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Dr. Gaudet: Perimenopause-Awareness Plan

Perimenopause need not bring fear or loathing. Look at it as an opportunity to redefine your life. Here, Dr. Tracy Gaudet offers three steps to confronting -- and embracing -- this milestone.

Come to terms with your feelings.
Reflect on your preconceived notions about life after menopause. What are your greatest fears about this time in life? Your greatest hopes? Do you see yourself as "old and dry" or powerful and in your prime?

Reflect on your reproductive history.
Did you have children? Did you not? Either way, was this a conscious choice, or did it just "happen"? Did you have a miscarriage? Did you have an abortion? How did these things affect you? This exercise may prompt some women to try to conceive or look into adoption -- but for most it's simply a time to acknowledge this phase of life. As always, this exercise is not about judging yourself, but about loving yourself and honoring your history.

Create your vision.
Think about all of the parts of your life -- your family, your career, your friendships, your community. What parts are working for you, and what parts are challenging? What are you passionate about? This could be a cause, a practice, a hobby, a place -- anything. Is there anything you've always wanted to do that seemed impossible? Write about these things in your journal. Then envision your future -- take 20 minutes and write, stream of consciousness, about where you'd like to put your energy, how you want to spend your days, and who you want to be.

Read more about menopause from Dr. Tracy Gaudet