Mastering Menopause

Women's Voices on Taking Charge of the Change

by Deborah M. Merrill


In the United States, approximately 1.3 million women become menopausal each year.

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Cover image for Mastering Menopause

December 2019


Pages 194
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Health & Wellness/General

Interviews with and case studies of women in the U.S., accompanied by research in this text, show how our perceptions, thoughts, and spiritual practices can help women through menopause without drugs and their potential side effects.

More and more women today are seeking natural ways to cope with menopause, including through mindfulness techniques and Eastern practices such as meditation. Women of various races, ages, and socioeconomic status interviewed at length for this study explain their experiences, victories, and setbacks in their quests to overcome this natural but body- and brain-altering change.

Complementing findings from her research with wider outside research, author Deborah Merrill explains how popular culture depictions, race, class, and education all alter women's perceptions of the meaning of menopause, and how those perceptions can complicate, exacerbate, or alleviate physical and psychological symptoms. She details the "medical view" that views menopause as a problem to be solved, rather than as a natural event. And, through women's words and case studies, she details psychospiritual approaches many are adopting to cope, instead of seeking potentially harmful medicines. Readers will find new insights, wisdom, and potential solutions in the array of voices, experiences, and paths taken and presented in this book.


  • Includes interviews with women of various races, socioeconomic statuses, and ages
  • Addresses the social meaning of menopause and portrayals in popular culture
  • Discusses how some women are turning to lifestyle and diet changes, as well as Eastern practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to cope with menopause
  • Includes appendices of meditations, dialogues, and resources
Author Info

Deborah M. Merrill, PhD, is professor of sociology, past associate dean, chair of the faculty, and chair of the steering committee at Clark University. She teaches courses on families, medicine, aging, and methods. Before launching her teaching career, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research. She is author of four previous books on later life families and intergenerational relationships, including Mothers-in-Law and Daughters-in-Law: Understanding the Relationship and What Makes Them Friends or Foe (Praeger, 2007) and When Your Children Marry: How Marriage Changes Relationships with Sons and Daughters (2011).



In this book, Deborah Merrill investigates and explores the meaning of menopause in the lives of real women. Drawing on stories of women who have recently transitioned through menopause, and in scientific studies, the author discovers that the women in her study revisit relational traumas, emotional difficulties and disappointments as they move through the physical and mental symptoms. Exploring both the social and the individual constructions of meaning, as well as the relational implications of menopause, Dr. Merrill shows conclusively that practices of mindfulness and loving-kindness, when they are regularly used, permit women to work effectively with their limitations, suffering, and pain during this major life transition. If you have wondered how/why mindfulness might help women with the natural stresses of aging, this book is for you. —Polly Young-Eisendrath
Jungian Psychoanalyst and Mindfulness Teacher
Author of Love Between Equals

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