I consider myself a successful career woman. I have navigated choppy waters in work over the years, fighting my corner and pulling myself up. I'm now 47 and my doctor has diagnosed me as peri-menopausal. This took 8 months of living with anxiety, forgetfulness and a feeling of simply not feeling like me. If this is the peri bit, I don't want to think what the main performance will be like. I'm holding off on taking HRT until I have to, so I feel a bit at sea, although I want to do what I can to help myself through this. Mainly, I'm just terrified that I wont be able to perform at work and will lose my footing. PMcS
So much in our society contrives against women this wonderful time of our lives. Yes, not for the first time, our physical selves challenge us and pull the strings of our psychological and emotional selves, but we can find a wonderful freedom in age and experience. If you can find contentment, that state can be deep and rewarding, bringing new feelings of confidence, wisdom and joy.
Many seismic life decisions happen at this stage, there's a sense of , f*+K it, I'm not putting up with this any more. I'm better and more valuable than this. The other great thing is that the conversation has now become public. Once we crush a taboo, we claim the power it had over us. We spoke to Breeda Birmingham, a passionate campaigner for understanding of the menopause and a true believer in the gifts that can be unearthed at this time.
BREEDA BIRMINGHAM, MIDLIFE WOMEN ROCK
Hello P. Firstly bravo on you for reaching out and asking for assistance. You are already on the right path. So many women I have met over the past six months, have been living in misery for years feeling that they just had to put up with menopause. The silence, fear, shame and denial which has surrounded this taboo subject globally (not just in Ireland) has hindered women greatly in accessing factual accurate information. Thankfully this is starting to change as women are speaking up.
In talking about our journeys we are helping and enabling other women manage theirs. From your email I can see that you are a competent and capable woman who is certainly after arriving at the door of Peri-menopause. When women mention that they just don’t feel like themselves anymore I know they are instinctively aware that change is coming. You are obviously quite intuitive. Women have amazing power within themselves, when we slow down and listen to our bodies,we nearly always are capable of finding what is right for us to navigate through this journey. Anxiety and forgetfulness are amongst the many symptoms’ women experience as they transition through menopause, you are not alone. From my own research forgetfulness and that foggy brain can be a sign that one is overstretched, multitasking, seeing to everyone else’s needs at work or/and at home at the expense of one’s own. One may have been superwoman for many years like I was, but when we arrive at peri-menopause, it’s a great opportunity for a little re- assessment on life.
Chatting with a G.P. who is well informed on menopause is a great step. Another proactive measure is having a full health check-up over the next year in order to have baseline recordings going forward. Most of the uncomfortable symptoms arrive in peri-menopause, women are not aware of this due to the lack of information and education in the public domain. The menopausal journey calls on us to prioritise self -care, slow down, provide oneself with space, (many women crave more alone time), very important, pay attention to our nutrition, extra naps if sleep deprived, spend more time in nature if possible.
The average age women reach menopause in Ireland is 51 with women reporting peri- menopausal symptoms from 2 to 5 years. No two women will have the same journey we are all unique. The key to successfully navigating this journey is being kinder to ourselves and
prioritising our needs(by maybe investing in ourselves more) small steps to start. When we do this, we are consciously transitioning through this life phase and there are many what I like to call gifts awaiting on the other side. Symptoms pass and life gets a lot better. Join us at The Midlife Women Rock Project to learn more, stay informed and find comfort in others' experience.
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