How to support / encourage my wife in Menopause - asking how I can help hasn't been great.

2021.12.02 12:49 drdaltony75 How to support / encourage my wife in Menopause - asking how I can help hasn't been great.

TLDR: Lots of health and family challenges leading during 5-6 years prior to surgery induced menopause for my wife. Doing all I can to be supportive. She doesn't communicate much about her needs. What more could I do? Open to any advice or critique.
There are lots of things going on as well as Menopause. Im a 52 M, she's a 48 F. Quick list

  1. History of abuse as a child - physical, emotional, sexual - that her mother still denies. Same areas of abuse in her first marriage including marital rape by her ex-husband (divorced from him in 2003)
  2. We got married in late 2003, I was able to adopt her son and daughter in 2006. We have 2 additional younger children.
  3. Our older daughter attempted suicide multiple times, assaulted my wife and i multiple times, taken by police multiple times between, more than 10 stays in self harm short term stabilization care between 2012 and 2015
  4. Partial hysterectomy in 2015
  5. Rapid onset of primary progressive MS in 2016. Move to Phoenix for ongoing treatment / diagnosis at Mayo Clinic Phoenix campus
  6. Breast cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, double mastectomy, reconstruction. Declared cancer free in 2017
    1. warning signs of cancer from the now banned implants used 2018
      1. removal of implants, reconstruction by Diep flap procedure, additional surgery to address complications, begin 2 year recovery process
  7. Move to OK related to the significant illnesses and impending death of 2 older family members 2018
  8. Return to Phoenix January 2021
  9. Ovaries removed June 2021 due to pain, cysts, concerns about high risk of cancer return in the ovaries.
We are not fanatical about the foods we eat. We both drink a lot of water. She exercises most days in our However, very conscious about what we eat. She drinks a glass of wine or two each night. Prior to menopause she would typically walk/run 30-40 mins each day.
She continues to home-school our younger daughter and is finding new ways to keep it fun for them both.
I'm handling most of the chores, meals, errands etc primarily at her request.
I give her a lot of space and time to do what she wants to do. I'm as responsive as I can be if/when she needs something from me. The only blockers are work commitments that I can't move around.
I clearly understand that in addition to the "per-existing" items, that her body and hormones have been hijacked on another front.
I can usually tell when she's struggling or emotionally down, frustrated, or physically hurting.
When ask what I can do to help ("It looks like you may be feeling XYZ, can I do something to help?") I get a range of responses from shaking her head to a blow up. Sometimes she comments that she feels attacked, then last night she said thank you for all I am doing - that was great. She hasn't said something like that since well before her surgery in June.
Things I am not doing
- Trying to initiate sex
- Trying to give physical affection of any kind (comments that it feels like an attack - event the gentlest touches). A kiss on the forehead seems to be all that she can enjoy.
I'm open to any feedback, advice, or critique.
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Working four days a week on semi interesting work would be a life changer.
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