"In The Middlepause Benjamin deftly and brilliantly examines the losses and unexpected gains she experienced in menopause. Menopause is a mind and body shift as monumental and universal as puberty, yet far less often discussed, especially in public, which is what makes Benjamin's work here so urgently necessary." —Kate Tuttle, The Los Angeles Times The Middlepause offers a vision of contentment in middle age, without sentiment or delusion. Marina Benjamin weighs the losses and opportunities of our middle years, taking inspiration from literature, science, philosophy, and her own experience. Spurred by her surgical propulsion into a sudden menopause, she finds ways to move forward while maintaining clear–eyed acknowledgment of the challenges of aging. Attending to complicated elderly parents and a teenaged daughter, experiencing bereavement, her own health woes, and a fresh impetus to give, Benjamin emerges into a new definition of herself as daughter, mother, citizen, and woman. Among The Middlepause's many wise observations about no longer being young: ""I am discovering that I care less about what other people think."" ""My needs are leaner and my storehouse fuller."" ""It is not possible to fully appreciate what it means to age without attending to what the body knows. . . . I have always had a knee–jerk distaste for the idea that age is all in the mind."" ""You need a cohort of peers to go through the aging process with you. A cackle of crones! A cavalry!"" Marina Benjamin's memoir will serve as a comfort, a companion to women going through the too–seldom–spoken of physical and mental changes in middle age and beyond.
The seminal, ground-breaking and controversial feminist text on the menopause, revised and updated When The Change was published in 1991, 'menopause' was a word of fear. Then, as now, expensive magazines advertised even more expensive anti-ageing preparations, none of which worked. Big pharma was pushing replacement hormones, but doctors were dragging their feet. Some women told horror stories of their experiences with replacement hormones; others called them lifesavers. Nobody knew why some women went through this change of life without difficulty. What was working for them, when other women were tormented almost to madness? It seemed that we were close to an answer to that question, but that was before large-scale studies revealed that the protective effects of hormone replacement had been vastly exaggerated; given the perceived increase in the risk of life-threatening disease, the studies had to be called off. Now more than ever, amid the clamour of online chatrooms and promotions for a vast array of alternative therapies, the individual woman has to manage her passage through menopause for herself. In The Change, Germaine Greer provides a common-sense guide to a very interesting and important stage of women's lives.
When Nina Collins entered her forties she found herself awash in a sea of hormones. As symptoms of perimenopause set in, she began to fear losing her health, looks, sexuality, sense of humor-perhaps all at once. Craving a place to discuss her questions and concerns, and finding none, Nina started a Facebook group with the ironic name, "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?," which has grown exponentially into a place where women-most with strong opinions and fierce senses of humor--have surprisingly candid, lively, and intimate conversations. Mid-life is a time when women want to think about purpose, about how to be their best selves, and how to love themselves as they enter the second half of life. They yearn to acknowledge the nostalgia and sadness that comes with aging, but also want to revel in their hard-earned wisdom. Part memoir and part resource on everything from fashion and skincare to sex and surviving the empty nest, What Would Virginia Woolf Do? is a frank and intimate conversation mixed with anecdotes and honesty, wrapped up in a literary joke. It's also a destination, a place where readers can nestle in and see what happens when women feel comfortable enough to get real with each other: defy the shame that the culture often throws their way, find solace and laugh out loud, and revel in this new phase of life.
“An insomniac’s ideal sleep aid—and that’s a compliment. With her collage of ruminations about sleeplessness, [Benjamin] promises no real cure . . . Her slim book is what the doctor ordered.”—The Atlantic Insomnia is on the rise. Villainous and unforgiving, it’s the enemy o f energy and focus, the thief of our repose. But can insomnia be an ally, too, a validator of the present moment, of edginess and creativity? Marina Benjamin takes on her personal experience of the condition—her struggles with it, her insomniac highs, and her dawning awareness that states of sleeplessness grant us valuable insights into the workings of our unconscious minds. Although insomnia is rarely entirely welcome, Benjamin treats it less as an affliction than as an encounter that she engages with and plumbs. She adds new dimensions to both our understanding of sleep (and going without it) and of night, and how we perceive darkness. Along the way, Insomnia trips through illuminating material from literature, art, philosophy, psychology, pop culture, and more. Benjamin pays particular attention to the relationship between women and sleep—Penelope up all night, unraveling her day’s weaving for Odysseus; the Pre–Raphaelite artists’ depictions of deeply sleeping women; and the worries that keep contemporary females awake. Insomnia is an intense, lyrical, witty, and humane exploration of a state we too often consider only superficially. “This is the song of insomnia, and I shall sing it,” Marina Benjamin declares.
'If you're a woman over 40, ever going to be a woman over 40 or you've ever met a woman over 40 you should read this book' JANE FALLON 'I NEED this book. We ALL need this book! If menopause happened to men, there would be CELEBRATIONS and parties every time one of them completed their change.' MARIAN KEYES 'A compelling voice within [the menopause] movement' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'Funny, frank and empowering... a vital book for any woman who is at the beginning of her radicalisation journey, looking at her life and finally piecing together the personal and the political.' THE OBSERVER 'Sam Baker is rewriting the narrative around menopause' WOMAN & HOME 'A rollicking read' MAIL ON SUNDAY 'I loved it.. blazingly hopeful and beautifully written. This book is meant to be mainlined.' LISA TADDEO 'This gem is a guide to navigating your 40s and 50s and just generally being yourself. ... joyful, positive, and goes to ALL the places. Highly recommended.' JOJO MOYES The essential manifesto for any woman staring the second half of their lives in the face and wondering, WTF is going on? * Invisible to society now you're past child-bearing age? * Tired of being disregarded, overlooked and underestimated? * Wondering what the hell is happening to your body, mind and internal thermostat? Women over forty are the most ignored demographic in society. And yet this is the time when you are likely to have the most freedom, power, confidence and self knowledge than ever before. Some serious life has been lived: there have been great loves, heartbreaks, births, marriages, careers, betrayals, bereavements and survival. So what now? What happens when the narrative given to you by society - husband, babies, house - runs out and you become storyless? Including chapters on menopause, sex, culture, work, rage and freedom, writer and journalist Sam Baker shares her experiences of life post 40 and shows how women to create their own story. This needn't herald the era of loose clothing and hair dye; or hot flashes and bad sleep (though there is that too). It's time women north of 40 took a leaf out of the millennial handbook and reinvented things our way. Sam hosts a podcast of the same name, now with over 50 thousand downloads. Harness your energy, opinions and power and create a liberating new narrative for the second half of life. 'I am so glad The Shift exists. Sam's writing is a wonderful generous mixture of no-bullsh*t and a comforting hug. I'll be passing this book on to many women I know and love.' EMMA GANNON 'brilliant - powerful, brimming with integrity, inspiring, the politics of anger and what it means when we refuse to be invisible. Every woman (whatever her age) should buy, borrow, lend a copy' KATE MOSSE 'This is such a painfully beautiful look at the menopause in all its complexity. As honest as it is insightful, this is the first book I've read about later womanhood that exchanges shame and fear for truth and celebration... does for 40-something women what the honest parenting movement did for mothers.' ANNA WHITEHOUSE, founder, Mother Pukka 'great pace and feisty content. It will be a great help to women to see their lives mirrored and not feel like they are going mad... bold and funny.' CARYN FRANKLIN '[Sam] tackles the menopause with her customary wit and wisdom' i PAPER 'Honest and witter account of life post-40. Makes for essential reading at any age.' - KATE WILLS, FABULOUS MAGAZINE 'Insightful, thoughtful, inspirational - impressive work.' - VICTORIA DERBYSHIRE
A disquieting everyday world of make-believe as roles and performances are explored in Jo Mazelis’ darkly gothic new collection, Ritual, 1969. What might a little girl be made of? Sugar and spice? And when she grows up? A dressmaker, teacher, flower-maker, actress? Or should she run away to the circus? From the playground to adulthood the path is beset with misunderstandings and missed dates, traps for the unwary and disingenuous dissembling. Not all is what it seems in a world where first impressions may only uncover disguises and false trails - but there’s no going back! A thrilling third collection from the author of Jerwood-award-winning novel Significance and Commonwealth Best First Book Award shortlisted Diving Girls.
Roughly 68 million North American women currently grapple with the challenges of midlife, faced with a culture that tells them their “best-before date” has long passed. In Navigating the Messy Middle, Ann Douglas pushes back against this toxic narrative, providing a fierce and unapologetic book for and about midlife women. In this deeply validating and encouraging book, Douglas interviews well over one hundred women of different backgrounds and identities, sharing their diverse conversations about the complex and intertwined issues that women must grapple with at midlife: from family responsibilities to career pivots, health concerns to building community. Readers will find a book that offers practical, evidence-based strategies for thriving at midlife, coupled with compelling first-person stories. Offering purpose and meaning in a life stage that can otherwise feel out of control, Douglas pushes back against the message that women at midlife are no longer relevant and needed, highlighting the far-reaching economic, political and social impacts of these messages and providing a refreshing counter-narrative that maps out a path forward for women at midlife. Both a midlife love letter and a lament, Navigating the Messy Middle both celebrates the beauty and rages at the many injustices of this life stage and provides readers with the tools to chart their own course.
'A wildly entertaining and necessary book' ELIZABETH DAY 'A must-read for every woman' JACQUELINE WILSON 'A laugh-out-loud, haunting and beautifully crafted manual' DREDA SAY MITCHELL ________ In her early twenties, Christie Watson was convinced she'd found her soulmate, in a glowing flash of light that turned out to be a tealight setting her quilt on fire. Twenty years later, her bed is burning once again... as she wakes in a perimenopausal sweat, night after night. This is the story of her journey through midlife: of the joy of letting go and the pain of the morning after, of the unstoppable power of female friendship and the struggle to raise teenagers as a single parent. It lays bare the exhilaration, agony, wonder and fears of being a middle-aged woman with a wild heart, a changing body and a new set of challenges. And as her world takes on a different shape, there's something else she starts to feel: the hot flush of possibility... 'Wickedly funny, deliciously candid and deeply moving' RACHEL CLARKE, author of Dear Life 'Give Quilt on Fire to your daughter, mother, sister, friends. A howlingly good midlife battle cry' JESS KIDD, author of Things in Jars 'Brilliant... Like having an honest conversation with a smart and funny friend' CATHY RENTZENBRINK, author of Dear Reader
The meaning of life is a common concern, but what is the meaning of midlife? With the help of illustrious writers such as Dante, Montaigne, Beauvoir, Goethe, and Beckett, The Midlife Mind sets out to answer this question. Erudite but engaging, it takes a personal approach to that most impersonal of processes, aging. From the ancients to the moderns, from poets to playwrights, writers have long meditated on how we can remain creative as we move through our middle years. There are no better guides, then, to how we have regarded middle age in the past, how we understand it in the present, and how we might make it as rewarding as possible in the future.
When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too? Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked. Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to “have it all,” Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, under-employed, and overwhelmed. Instead of their issues being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take “me-time,” or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order. In Why We Can’t Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X’s predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss—and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them.
Newly updated, The Empty Nest is an uplifting, practical and inspiring guide to adjusting to life after your children leave home. More than half a million parents confront the empty nest for the first time each year. It is one of the most challenging phases of parenting, often creating feelings of loss, lack of purpose and crisis of identity which can lead to depression. Yet it receives little recognition. And contrary to popular opinion it doesn't only affect women who've put their careers on hold: working mothers and fathers suffer too. Equally, it can be a period of liberation and discovery of new challenges, when marriages long overstressed by childcare can be rejuvenated. The Empty Nest includes case studies documenting a wide range of experiences of parents living through an empty nest; expert comment and advice; plenty of practical ideas, inspiration and tips. This encouraging, empowering books helps you to focus on the positive as well as how to handle the changing relationship with your children to ensure a fulfilling and good relationship going forward, an area of parenting often ignored.
Gray Matters: Finding Meaning in the Stories of Later Life examines films, literature, and art that focus on aging, often made by people who are over sixty-five. These texts are analyzed alongside recent gerontology research and extensive commentary from interviews and surveys of seniors to show how "stories" illuminate the dynamics of growing old by blending fact with imagination, giving a fuller picture of the aging process.