Grandmothers’ Voices: Mi’kmaq Women’s Vision of Mid-Life Change



There is a relative lack of Aboriginal women’s voices in past and current literature related to mid-life health and menopause. Yet, as a determinant of health, socio-political structures and culture represent important influences of women’s mid-life and menopausal experiences. The purpose of this naturalistic inquiry was to explore the lived experiences of mid-life Mi’kmaq women. The research followed a participatory model and addressed ethical issues related to ownership, control, access, and possession. Fortytwo Mi’kmaq women from five First Nation communities participated in six group discussions about their perceptions and experiences of mid-life change. Qualitative data were analyzed through the Atlas ti program and themes were sought through an inductive process. Findings revealed that these Aboriginal women’s mid-life vision encompasses an evolving perspective of life, self, and the peri-menopausal transition. This vision is informed by past generations, by women’s life experiences, and by the limited resources available to Aboriginal women. Interpretation of the findings was based on the unique cultural, historical, socio-political, and medical contexts within which Aboriginal women experience mid-life health and menopausal change. Barriers and opportunities for achieving optimal health are created through these multi-dimensionalcontexts. I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all of the wise grandmothers who shared their stories with me. Their contribution to our learning about mid-life health and menopause is immeasurable.

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