Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

by Patricia Yarberry Allen, MD

Laura Sillerman wrote movingly last month of taking “The Plunge” in icy waters off Long Island. Taking the plunge is a great description of how women over 40 can just dive right into the other half of life: the New Menopause, the half that is filled with wisdom and attitude — and that of course comes with struggles, as all great things do.

There are so many of us in this age. We can harness our collective energy to support the new initiates in our community and to give voice to the joys of this time: the self respect, the sense of self worth and the self esteem that we have earned.

We can share the knowledge that SEX does not belong to the young who may DO it a lot, but often do not connect in an intimate and sensual way with partners who are finally ready to listen to us — since we are often freed by age to speak our minds.

We can lead the way in matters of health for ourselves and our country. We must plunge into the social crises of our age, our gender, our country and our world. These are not words of hubris. If not now, when? If not us, who else?

On Nov. 21, 2005, 400 brave women took the plunge to be part of a great New York piece of performance art. We were the face of the New Menopause. We were beautiful; we were brave. We raised money to find ways to give voice to the invisible women over 40. We knew that we could change the negative perceptions of this dynamic word — menopause — only with education, advocacy and our shared voices.

We took the plunge when we chose to create six weeks ago. Most of us have powerful editors in our brains who scold us mercilessly when we write about our lives, but we have courageously moved on, writing to present ourselves to those who have not been able to know us because they have been blinded by stereotypes and bias, prejudice and fear.

As we enter 2007, I envision a year filled with truth and activism — and a year when all our voices are heard.

Write for WVFC in 2007! Click here for more information.

Patricia Yarberry Allen, director of the New York Menopause Center, is a gynecologist affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital and is on the board of Women’s Voices for Change.

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