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Once every couple of years, I find a book I love, and I can’t stop talking about it. Today, that book is Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy by Dr. Sharon Malone. 

I was fortunate to have Dr. Malone as my doctor and involved in my health journey over the last 20+ years. 

Though she no longer practices medicine, she remains even more committed to women’s health at every age, particularly as we age. Instead of influencing better health outcomes for women one-to-one, with Grown Woman Talk, she can now use her medical training, intellect, thoughtfulness, and lived experiences to positively affect the health outcomes for millions of women.

“Grown Woman Talk,” is described as:

“A practical guide to aging and health for women who have felt ignored or marginalized by the medical profession, from a leading OB/GYN and expert on menopausal and post-reproductive health.” 

“It’s also for any woman who is simply standing at the intersection of aging and health, anxious and wanting solutions.”

“Part medical handbook, part memoir, and part sister-girl cheerleader, this book is filled with useful resources and real-life stories of victory and defeat.”

Her why…

At the first stop on her book tour, Dr. Malone was asked why writing this book was important to her. She mentioned being the only doctor in her friend groups and family. She talked about how many medical issues she would navigate and negotiate for them. What’s remarkable is that these women had means and access. Dr. Malone recognized that if they can’t navigate these medical and aging waters, then maybe there were things she could share broadly that could be helpful to women overall. 

Each chapter begins with a letter addressed “Dear Sis.” Her intention? “A love letter to my sisters. A way to express my love for women.”  Importantly, she didn’t want to write the book as a doctor. She wanted to tell her own story as a daughter, a mother, and a friend. However, her medical training and experience underscore important truths, guidance, and jewels important to everyone. 

Put simply, the book is about “what to expect if you expect to live beyond 40” – a play on the title of one of the most well-known books for pregnant women, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” 

The book covers every health challenge women face as they mature, including menopause, heart disease, fibroids, strokes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and even how we prepare ourselves and our loved ones for our death.

And even though Dr. Malone talks about some challenging health issues facing women, her goal is not to leave you discouraged, but for you and what you’re going through to be seen and leave you hopeful and empowered. The book achieves this through storytelling, clear takeaways, checklists, and even a music playlist!

Some of the points that resonated with me from her book talk:  

  • Take control of your health care. Have a relationship with a doctor who listens to you. I am fortunate to have doctors I love, who are responsive, work collaboratively, and are committed to giving me the best care at every stage of my life. 
  • Assemble your team. Dr. Malone speaks about the importance of your “doctor team.” Make sure all of your doctors are working together towards your healthfulness and longevity. And if you have a doctor who isn’t playing their role or you’re not 100 percent happy with them, get another doctor. I’ve dumped doctors before. My health is more important than pleasantries or awkward conversations. 
  • Know your family medical history. Your family medical history gives you an idea of what conditions you might be predisposed to. It’s an indicator and a warning sign, not a roadmap. Knowing your family medical history can be the difference between a prevention plan instead of a treatment plan. 
  • Be an advocate for yourself. You must be your own best caregiver. If you are waiting for someone else, they aren’t coming. Family and partners can help.  But no one knows if you’re feeling okay better than you. Speak up! 
  • Get used to what it feels like to feel normal and good. Dr. Malone talks about “interoception,” the concept of knowing what it means to feel good and normal without being “aware” of your body parts. Pain or tenderness is your body telling you something. We blunt that sense because we get used to feeling bad. I’ve been guilty of this and must remind myself to listen to my body.
  • Expect to feel good. Sadly, our expectation is that when we get older, we should bad, we shouldn’t feel at 100 percent. Our expectation and outlook should be that we feel great. And if that’s not the case, how do you restore that balance? 
  • Consider healthspan over lifespan. Healthspan speaks to how long you live healthfully. You can live a long time without being healthy. I come from a family with an incredible lifespan, but not always a healthy one. You may live to be 100 years old, but what if those last 30 years are painful, unhealthy, and deprived of joy? Healthspan requires active engagement that focuses on tried-and-true concepts: exercise, a healthy diet, no smoking, controlling your blood pressure and sugar, and sleeping better. 
  • Exercise isn’t about weight loss, particularly as we age.  Exercise is fundamentally about health. Exercise helps mitigate against almost every health malady: Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, you name it. 
  • Menopause is the only universal female experience. It’s not an optional activity. Some symptoms will resolve themselves. But menopause overall can make you more susceptible to other chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. 


All of this assumes you are a woman who has health care, the means to be choosy about your health providers, and the financial resources to make it happen. I struggle with how economically challenged women navigate this rough terrain.  Sadly, I know the answer. Their health isn’t the priority and comes last after family and children, making ends meet. Instead of prevention, they are discussing treatment options way too late.

This doesn’t scratch the surface of what this book has to offer. Share it with a woman you love—and that just might be yourself.