As we grow up, we tend to believe that our mothers are invincible. They are our caregivers, our confidantes, and our superheroes. However, as time passes, we begin to realize that our mothers are also aging. They are going through their own set of emotional and physical struggles that they don't always share with us. As a psychotherapist, I have seen countless mothers who suffer alone. Here are some things your aging mother might not be telling you.
Do you know what menopause is? It's not just the end of a woman's reproductive cycle. It's a phase that can bring about a host of physical and emotional changes that can last for years. From hot flashes to mood swings, the changes can be overwhelming. And yet, many mothers feel ashamed to talk about it with their children. If your mother is going through menopause, be there for her. Listen to her, empathize with her, and offer support.
Have you ever considered that your mother might have unmet needs? Sexual desires, for instance, are something that society rarely associates with older women. However, just because your mother has aged doesn't mean that she no longer has sexual desires. She might also feel that she has lost her sense of purpose, especially if she is retired or no longer able to do the things she once enjoyed. These feelings of unfulfillment can lead to loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Encourage your mother to explore new hobbies, find ways to stay active, and if possible, socialize with others.
Aging also brings physical ailments that can reduce your mother's capacity to do things she once enjoyed. For example, she might find it harder to climb stairs, walk long distances, or even do household chores. This can lead to frustration, irritability, and a sense of helplessness. Help your mother adapt to her new physical limitations. Encourage her to take things slow, ask for help when needed, and find new ways to stay active.
Empty nest syndrome is another common issue faced by many mothers. After dedicating their lives to raising children, many mothers feel lost and purposeless when their children move out. They might feel that they have no reason to wake up in the morning or that they have lost their identity. As a child, you can help your mother through this phase. Include her in your daily activities, encourage her to pursue her own interests, and give her space to make new friends.
Lastly, if you feel that your mother is struggling with the aging process, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Sometimes, mothers can feel ashamed or guilty about their emotions, which prevents them from seeking help. Let your mother know that it's okay to ask for help and that you support her in her journey towards emotional and mental well-being.
Above all, don't forget to appreciate your mother. Remember all that she has done for you over the years and be grateful for her presence in your life. Let her know that she is loved, valued, and respected. Make sure that she knows that she is not alone in her journey.
Aging can be a challenging phase of life, but it doesn't have to be a lonely one. As a child, you have the power to make a difference in your mother's life. So, reach out, listen, and be there for her. You'll be surprised at how much it can mean to her.