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Long Live Grandmothers

Long Live Grandmothers.jpg

Even in the throes of a hot flash, I've never really given much thought to the evolutionary purpose of menopause, but it seems that scientists are as mystified by it as they have been about the female orgasm.[1]I didn't know this, but other than humans, two species of whale are the only other animals whose females undergo menopause. Weird, right? A recent study [2] at UC Berkeley reinforces a theory that the key to menopause lies with grandmothers. Historically, childbirth was the number one killer of women. By undergoing menopause, older women were spared that particular cause of death, but were also around to help their daughters with childbirth and newborn childcare, and without producing more children of their own to compete for food and resources. Not only were their daughters more likely to live, but also their grandchildren, which provided a double whammy of insurance that their genes would be passed down to future generations.  

My kids don't start back to school until next week, and as I write this, they are at their grandparents so I can get some work done. While my mother didn't help me give birth (and thank goodness for that), she does a lot to help me out with the kids, which enables me to work and maintain a modicum of sanity. I look forward to helping out my own kids with theirs, and while I could live without the hot flashes, I am thankful to be just about done with having to worry to about pregnancy. Hallelujah! From now on I will try to remember that menopause is there to keep me here and for that I am truly grateful.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/01/mystery-of-the-female-orgasm-may-be-solved

[2] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/grandmothers-carry-the-key-to-menopause-ucla-berkeley-study/news-story/bf0af354deb339d195f0337c67715a0c

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Topics: menopause family grandmothers

Written by Fiera

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