“I feel ripped off that no one talked to me about it.” ¹
“Why didn’t anyone tell me? This is a change of life I was not prepared for at all.”
“Before I had my period at 13, I was told some stuff, but no one sat me down to have the ‘time of life’ conversation.”
These are the voices of the Australian working women I interviewed just over a year ago, about their experience of menopause.
I can certainly relate. In 2018 I noticed my short-term memory and concentration were faltering and I had no idea that this ‘brain fog’ could be a symptom of perimenopause – the years leading up to the final cessation of periods. I hadn’t heard a thing, not a squeak – not from my mother, not from three older sisters, not from my older female friends and certainly not from other professional women.
‘Sssh, don’t talk about it’ seemed to be the default position, especially amongst many working women who feared being perceived as not up for their jobs, if they did talk about the M word.
The high cost of this silence is that too many women don’t know what to expect during the menopause transition and therefore don’t know how best to support themselves.
Knowledge is power. So here are my key tips for women in their late 30s to early 40s to increase the chances that the menopause transition will be an empowering one.
Given that women who have more positive attitudes towards ageing and menopause, experience fewer severe symptoms, it makes sense to examine your beliefs and create a supportive mindset for yourself.
Thea O’Connor is a wellbeing and productivity advisor to workplace leaders and teams. She is creator of The Change – a confidential online program, empowering working women through menopause, and Menopause@Work: Training for Managers .