Responses To “The Loss of Femininity”
The response to the articles entitled The Loss of Femininity (July 3, July 10, 2009) has been overwhelming. There were so many women who identified with “Alice” as she felt less and less like a woman, as she was forced to take on traditional male roles in order to care for her husband. So many well spouses wrote to me expressing how they too no longer have the desire to dress up, wear makeup or even care for their health. Care giving has stolen everything from them, and for some even the desire to live. And, like Alice, most well spouses became invisible to family and friends who long ago stopped offering help, seeing these women not as people or women, but just as caregivers.
Thank you again for an article that I intend to share with as many caregivers as I can.
The thing that shocked me the most was that, as a caregiver, I didn’t even see this very obvious question. It took someone who was not a caregiver to point it out to me. I am so used to struggling alone with these things that it didn’t even occur to me that a reasonable person outside the situation might think that someone should offer to help.
“What about being all dressed up in my good clothes and having to take the walker out of the car and helping him into it? (and) driving off after leaving him in the warm building while I parked the car with my jewelry on hoping I don’t get mugged.”
“His family said they’d (visit him) if I make dinner. Great, I’m really in the mood to cook a dinner and then and only then will (they) come.”
“When you wrote in this article ‘some have actually told me that their neglect of their health is their cowardly way of speeding things up’ (meaning their own death) you could have been writing about me. I run to the doctor with him. Myself, on the other hand, forget about it.”
It is my fervent hope that, after reading these reactions, anyone knowing a well spouse will take a second look at them and the lives they lead. Helping them in small ways, seeing them as a person and not just a caregiver can do more than you know. It may even save their lives.
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