desperate to have babies can also coincide with those who have grown-up children, they’re leaving home. And this is called “Empty Nest Syndrome.” And unfortunately, this point can hit right during the menopause. So there you are, you’re already feeling fatigued, or maybe low or down, and suddenly, your children have decided to leave home. They might be going on to further education, they might be starting a new life with someone else, or they may actually be going for a job or maybe going further afield. And it can be a really, really depressing time. You can feel that you’ve lost your identity. You don’t know who you are anymore. What can you focus on? What can you do now? Sometimes, women feel that there’s nothing left for them, that they’ve done their bit and that’s it.

Relationships

This can also be a very trying time for relationships, because suddenly, there you are, just the two of you on your own. Now from what we’ve gathered from men, we know an awful lot of men are so looking forward to having their partners all to themselves. They just can’t wait. And there, unfortunately, their poor partner is sitting there, feeling miserable and unhappy and worthless and useless. So this is a point where you possibly really need to sit down, talk together, talk about your relationship, and about the future and about what both of you actually want to do as time goes by.

New beginnings

It’s also interesting, at this point, that some women, once they’ve got over the initial sadness of losing their children, they actually start to focus on what they want to do for themselves. It’s like carving out a new career. A number of women will go back to university or do open university. And women today, it’s amazing how many new little businesses starting up are all being done by women who are in the menopause or post-menopausal. And so instead of looking at this as a part of your life that’s ended, there’s also a new beginning, there’s a new part of your life that you can actually explore. So it’s not all gloom and doom here.

Feeling down?

However, if you are feeling down, if you’re feeling really miserable that your children have left home and don’t really need you quite so much anymore, then you can look at herbs such as Hypericum. This is a lovely one for low mood and for anxiety. It takes about four weeks to kick in, but it can give you a nice little lift. You just can’t take it if you’re on any of the prescribed medication. So just be careful of that.

The other thing is something called Female Essence. This is one of the flower essences. I love the flower essences because they work on the emotional issues that are behind the symptoms that you get. And Female Essence is just for being a woman, you don’t need any excuse for this at all. If you’re feeling low, if you’re feeling down, if you feel you’ve lost confidence, you don’t know who you are anymore or you’re just finding it a little bit of a struggle, then you can use the flower essences like the Female Essence. And this is a lovely one because you can carry it in your bag with you, and anytime you’re feeling particularly low, you can just put a few drops straight onto your tongue.

What have you done?

So you know, there is good news with this particular situation. And I would be really interested, for those of you who have children that have already left home, have you done anything really spectacular since then? It would be nice for all of us to share in that.

So I look forward to seeing you next week for another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays.

 

 

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Reactions

  • Francine

    This information is super cool. I am good to go then. I realize these days I am on the look out for new things if it even to start a book of original thoughts or just to engage myself in something different.

    • eileen

      Hi Francine
      That’s a great way to look at it, sometimes the ‘small things’ can turn out to be amazing!

  • Dawn Evans

    Hi I would just like to say thanks, and how wonderful your newsletters are each week, they have helped me understand what is happening to me during the menopause, I looked forward to your message each week. Thanks again xx Dawn

    • eileen

      You’re welcome and thanks for watching!

  • Christine

    Can the flower essences be used if you are on antidepressants or mild diuretic/blood pressure med?

    • eileen

      Hi Christine
      Yes, there are no contraindications listed.

  • Faith

    Divorced; one child left home; the other two about to leave; taking injections once every two months for force the onset of menopause, so I stop feeling nausea, dizziness and sick every morning as if l\\\’m pregnant, and taking tablets to deal with the pain. Feeling so useless as my kids don\\\’t need me anymore. Jobless and alone. Future…….what future?

    • eileen

      Hi Faith
      I am so sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time, your symptoms are horrible ones to have together and dealing with emotional issues as well can hit hard. Once you start to feel better why not think about doing some volunteer work, so many places are desperate for help – it will give you a focus and you can often make wonderful friends through this.

  • Chris P.

    I became incredibly broody during the peri menopause and the menopause years but I managed to rationalize with myself that this was as a result of crazy hormones as it didn’t make sense to want a baby in my late 40s and early 50s, with three children already in their late teens/early 20s. Instead, I turned in to the colleague who gushed over the new babies and the mum who hinted incessantly at wanted to be a young grandma : )

    • eileen

      Hi Chris
      Being a young grandma is great, enjoy it when it comes!!

  • Fran Slater

    Can I use Female Essence as I am taking Lisiniprol for high blood pressure?

    • eileen

      Hi Fran
      Yes, there are no contraindications listed

  • Tracy Ward

    My story…I am going through the menopause (still!) and really find your comments useful and can resonate with many of the symptoms and issues. The empty nest syndrome and losing your identity is very close to my heart. As a result of these feelings, I have recently retrained from Accountant and Project Manager to a Life Coach and I am in the process of setting up my own business. It has given me a new lease of life, has helped me deal with the symptoms of menopause myself and I am now going to be helping others to deal with similar feelings in their lives and that is very rewarding!

    • eileen

      Hi Tracy
      Fantastic outcome, well done!

  • Susan Scott

    Hi Eileen,
    Both our daughters left home last year within a few weeks of each other so that definitely threw me a bit. I had also just become self employed after working in the same place for 13 years so everything was changing, not just me! One of the best things I have done with some of my extra free time is joining a choir. It’s a soul choir so very energetic & great fun. I get to sing which I love, get some exercise, laugh & I’ve made new friends. We’ve done 2 big concerts now & my daughters came along & were dancing in the aisles, loving that their mum was up on stage doing her thing! I think as a parent you do so much for your family that you lose sight of who you are/were. My husband seemed to relish the peace & quiet of the empty nest & enjoys quiet hobbies at home, but I think I missed the chatter & dramas of two lively girls about the house so needed to get out there. It’s not spectacular but it’s worked for me.

    • eileen

      Hi Susan
      That sounds amazing, great to hear that you are really enjoying yourself!

  • jude

    firstly remember that your children will always need you Faith even more as they get older……I moved on after I realized my ex husband and I had nothing in common and I didnt love him or even like him ! then I met and fell head long in love with a lovely man and we moved abroad, set up a business and not only was it the best thing for us despite it being quite a struggle learning a new language and getting used to a different culture it also made my children then 17 and 19 y.o accountable for their own decisions and actions they had to stand on their own two feet , we were there of course in the background a 2 hour flight away , like a kind of safety net but it did in fact make them very responsible , self disciplined individuals who are now extremely sucessful . They have wobbled a bit at times and so have I wondering if I did the right thing but life is too short for regrets and they both tell me that it was the best thing for them.So this Valentines day love yourself alot, your children will be so happy that they have a positive Mum who they can always depend upon and who leads by example . Dont think about the past ( only with fond memories ) and enjoy the present I now have a grandaughter too so thats the next chapter . Happy Valentines Day to you all

    • eileen

      Hi Jude
      What a lovely story, thanks you so much for sharing this, we love happy endings!

  • Vanessa

    Thank you Eileen for bringing this to light, many a time I have been minding my own business, then suddenly found myself, absolutely sobbing for my children 30 and 27 to be children again!! so miss them being children I cherished every moment. Guess I have please god, have grandchildren to look forward to now, and I hold on to that god willing! Happy Valentines!! xxx

    • Sarah

      Hello Eileen,I have for the past four weeks started to get very painful legs. My shines and calves have bad shorting pains. The pains are disturbing my sleep, and making it difficult at work. Also the hot flashes seem to have ramped up again, especially in the evening and during the night. I do take sage and a supplement that has magnesium in for menopause symptoms.I have read about magnesium leg rubs. Is it OK to use this has well. As I have read that too much magnesium can have an laxative affect? Not sure why this has happened, the painful legs and the flushes happening more regular. I would appreciate your feedback.

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