Menopause or the Big M as I like to call it was not something that I thought about much as I got older. I knew that it happened and there was no specific age but still I thought maybe late fifties. I didn’t know you can have premature menopause as early as your thirties.
No one told me about menopause, not Aunty, Tanty, Nennen, Granma, older cousins, friends not even my mother.
It’s not treated with the same girly, giggly anticipation of getting your period for the first time and chatting with your girlfriends about which pads or tampons they use or holding your pouch like a badge of honour as you walk sheepishly to the ladies’ room.
Unlike getting your period, there are no girls-only talks like the ones we got at school as teenagers. It is difficult to pinpoint an exact age for menopause but for many women it occurs in their early fifties. And when it does occur it looks different for every woman, maybe that’s why no one said anything.
Once I called a friend to scold her for not warning me about the dreaded hot flush and she had no idea what I was talking about because she never experienced it. She is in her early fifties by the way and has no menopausal symptoms and is living her best life. Another close relative told me she began questioning her sanity after her night sweats and insomnia did not let up for months. For some women, menopausal symptoms are quite mild and tolerable whilst others are cruelly severe.
Menopause is real and its symptoms are real. It is time to start openly discussing it. It adversely affects many women in every part of the world. So start talking! Talk to your friends, relatives, husbands, lovers, daughters, sons, coworkers and bosses. We need to support each other. It is challenging for a lot of us, made worse by the fact that our menopausal symptoms are either trivialized or ignored altogether.
In the words of UK MP Carolyn Harris, who has put forward the Menopause (Support and Services) Bill:
…It seems that finally, after years of whispered comments and clandestine conversations, everyone is ready to talk about the menopause, women are ready to stand up and share their experiences.
You can read more about the UK Menopause Bill here:
In the comment box, feel free to share your symptoms, experiences and coping strategies during perimenopause and menopause.