The Menopausal Moxie

This week Bella sat down with 4 women to talk about their experience with Menopause so far. Whether you're currently in menopause, on the cusp of it's arrival, or just curious to know more, there's something in here for everyone. 

If you're an avid reader of The Monthly, you know we love to push the boundaries, and talk about all things "taboo". If you're new here - welcome. This is a safe space to learn, read and educate yourselves.

Before we start, we'd like to issue a trigger warning. This blog discusses topics such as IVF, miscarriage and mental health. We understand these topics can be upsetting or distressing, so please take your time and check in with yourself where needed. You can always return to reading at a later date.


Now let's make sure we're all on the same page:

What is menopause you ask? 

Ok, so now you know what menopause is, let's get into the nitty gritty - here's everything our guests had to say about their experience so far: 

How would you describe your first-hand experience with menopause in just a few words?

M: It kind of creeps up on you then you realise that there are symptoms that can totally transform you.

V: Shocked, in denial - had no idea it was happening!

T: My menopause journey has been emotionally, mentally & physically challenging, confronting and frustrating at times yet also liberating!

S: A rollercoaster of emotions and physical symptoms.


Did you actively seek out information or support during your menopausal journey?

M: Just a visit to the GP regarding heavy periods.

V: Lots of googling, talking to others who had been down this journey.

T: Absolutely, both medically, psychologically and most importantly from the most supportive man that has helped me through this tumultuous stage and often freezes just so I can be comfortable, without this level of support it would have been very difficult to navigate this journey. I have also found humour with girlfriends and work colleagues that are experiencing similar symptoms to be great therapy, you don't feel so alone in this lunacy.

S: Yes, I tried to find out as much information as I could.
I consulted my GP, tried various natural remedies, and changed my diet.


Can you share a specific moment or challenge that stands out to you during menopause so far?

M: Turning into a sweaty, intolerant, sleep deprived monster.

V: Oh YES! I had a massive anxiety attack whilst on a family holiday in Bali. I couldn't breathe. I thought I was going to die. This lasted three days! On my flight back home I had another anxiety attack because I felt like there was no oxygen on the plane and I thought I was going to suffocate (again thinking I'm going to die and if I do, who would look after my kids?) It wasn't until I got home that my then 25 year old son said "Hey mum, I think you might be going through menopause." I thought to myself - NO WAY, SHOCK HORROR! NOT ME!!!!! I STILL GET MY PERIOD! But then it all made sense. It explained why I was so up and down with my moods, why I was always tired, suffering from heavy flow and ultimately led to needing an iron infusion.

T: For me, there's been a number of challenging times from navigating the emotional roller coaster and feeling completely emotionally unstable at times and not having mental clarity to the waking multiple times a night feeling like you've been set on fire from the inside out & confused as to why the aircon must be off, yet when you check it its working fine & still set to 15 degrees!! The wave then disappears and the world goes back to normal again.

S: The most challenging aspect of menopause so far would definitely be the anxiety attacks. They've been so debilitating at times that I could not leave the house or go to work.


How has menopause impacted your relationships or interactions with others, if at all?

M: My family see the worst of it - they kind of steer clear if there are signs of the monster appearing.

V: To be honest my journey has been quite ''cruisy'. I've always been very health focused. It's helped me to bond with other women who are going through the same experience. 

T: Menopause has actually taught me to communicate better about my body, how can you get the support you need when you don't express your needs! I spent mostly all of my menstruating years never talking about my experiences even though I suffered from endometriosis and had 5 miscarriages, failed IVF treatments and then dealt with debilitating heavy periods prior to menopause, yet I was always made to feel like it was a taboo topic to talk about and something I had to hide, probably so I didn't make others feel uncomfortable! I even struggled saying the word period out loud! In reality it wasn't menopause that taught me to communicate, I just have a safe space to communicate now about menopause! However menopause has definitely provided a topic of discussion and deepened my connection in my relationship.

S: I don't feel that it has impacted my interactions with others.


Do you feel there is enough awareness or understanding about menopause in your social circles?

M: Not at all - I feel fortunate that it is now on the agenda and awareness is growing but I never realised what an impact it has on who you are and how you feel - I feel for the generations before me that have literally had to suffer in.

V: In my circle yes....probably because I'm so outspoken and not embarrassed to talk about anything. There is a lot of ignorance in the community simply because there isn't much information available. You need to really dig for answers. Tiktok is GREAT and has helped me find information not readily available.

T: No I don't feel there's enough awareness especially around HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), I have actually been made to feel like that's another taboo topic. There's a lot of myths around the old thoughts of taking HRT from the 80s & 90s that has really damaged its reputation but for me it's been life changing once I got the right advice and treatment. There's also been a supply shortage of patches, due to manufacturing ceasing!!

S: I don't believe there is enough awareness or understanding about menopause, especially for those women who experience severe symptoms.


How has your perspective on health and self-care evolved as a result of menopause?

M: For me it is more of an awareness - knowing when I am out of myself and being aware - I have not taken anything to assist with my symptoms.

V: It's made me up the anti on which vitamins I need more of and what I should/shouldn't eat or drink. Tip: MAGNESIUM is GOD! Most importantly I've learnt throughout this journey to stop & breathe, have the day off, take time out for yourself, don't worry about the dishes and the vacuum cleaner. In fact it's given me a 'who cares' attitude. As mothers, wives etc there are so many expectations from us, we need to learn to stop being so hard on ourselves

T: I have had to become proactive in maintaining my health & well being and basically listen to my body better, it's definitely not the same anymore so it needs to be treated differently.

S: It has made me more aware of the importance to take care of both your mental and physical health.


If you could share one piece of advice with someone entering the menopausal stage, what would it be?

M: It’s not just a few hot flushes - it can change so much so keep the conversation going and support each other.

V: Don't over think it. Change your diet, eat properly, walk as much as you can if your not a gym person - Buy the BEST MAGNESIUM on the market. Don't be hard on yourself & if you need that day off, just take it!

T: Communicate your needs... you are not crazy! You will not self combust even though sometimes it feels like you could just simply be a puddle left on the ground.... be that sweat or pee! Exercise, eat well and love your life! Seek advice on HRT it can be life changing.

S: Know that you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you, you are simply entering a different stage of your life and it is time for some overall changes.



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*We'd like to note that this blog, and the information in it is for educational and explorative purposes only. We are not doctors, and nor do we claim to be! So before you go ahead and change up your medical routine, we highly recommend consulting your health care professional first. 

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