Health During Midlife

7 Tips – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For over 25 years, October has been designated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You’ll find races to run that raise funds for research. Stores will be selling everything from mixmasters to ipods in pink.

In fact, pink ribbons will be virtually everywhere. What does this focus on early detection and recovery mean to you?

If you are over 40, have regular screening mammograms and perform monthly breast self-exams. And see your physician for an annual breast exam and consultation about risk factors and additional diagnostic steps to take, such as MRI. With early detection, most breast cancers now can be successfully treated.

There are between 2 and 3 million American women living today who have survived breast cancer and are thriving. Yet, as many survivors have learned, the process of coping with any serious illness can take its toll – emotionally and physically. [Read More…]

The Perimenopausal Double Whammy

I became a mom, through adoption, at the age of 45.  I’ve been a mom now for a little over 4 years, which means I’m pushing 50.

Yikes and Yay!

I love being this age, even though I have a few more cricks and creaks in my body.  For the most part, I have a pretty level head, am grounded and comfortable in my skin.  Life is good with no major complaints.  There’s a bit more stress in my everyday world because we recently rescued a lovely dog, Pepper, so we’re all adjusting to the furry addition in our lives.  And, there’s an added layer of, well let me call it mishegas (Yiddish for crazy), in life due to entering the world of perimenopause. [Read More…]

8 Tips For Boomer Women To Better Enjoy Their Friendships

We can say without a doubt that intimate friendships have always been important to women. But have you noticed that they’ve become even more so as you face the transitions of children growing up and parents growing older?

Findings from a recent MacArthur Foundation Study indicate that the emotional security and social support that these relationships provide for women have been a survival strategy for them in adversity. In fact, friendship is one of the keys to a long and more satisfying life. [Read More…]

Maiden, Mother, Not Quite Crone

Maiden, Mother… Whoa-Not Quite Crone

Maiden, mother, cronePlanning to have a baby at 42 was, well, not in the plan.  It happened.  I thought I was in perimenopause, but alas, not so much.  My daughter was nine at the time and though we had tried while she was younger, it hadn’t happened and so we were a happy family of three.  I know for a fact that my son was supposed to come to me at age 42 even though I was not only unprepared, but more importantly, scared out of my wits.

Divine, Parental Intervention

I was 40 years old when we took my dad to live with us. We put an addition on the house.  I should have known it would turn into a metaphor.  Pops was great, but forgetful.  As an only child himself and then a father of eight, he had his own ideas about family.

“You know I was thinking kid, you might want to have another, being an only child is tough.”

And with that, my guilt would swell and I would clean the house. [Read More…]

The Highs and Lows of Contemplating Midlife Pregnancy

It’s time. You feel ready for this. You feel secure in your career, your financial situation, your relationships, and your place in life, and now you are ready to get pregnant and start your family. If you are a woman over the age of 35 and feel like you are in the prime of your life, you may be surprised to find that the maternity medical establishment may not view you in the same light. [Read More…]

A Mid-Life’s Summer Night

sleepIt’s 10:30 p.m. The kitchen is cleaned, and the family room picked up. They are both ready for tomorrow’s life of meals, random newspaper circulars, and at least a dozen water glasses left half full lying around both rooms.

The dog, Louie, has been put out for the evening. We both climb the stairs to finally to go to sleep. My husband, already snoring peacefully, has his earphones on and plugged into his Ipad that is now flopped haphazardly onto his stomach. As Louie jumps onto the bed, I prepare my nightly ritual for sleep.

“Boy, it’s so hot in here.” I lower the thermostat before changing into my pajamas. I stare into my closet, trying to conjure an outfit I will wear to work tomorrow. Then, off to the bathroom I plod for the beauty regimen. Teeth brushed and flossed—check. Contacts out, eye make-up off, face washed—check. [Read More…]

Happy First Year to My Twinsies

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I’m exhausted.  I am sitting here surrounded by birthday presents, picking pieces of Gigglebellies carrot cake out of my hair, feet aching from an afternoon of running around, stomach rumbling because I forgot to eat and two 1 year olds safely tucked away in their cribs.  All in all, the first year birthday party was a complete success.  The guests enjoyed themselves and we survived.  The day wasn’t without its hiccups, but much like this first year, it has ended beautifully.

I honestly think part of my exhaustion this day is the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on these past several weeks remembering the journey that began one year and nine months ago.  It was then we learned our surrogate, Jess, was pregnant with our twins.   The absolute profoundness of our experiences, since we found out, makes me heady; weepy and excited, melancholy and cheerful – but totally intoxicated in awe and wonder! [Read More…]

Comfort Food

comfort foodWhen I told a friend, a fellow American, that our family was moving to Canada from Japan, she exclaimed immediately, “Oh—they have a kind of cookie there that I like very much!”

This amused me, and then I thought later that this is also how I most often recall places I have been but do not know well.

In England, a savory pastry that you can eat with your hands as you walk through the park, trailing crumbs for gray pigeons. In France, pungent red wine (legally!) sipped from a glass in a restaurant when I was barely 12 years old. In Mexico, cheese curds—soft and fresh and salty. In Thailand, a coconut curry.

[Read More…]

Little Kids, Big Summer

Andrea Lynn's kidsSummer beckons, and it feels like we are making the great leap this year from the familiar to the unknown. Claire’s leaving kindergarten behind and heading to Grade 1 in September, and Anna is leaving preschool and heading for kindergarten. The summer represents the gulf between the old and the new, the last vestige of Little Kid Land before they are in school every day all day for, oh, the rest of their lives.

I suppose I’m nostalgic, but right now it feels great. Leaving the daycare (and the fees, oh the fees!) behind. Good-bye to the arcane rules of preschool, the push-pull of teachers who reject last season’s sunscreen and Anna’s favourite crocs, who dictate which cupcakes are acceptable and what toys are not allowed at Show and Tell. I know one day I’ll look back with great fondness and nostalgia, but right now I’m ready for it all to be done. I’m eager to ease up a little on the very cautious approach to early childhood education and embrace the chaos that is elementary school. [Read More…]

Finding Compassion in Motherhood

Lora's breastfeedingWhen I held my son in my arms for the first time, awe welled up within me as I gazed into his liquid, soulful his eyes. He returned my gaze, wailing to me just how difficult his journey had been, how shocking this moment was to him. I have never been so fully present a witness to someone’s story as I was at that moment.

As a new mother, I wanted to be that present to him every moment of his life to come. I was in my late 30s, educated, a Buddhist meditation practitioner and in recovery from a massively abusive childhood. I would be everything my mother was not able to be most of my childhood: present both physically and emotionally. I would give him the experience of having a parent witness his experiences with so much love that he would grow up to be deeply connected to himself and to others, trusting that the world is a safe place. [Read More…]

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