Updated: Apr 30
Since completing my initial professional training in Hypnotherapy, I’ve regularly added to my learning and practice with CPD. I’m delighted that my mental health therapeutic toolkit is packed to the brim with approaches, therapies, techniques, skills and treatments, including Hypnotherapy, EMDR, EMDR Flash Technique, IEMT, Coaching, Counselling, Mental Health First Aid and most recently I’ve added Menopause Wellbeing.
As someone who experienced early menopause at the grand old age of 36 (around 2003), I never really knew or understood exactly what it was I, “went through”, but I do know that it was difficult and challenging at best. Indeed, not only did I endure physical and physiological difficulties, including not being able to have birth children, I also suffered psychological difficulties, including not feeling good enough and feeing old and tired.
Completely unaware of my own perimenopausal/menopausal state, I recall me and my husband starting tests to establish why we weren’t having birth babies, almost a year and a half into our marriage. Much as I dislike sharing this part (and I’m blushing as I write it), we were actively trying to conceive at every opportunity, in other words, “at it like rabbits”. I remember apprehensively making a fertility appointment for me and my husband, and then taking tests and giving what felt like an extraordinary amount of blood to be tested in so many ways I didn’t really understand, nor was it fully explained to me at the time.
Then with all the test results in and me and my husband not suspecting for one minute what we were about to be told, we set off for a meeting with a very young-looking consultant who spoke broken English. He told us (and it took a while to decipher) the test results confirmed I was post menopause, and I didn’t have sufficient hormones to support a pregnancy. I felt sure there was some way around this, but no there wasn’t. I was not going to experience pregnancy and I was not going to experience giving birth. At that moment I disliked this young-looking consultant with an intensity I’d never experienced before. I remember my husband holding tightly onto my hand in what I believed to be an act of empathy and togetherness. Now when I look back, it may have been more to stop me (or him) from hitting the young-looking consultant. Not just for the message the young-looking consultant with the broken English was delivering, but for the matter-of-fact manner in which it was delivered.
It took me months to allow this news to sink in but when the night sweats came (in other words the feeling of spontaneously combusting on a nightly basis, with constant wet sheets and loads of washing) and then the brain fog – oh my word the brain fog (jeez that almost broke me), I had to come to terms with what that young-looking consultant had told me. Not only was I not fertile and I’d never experience having a birth child, but also that I’d go on to have around 10 more years of not feeling particularly normal, in fact feeling the far opposite of normal. This was at a time when my friends and lots of people around me were all having birth children and enjoying their 30’s as they should be, with menopausal symptoms far from their minds and bodies.
I feel I should share at this point that the incredibly good part of my early menopause experience is that me and my husband went on to adopt our two boys. In fact, my first son came home quicker than it would have taken to have a pregnancy (and without the oft talked about pain(s) of childbirth) – pretty much our little miracle baby! This was part of my recovery, because my infertility due to early menopause led me to adopting the two most important little people in my life. For that, and that alone, I’m eternally grateful to my menopause experience.
In hindsight (now I know more about what it’s all about), I now believe my ‘perimenopause’ years started about 5 years previous at age 30, so in total I believe I had between 15 and 20 years of menopausal symptoms and transition. I'm now 'normal' again - although my friends and family may disagree with this statement.
Around a year into my ‘menopausal’ years I started on HRT and continued this medication for around 15 years. Up until recently (thanks to incredible training) I had no idea of the type of HRT I was taking, i.e., whether it was Body Identical Transdermal HRT, Synthetic HRT or Bio Identical HRT, and therefore whether it was the best type or even safe enough for me. I just trusted my GP, who given this was almost 20 years ago, she wasn’t too bad and certainly held empathy, if little understanding, for my condition. I do wish, however, I knew more back then, because I would have most certainly made some changes to my care during my menopause years.
So, during my Menopause Wellbeing training, I was blown away by the amount of information I learned and the light bulb moments I experienced, not only for my experience but also that of many of my clients. Previously with clients, when I’ve recognised signs of menopause that could be exacerbating their problems and issues, I’ve signposted them for extra expert support. I’ll continue to do this if their situation and/or symptoms are beyond my professional limitation, however supporting people with perimenopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal difficulties and helping them to understand and best manage this will be incredibly rewarding for me. As a Menopause Wellbeing Practitioner, I know my work will also be rewarding for my clients.
Helping to raise awareness of menopause and supporting the transition to it becoming a nontaboo subject is one of my key aims and drivers.
Menopause will affect every person who has an ovarian system. By default, menopause is likely to affect every person (yes, everyone) because they are likely to be with or meet people experiencing menopause, whether at home, school, work or in relationships.
Menopause is a complete life transition, often over a period of many, many years.
If you or someone you know is struggling with this transition, there is so much help available and I'm here too.
Let’s change the taboo and start talking!
Sandra, SCT Therapy