BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
It’s not something I am proud of, but I tend to be late to the party—both literally and metaphorically speaking. In most cases, I am 95% to blame, but in this (with my FULL chest!) I blame absolutely everyone else. The last time I was this angry at society was fifteen years ago when I realised the amount of pregnancy gatekeeping my ancestors had perpetrated. As I lay there simultaneously nauseous at the thought of food yet starving miserably, I couldn’t but wonder how the global population was thriving if this was what women had to endure.
After my second hospitalisation, my female relatives started confessing their ordeals and how to mitigate all my horrible symptoms. I remember thinking, “Why don’t women talk more about these things? There is comfort in knowing you aren’t going stark raving mad because you can suddenly smell electricity and hear sunshine!”.
Cut to the present day, and it turns out that a whole other area in my life has remained a mystery until now. If you are anything like me, you hit your 40th birthday and had a vague notion that you were not as fertile anymore.
Definitely, you were moving into a phase in your life when you would eventually no longer have to deal with your period, yay. There may be a few hot flushes on the journey from point B to C, and that would be it.
Then (I can only speak from personal experience here), surprise! First up came the brain fog, then came insomnia…. my eyes would pop open at three in the morning and then I reach for social media (I know, I know). I would find a whole gang of similarly afflicted friends online, and we would pursue a proper catch-up instead of getting back to sleep.
It never occurred to me to ask myself WHY my friends and I were suddenly struggling with getting to and staying asleep. Slowly though, conversations about changing cycles, joint pains, brain fog, and mood swings started to coalesce, and we stumbled to a conclusion: the dreaded “change” is upon us.
Perimenopause can start in a woman at any time from age 35. It is inevitable, but I have found that by not suffering in silence, embracing it, seeking support, and educating myself, dread is no longer part of the conversation.
The real eye-opener for me was speaking with my friend, Poop.
She lives and works in the UK, and they recognise the mental health effects of menopause. So much so her workplace provides support and education for EVERYONE, men and women, to mitigate workplace friction. On the home front, Poop’s partner pays for all her menopause nutritional supplements as his support for what she is going through. I bloody love it.
We need to be cognisant of how menopause affects individuals and society. Unfortunately, as usual with “women” issues, the science is woefully behind, but there are solutions for some of the symptoms. I hear HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) can feel like magic when used effectively.
For now, I am enjoying the benefits of support from my fellow women in the trenches and researching dietary supplements. Sharing is caring, and we need to stop gatekeeping. Be a part of the solution!
Odunayo Ogunbiyi is an ex pharmacist with a passion for food and pampering. Writing about her exploits wherever in the world she may find herself is just her way of staying sane in this zany world.