Book Title: Live Your Best Life
Author: Dr Amrinder Bajaj
Hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, heavy bleeding, sudden weight gain and other uncomfortable symptoms often herald menopause, the dreaded but inevitable phase in every woman’s life. Educating oneself on the possible body and mind changes can help a woman mentally prepare herself and make the process less traumatic. ‘Live Your Best Life’ is a how-to book to support women transitioning from the state of perimenopause to post-menopause as seamlessly as possible.
As with any other painful or embarrassing issue, solidarity with a community is paramount. The author introduces three women: Mona, a corporate leader; Meera, a homemaker; and Sheila, a school principal. The three are in various stages of menopause, and with the encouragement of a sympathetic doctor friend, they prop each other up. Based on the author herself, the good Dr Rosy informs and advises them to understand and manage their individual symptoms and support each other through the sudden meltdowns and unavoidable changes.
Bajaj has endeavoured to convert the formidable ‘menopause’ into ‘me-no-pause’, which she says is an exciting phase in women’s reproductive cycles. After menopause, they are freed from the stage of childbearing and rearing, are usually financially independent, and can reclaim their lives.
It can, however, be a trying time. The symptoms vary from woman to woman and should be addressed if a counsellor or doctor is consulted. While some women go through extreme symptoms that might require medical intervention, most experience at least a few signs. Bajaj addresses the physical, emotional and psychological symptoms in a breezy yet thoughtful way.
Many women are uncomfortable and embarrassed to discuss the symptoms and feelings of inferiority, and by not acknowledging them, they suffer silently too. By including three dissimilar women — walking friends — in the book, Bajaj universalises menopause, indicating that every woman, whatever her circumstances, is united in a shared experience. Mona, Meera and Sheila are disparate in their occupations, thoughts, and lives, yet they form a community to support each other.
The author shares exciting vignettes and unique problems of their lives. Weaving lessons on menopause with their life experiences significantly reduces the academic nature of the book. She also talks about sex, contraception and pleasure. She discusses increased instances of coronary artery disease and psychological changes such as forgetfulness, depression, fatigue and headaches. She recommends frequent mammograms, clinical breast examinations and cancer prevention through HVP and regular PAP smear tests.
The book also tackles myths and facts related to menopause, suggestions related to diet, exercise, regular checkups, medication and supplements. The author makes helpful suggestions regarding lifestyle changes for managing bothersome menopause symptoms. Most of all, she stresses on the importance of having sensitive partners, supportive friends, and, if required, the counsel of a doctor.
The book is cheerful and optimistic, attempting to transform the fear of menopause into treating it as another phase of life that women can enjoy without inhibitions. “Menopause,” she says, “is the end of menstruation, not the end of the world.”