Why the Menopause Supper Club was started:
This ‘special’ club has been set up because I am deeply passionate about empowering women like me to not simply ‘get through’ the menopause but to thrive, grow and enjoy our midlife years.
Rather than front a workshop in a cold village hall, I thought there is no nicer way to spend an evening than over a meal with friends. And what is that wonderful saying by WB Yeats?
‘There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met’. That is the very essence of the MSC.
I am 51, and truly feel as if this is a new beginning, the perfect time for compassion to myself and others, with a renewed sense of purpose and burgeoning creativity.
I have been through a lot of upheaval in the last three years including a divorce, a house move, a career change and three children turning into terrible teens. You could say I am an expert in stress, hormonal challenges and how (not to) get a good night’s sleep.
I had already spent at least three years in perimenopause whilst in my mid-forties without even knowing for certain I was at this stage in my life. After many visits to doctors, specialists and alternative healthcare providers I still didn’t have a definitive answer. I had numerous blood tests, was told to go on anti-depressants for my devastating fatigue and visited two (very expensive) experts on ‘bio-identical’ hormones that did nothing to allay my symptoms. Basically, I was offered everything apart from HRT.
It has only been in the last year that I have felt educated and confident enough to push for solutions. Yet I am still dismayed and concerned at the lack of knowledge out there, even from GPs, whom women put their faith into yet are so inadequately equipped to talk about this vast subject that they often push anti-depressants on someone who should perhaps be offered HRT.
The sad fact is that our needs as women going through the menopause are simply not being met, with the result being many unhappy, desperate and fatigued women who are living miserable lives with a list of rotten symptoms and no clear indication of how to improve their daily grind.
It is no coincidence that Western women suffer the symptoms of menopause a lot more than those in the East. For us Westerners, ‘Menopause’ is a dirty word, it’s almost embarrassing to admit that you are in the throes of this ‘nasty’ stage in life. What a travesty!
Women in the Far East look upon these years as the ‘Wisdom Years’, where we finally come into our own, and the younger generation look to their elder female relatives for advice and reassurance. In these cultures, social status increases with age, and getting older is seen as a positive.
The Menopause Supper Club is just one of a growing number of forums to change the Western approach to menopause. I am honoured to be part of this movement.
I am fortunate enough to have met or come across some wonderful women such as Dr. Louise Newson, Liz Earle and Petra Coveney, who have helped guide, educate and empower me and others to find their voice. I truly believe that ‘knowledge is power’ and that is especially true through our menopause years. This is such a wickedly underreported area and things need to change, the sooner the better! I have a 19-year-old daughter whom I speak openly to about the menopause.
It is vital that the menopause message reaches every corner of society and that it becomes as ‘normal’ to talk about as pregnancy, puberty or periods.