The InterNational Organization to Reclaim Menopause (INORM) was founded to counter the on-going attempts to medicalize menopause and to reclaim menopause as a natural, health enhancing process universal to women. Proponents of the medical model of menopause are well-organized and heavily funded while proponents of the health model are much less so. Since attempts to medicalize menopause have taken on a global dimension, reclaiming menopause requires concerned people from all parts of the world and from all walks of life to organize against the medicalization of midlife and older women’s bodies.
If you agree with the need to reclaim menopause, you can educate yourself by getting information from a wide variety of sources. You can talk to your friends, family and your health care provider about the on-going attempts to medicalize menopause and provide information to them about the health perspective. You can organize discussion groups or talks in your community. You can contribute articles, make suggestions, and provide feedback to INORM. You can let others know that you want to be part of this international effort by providing your name, your country, perhaps a short bio, and a way to make contact (e-mail is easiest but use whatever is best for you) to the INORM cyber community so that others may more easily connect with you, and you with them.
About the owner of the INORM web site:
My name is Vicki Meyer. The reason I have been so motivated to open this web site goes back to my experiences as a young woman. In the 1960’s, when I was having my babies, I knew something was terribly wrong with the many ways I and other women were treated during the birthing process. Our needs were ignored; we were even denied comfort and support from our partners simply because the medical profession thought it was unwise for them to be with us. Eventually some women began to organize and demand changes. As a response to these demands, some positive changes were made in hospital procedures. The medical profession, however, retained control over the birthing process and implemented other changes leading to further medicalization of childbirth.
In spite of the fact that articles appearing in mainstream medical journals show the ineffectiveness of many current medical interventions during childbirth, and sometimes even the damage done by such interventions, this information has not been made directly available to women. Classes providing information about pregnancy and the childbirth experience are primarily given in hospitals by medical personnel. During these classes, women are taught to accept these intrusive medical interventions for “the good of their babies.”
Pregnant and birthing women continue to be regarded as patients in need of treatment rather than as givers of life. Most women in the United States (far more than in most other countries) have accepted the medicalization of childbirth. We have lost trust in our bodies to give birth naturally without the “help” of the medical profession.
As a midlife woman I am experiencing some of the same kinds of frustrations that I did as a woman giving birth. In fact, the parallels are striking. Once again, I find myself regarded by the medical profession as a patient in need of treatment. I have been encouraged to view the end of my reproductive years as a negative change that, if left untreated, will jeopardize my health.
In spite of the fact that articles appearing in mainstream medical journals question the wide-spread prescribing of hormones to healthy midlife and older women, this information is not being given directly to women themselves. Classes and lectures providing information about menopause are typically given in hospitals and community centers by medical personnel encouraging us to be compliant with medical advice “for our own good”. As women, we are losing trust in our ability to simply move from one phase of our lives to the next; from our reproductive to our post-reproductive years. Just as most of us have accepted the medicalization of childbirth, we are beginning to accept the medicalization of menopause.
My formal education includes earning a Ph.D. in Community Health Education from Texas Woman’s University in 1988. I have been teaching women’s health classes at the university level for the last 12 years and classes in menopause at the community level for the last 8. My informal education includes all of my experiences living in a country (the United States) which has become the infamous world leader in the medicalization of women’s bodies.