Here at UK Fostering, we will have Foster Carers and Staff who are of a certain age where menopause is a current or impending thing, and we are very glad to know that there is a day to ‘celebrate’ it!
There has been some great coverage of the last year or so to raise awareness of the symptoms of menopause, as has often been a taboo subject. Our colleague Julienne Webb has some thoughts and advice on the subject 😊 – over to you Julienne:
According to the dictionary meno is ‘a combining form borrowed from Greek, where it meant “month,” used with reference to menstruation in the formation of compound words: menopause.’ (www.dictionary.com, 2022)
Simple you may think, with a definition that brief it can’t be so bad. Well the truth is for many it won’t be so bad it may just come and go without your even noticing. But then again there are some of us who will have completed the opposite experience.
Some of us have been through it some of us won’t even be thinking about it, but at some point, all of us as females will become ‘menos.’ Yes, ‘menos’ the new buzz word for those of us in one of the three stages of menopause –
- Perimenopause (the gentle or speedy introduction to it all)
- THE Menopause (it’s finally peaking with a full on hormonal festival) and
- Post Menopause (there’s more of this???)
Firstly unless there is a medical reason that means you cannot be prescribed HRT, take it, get it, fight for it, demand it. Because now it is being talked about so much more and I hope to be part of the last generation who just gets told No, for no reason at all just No.
Talk to your GP about ALL the things that you think are changing in you. You might not recognise them as symptoms so write them all down as collectively, they can show you are menopausal and which stage you may be in.
Friends, get them to talk about how it is for them, have meno coffee mornings, share the symptoms, the frustration, and the support with them. They are SO going to get what is happening to you.
Foster Carers, talk to your Supervising Social Worker if you are struggling a bit. They can give you some time, support and understanding.
Talk to your family in a way that will help them understand that from time to time there may be a different version of you popping up in daily life. Let them know that a previously unseen version of you may appear in the kitchen, dishevelled, groaning, exhausted, overheating and putting Weetabix in the toaster for their breakfast and that it is a perfectly normal part of you at this moment in time.
Prepare your partner for the winter nights when windows WILL BE open all night! Fans WILL BE on! and covers WILL BE thrown to the floor. Support their need to wear several layers of socks, fleecy jogging pants and sweat shirts with a couple of hats and pairs of gloves even though it’s only just below 0 degrees outside and still way too hot for pjs.
Be prepared for your body to go into a full hormonal melt down and literally turn you into a teenager at any second of any day. Sobbing, argumentative, wherever the hormones take your mood you will duly follow knowing that there is absolutely no reason at all to feel like this but it’s going to happen anyway.
Be prepared to lock away your winter wardrobe and glue your hand to the heating thermostat because ‘it does not need to be THAT HIGH it’s like a sauna in here. Then just five minutes later be running for anything that will keep you warm and then five minutes after that, stuffing those things in the freezer because it can’t be normal for a cardigan to make you that hot so quickly.
You might forget the hair appointments or be encouraging children to get ready for school because you have no idea it is Saturday today and when you do realise, all you want to know is who put the days in that order just to mess your week up.
Your partner may find that your new ‘milky tea’ phase relies on the teabag taking a lengthy dip in their cereal bowl whilst the children may find they have only pickles in their sandwiches when they very clearly said they wanted peanut butter today. (Well the jars are similar aren’t they).
Menopause can be a crazy time for you, this reliable, organised, energetic being that you were so familiar with can just suddenly disappear and everything can feel so overwhelming. But work together, find ways to talk about it and find ways to laugh about it too. These are the things that will help the usually balanced you take charge again. Being open about your menopause will help your children understand and be more prepared for their meno moments in the future.
And remember, on the days when you ache a bit, or you feel bloated, or your mind is fogged, or you feel irritable, and you’ve realised that pickle sandwiches don’t belong in the cupboard under the stairs and that the hoover (which has suddenly appeared in your hands, so surely someone has put it there) won’t fit in a school lunch box………………. Just take a moment and let your family know that help is needed just for a while until this ‘meno moment’ is over.
By Julienne Webb
Sources & Resources
https://www.themenopausecharity.org/about-the-menopause-charity/ The Menopause Charity
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/ NHS – Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms
https://www.menopauseandme.co.uk/en-gb/menopause-and-me/stages-and-symptoms-of-menopause/post-menopause Menopause & Me – Stages and Symptoms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYJrD3dKcEc Talking Menopause with Davina McColl