As if menopause weren’t disruptive enough, many women are simultaneously experiencing their daughter’s puberty. Talk about a tsunami.

Although there is not a term to describe this phase of life, it is similar to menstrual synchrony – when women’s menstrual cycles sync up during periods of close proximity. If you’ve ever realized your cycle matched your roommate’s or a colleague’s, you may have experienced this rather rare, unexplained phenomena. While a substantial amount of anecdotal evidence exists, the science on menstrual synchrony remains murky. I experienced menstrual synchrony with a few colleagues with whom I performed physical tasks vs. those with whom I had less casual interactions. The experience was something we considered coincidental and somewhat funny, albeit inconvenient. However, when my daughter began going through puberty and I was hovering between peri and full menopause, it was something different altogether. Sadly, it took me awhile to realize why we were clashing even more than I thought we would.

If you find yourself in similarly stormy seas, try to take a step back and recognize where each of you are in the life cycle. I think not realizing where I was in my journey through menopause made our transition more difficult. My “wake-up call” came from an aunt who shared her experience raising two daughters. She described the emotional outbursts and upheavals as both of them learning to say goodbye. That description really stuck with me as I continued on the path with my daughter. I knew I was leaving one stage of myself and entering another that was demanding more self-care than I thought I had time for. My daughter (and other family members) needed support and attention that I often felt incapable of giving to her; it was very draining and disappointing. This was not how I wanted either of us to experience this crucial time in her life. Finally, I found a midlife wellness practitioner who developed a self-care plan that alleviated many of my symptoms – fatigue, insomnia (always a major influence for me), and mood swings. That seems to be the key: address the symptoms you feel are critical to your well-being.

For my daughter’s sake, I re-educated myself on adolescence, mainly through the aptly titled Get Out of My Life: But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall? by Anthony E. Wolf. As is true of many other child-rearing stages, other moms can be a great source of support and insider advice. Friends with teens a few years older were most helpful to me; they reassured me I’d see a glimpse of my former daughter after she turned 12 and got through sixth grade. Gradually, I re-learned puberty is a time for young girls to learn to take care of themselves emotionally and physically. Similarly, menopause is a phase for adult women to do the same for themselves. The trouble is, that can be problematic for those closest to us as well as ourselves. If your menopausal symptoms are interfering with your daily life and damaging your relationships, perhaps it is time to seek relief. There are many reliable sources of information, including, The North American Menopause Society’s The Menopause Guidebook (2012), and Christiane Northrup’s The Wisdom of Menopause.

About This Blogger: Kathy Stump

Kathy Stump writes from her home in Parkville, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City. For the last two decades, she’s been raising two children, freelance writing, proofreading, and tutoring young readers. Local and regional magazines feature her articles on travel, historic sites, nutrition, and parenting. She’s also reviewed books for Kirkus Reviews and written academic essays for Anaxos, Inc. Reading, walking, and yoga are her favorite pastimes. In her previous life (before kids), Ms. Stump was a museum curator. She studied art history and historic preservation at Mary Washington University and holds a Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies and American Civilization from George Washington University.