Have you talked with friends, siblings or co-workers about Parenting with ACEs while going through the change? Do you have any fascinating facts to share about how your OBGYN prepared or supported you when thrown by midlife, hormonal shifts and emotional residue from traumatic stress?
Me either. And it's a shame. A lot of people parent, go through menopause, and have survived a bunch of ACEs. Conversations and information shouldn't be so hard to find.
But they are. That's the reason we decided to host a chat on these topics with Carey Sipp who is a health writer, activist, and a mother who parented with ACEs through the change. Below, are quotes by Carey Sipp taken from this chat and articles related to menopause, menarche, midlife, and ACEs listed at the end.
About Carey Sipp
Carey Sipp is a health writer, parenting educator and trauma-informed communities advocate. She's the author of The TurnAround Mom: How an Abuse and Addiction Survivor Stopped the Toxic Cycle for Her Family and How You Can, Too! While the Parenting with ACEs chat transcript is archived, in full, online, you can find some selected quotes from the chat below.
Note: Carey is not a medical professional and nothing said is medical advice.
Menopause & ACEs & Parenting
“Menopause is the often-dreaded change of life when a woman stops having her menstrual period. It happens between the ages of 40 - 60 and is caused by the depletion of three key hormones. Women lose estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Their ovaries cease to send out an egg, and the menstrual period tapers off.”
“I know there are people who believe we “create our reality” and that much of feeling good is mind over matter. And there is truth to the fact that menopause can wreck your ability to get a good night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep is mission-critical, and finding ways to support yourself in getting your rest is vitally important.”
“I believe they can be especially challenging for those of us with a high ACE score, as we are already on full-alert, and losing progesterone, which is calming, and testosterone, which gives us energy and "strength" and to a degree, more courage, can be a challenge…”
“Menopause, certainly affects one's sleep. Not getting enough sleep can heighten PTSD type symptoms.”
“I realized many of us already have a distrust of our bodies. So these bizarre and rapid changes in menopause are all the more terrifying and alien.”
“Because here is another factor that hit me at the same time: I was going through menopause, caring for aging parents, working, parenting a 17-year-old daughter, and had a son away at college.”
“Men lose testosterone at the rate of about two percent a year, so it is like, as a doctor I interviewed said so eloquently, a slow leak in a swimming pool. They start losing testosterone at the age of 25, so by the time they are 50, they've lost about half of it.”
“And they wonder where their "get up and go" got up and went. So they try to substitute and often they turn to risky behaviors for excitement -- to gin up that magical adrenaline and CORTISOL.”
“And I believe that because there isn't more information about male menopause -- and its being a NORMAL PART OF AGING FOR MEN -- men are confused and baffled. And especially men with High ACE scores. Because men and women with high ACE scores are likely to blame themselves for EVERYTHING.”
“Rest: I have found it is crucial now to start preparing for a good night’s rest in the morning, by exercising daily. Exercise does so much to relieve tension, ease depression, improve brain function.”
"Social support, in general, and around menopause and physical and emotional changes of midlife. Midlife happening, maybe earlier, and while people are still parenting, caring for parents, working, etc."
“Rest, exercise, it is all critical. AND it is critical that you have a supportive team.”
Talking to Kids about ACEs & Menopause
“My children KNEW when I was stressed. I used to tell them that I was "putting myself in time out."
“I believe in being absolutely transparent with our children -- at an age -appropriate level -- about what's going on with our health. My kids know I am challenged by depression.”
“So we tell them that KNOWLEDGE is vitally important, and that with this knowledge we can take ACTIONS that will help us.”
We are the Authorities
“We as ACEs have to remember that "authorities" are NOT authorities on US. We have a hard time speaking up for ourselves, sometimes, and we need support to do that.”
“I will tell you something funny about an unsupportive team member I "fired. Having someone doubt what we are feeling in our bodies can certainly be a trigger. On a visit to or family psychiatrist, the doctor scoffed when I shared my menopause symptoms. He had a lot of guitars in his collection, part of which was in his office. As he proceeded to debunk my concerns about menopause — trouble sleeping, weepiness, irritability (probably due to lack of deep sleep). The thoughts of whacking him over the head with one of his beloved Gibsons became more and more appealing. I truly thought about reporting him to the AMA or NAMI or some such organization. Ultimately i told him that despite his godly powers as a psychiatrist, and his impressive diplomas, his denying menopause as a real biological change with physiological and psychological consequences was straight-up ignorant. We never went back to see him.”
Some Articles for Further Research
- Adverse childhood event experiences, fertility difficulties and menstrual cycle characteristics
- Remembrance of Things Past: the legacy of childhood sexual abuse in midlife women
- Childhood social hardships and fertility: a prospective cohort study,
- Childhood Abuse and Age at Menarche
- Childhood Maltreatment and Telomere Shortening: Preliminary Support for an Effect of Early Stress on Cellular Aging
- In Brief: Traumatic Events in Childhood and Adolescence Increase Risk for Premenopausal Depression
Resources Mentioned/Tried by those on the Chat (not medical advice)
- The Wisdom of Menopause (Revised Edition): Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change, by Christiane Northrup M.D.
- Unleash the Power of the Female Brain: Supercharging Yours for Better Health, Energy, Mood, Focus, Daniel G. Amen, M.D.
- T-Tapp exercise program
- If you know of other articles or resources, please share them in the comments. All Parenting with ACEs chats are archived online for future reference.