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February 13, 2007 > When Taking Time for You is the Right Thing to Do

When Taking Time for You is the Right Thing to Do

Women's Group Provides Comfortable Environment for Sharing

Most women have more than their fair share of responsibilities each day. From a full-time job to full-time parenting, it's easy to forget or put off personal time. And for women approaching or going through the stage of life often known as mid-life transition or menopause, there simply hasn't been a great deal of social or emotional support available. Until now.
Washington Hospital's brand new Women's Center offers an informal class and discussion group, called Mid Life Transitions, that is exclusively for women that are entering a new phase of life and just want a comfortable place to share their experiences.
The group meets the third Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Washington Women's Center Conference Room, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Washington West, First Floor in Suite 145. Registration is not required. Anyone can drop by.
Clinically speaking, menopause is defined as absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. The transition into menopause begins with varying menstrual cycle length and ends with the final menstrual period when the function of the ovaries ceases.
As women's lives become busier and they have less time for themselves, it's vital for them to seek out emotional support from other women and share their experiences, according to Kathy Hesser, R.N., the Women's Center Coordinator.
"Culturally I think we've changed," she explains. "Before World War II, when most women didn't work, they met with other women to sew, to make a quilt, to do canning - with sisters or their mom or friends - and while they were informally meeting, they were chatting. Today, women work, we have children later, we take care of our parents. And oftentimes, we don't have that chat time with other women, that time to let our hair down, to remember that 'I'm not just whining' when you talk about your feelings and what you're going through."
Hesser, who facilitates the meetings, says there is no age requirement for joining the group. It's simply a place for women to come talk to one another as a way to release tensions and share experiences.
"A lot of women don't have a place to meet other women and just talk or discuss," she notes. "They may not be a member of a church or hobby group, a place where they can just share."
"Most groups for women," Hesser comments, "are generally geared for women with young children, but the years after child rearing are just as important and may offer women new opportunities."
"You received lots of support in your child bearing years," Hesser continues. "Menopause is just another change. Part of it is just being confident and saying, 'I'm going to do these things for me. I'm going to take some "me" time.' It's a time when women really start to look more closely and examine their lives. Sometimes just meeting other women and talking about what you're proud of, celebrating yourself as a mature woman can be empowering."
Women transitioning into menopause often experience a host of symptoms they have never before experienced. Speakers at the group will focus on topics relevant to women going through these symptoms and provide valid information about treating or coping with many of them.
"A loss of estrogen affects our bodies in many different ways," Hesser says. "Some women may find themselves getting angry when they've been so patient all their lives. You can have trouble sleeping. You might be dealing with hot flashes. Menopause really does affect the body. This whole mid life thing is really a big change."
While the group is still in its first stages, Hesser is gathering feedback from participants to see what types of topics they would most like to hear about during future meetings.
"This early time when we're first meeting is a time to come and give us the ideas for where you would like to see the group going; this is your chance to be part of the group's foundation," she says.
To find out more about the group or to offer suggestions, contact Hesser at (510) 608-1356.
The new Women's Center also offers Lunch and Learn, brief educational sessions on a variety of women's health topics. To see a full list of upcoming topics, visit www.whhs.com, click on "Services & Programs," choose "Women's Health" from the drop-down menu and select "Wellness Classes & Services."


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Time for You

What: Mid Life Transitions group
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month
Next meeting takes place on Tuesday, February 20.
Where: Washington Women's Center Conference Room, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Washington West, First Floor - Suite 145.
Registration: Not required. Walk-ins welcome.

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OPTIONAL BOX

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Bring Lunch, Learn about Women's Health

Heart to Heart
Thursday, February 22
Learn about the risk factors associated with heart disease for women. Short topic presented by a local cardiologist.

When: Two back-to-back 45-minute sessions offered the second Tuesday and fourth Thursday of the month from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Where: Washington Women's Center Conference Room, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Washington West, First Floor - Suite 145.

Afternoon Encore: Can't make a "Lunch and Learn" due to work schedule demands? These same topics will be offered again a the same location although speakers may vary of sessions may be viewed via video with a facilitator. Tea will be served.
When: Two 45-minute sessions offered the second Tuesday and fourth Thursday of the month from 2 to 2:45 p.m. and 3:45 to 4:30 p.m.

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