Menopause is thicker than water. When we talk and laugh about it we learn and relax. It’s a life transition not a disease.Strive Health
Scenario 1: You are in your weekly board meeting and you feel the heat creeping up on you. You stealthily look around to see if anyone else notices your discomfort. You check to see if the AC is on, it’s set at 22 degrees Celsius. You want to ask your colleagues if you can lower it to 20 but you decide against it because it’s already cold and you want to avoid the eyerolling you are sure to get. The meeting has just begun and you know it will look bad if you ask to be excused too soon. Your colleagues are mostly women and all of them are younger than you. No one understands what you are going through.
Scenario 2: Same day, same meeting, a few moments later. Your boss asks you something. You start responding and then midsentence you forget what you were about to say. Everyone is looking at you. You talk even more slowly willing yourself to remember what you were going to say but the synapses seem to have short-circuited, you quickly mumble something in the hopes of disguising your forgetfulness.
Scenario 3: You ask your boss to leave work, because you are moody and irritable for no reason and you don’t want to be around anyone, you just want to be in the comfort of your home enjoying your own company. Of course, you can’t say the latter, so you make some lame excuse of not feeling well.
All real-life scenarios. Has any of the above ever happened to you? Has any ever happened to me. No comment.
It’s awkward to share how you feel when there is no allowance for it. I think it’s easier to say that I’m having period cramps than it is to say I’m having a hot flash. I wonder why that is. As a biology student in secondary school, a lot of information was in our texts about mensuration and by comparison only a paragraph or two was devoted to menopause.
It is not considered a table topic at dinner. It is vaguely referred to and whispered about by your older female relatives and that translates to secrets. The thing is I’m not sure what there’s to hide, what’s there to whisper about, where’s the shame. We must talk about it more, especially in the workplace. Allowances must be made for women who are menopausal and more importantly these women should not be made to feel embarrassed about their symptoms or dismissed. An ill employee is not a productive employee. A woman who has severe menopausal symptoms cannot give of her best.
Can you tell me, if in your region there are any sensitization campaigns afoot for employees to know and recognize menopausal symptoms? Are your male and female colleagues empathetic when you keep forgetting things or are they impatient? Are all mature, crochety female employees lumped under the mid-life umbrella? Are we easily brushed off with snide remarks such as, ‘hormonal,’ ‘cranky,’ ‘moody’ or if single, the ever famous ‘she needs a man’?
Sadly, we don’t get a free pass and we have to deal with it how best we can and we don’t even know where to begin because we have never felt this way before.
Some offices do not have proper ventilation or functioning air conditioning. What do you then? I think in the same way companies outfit their work environments with gyms and green spaces, they can invest in a misting room or if that’s too much, maybe some misting fans or portable fans. I’m sure they’re inexpensive.
In the meantime, whilst we wait to be taken seriously, if you’re going through perimenopause or menopause. You do what you must to make yourself comfortable. And for everyone else, you need only be kind. You need only be kind.
Tell me in the comments, what allowances are made on your job for women going through menopause or what you would like to see.