Empowering women to make informed menopause choices - The Leamington Observer

Empowering women to make informed menopause choices

SO, we hosted our first free zoom ‘Let’s talk about women’s health’ event this week. My friend and fellow Health coach Amanda Price, kicked it off by sharing our menopause stories. We had hoped it might encourage others to do the same and provide an opportunity for women to share ideas and support each other during this time of huge transition! I am delighted to say that this is exactly what transpired, and I hope that it will be the start of many more conversations around women’s health, and that it has encouraged those women to reach out for support whenever they need it.

It was so interesting reflecting back on my story in preparation for the event, and I found it fascinating what came up when I asked myself that important question… ‘What have you learned from your experience?’

I think what really struck me was how I had struggled for 2 years to push down the confusing negative emotions that came with it! I have a history of early menopause in my family so when I found myself frequently crying over nothing, I took myself off to the GP. It was confirmed that I was menopausal and was offered HRT. At the time I was determined to do it ‘naturally’ and focused on continuing my healthy lifestyle  habits. However, despite all my good intentions I was really struggling…. I seemed to lose all my confidence overnight and struggled terribly with anxiety and insomnia. As many people describe it I ‘just didn’t feel myself’ at all, and as you can imagine terrible insomnia certainly didn’t help matters.

What is interesting now looking back is that despite knowing I was menopausal I still didn’t really associate all these symptoms as common menopause symptoms. Menopause is often more commonly associated with the more physical symptoms, such as hot flushes and I wasn’t really experiencing any of these.

I really question why I didn’t learn more about it at the time, and all I can say is that I was perhaps conditioned with the ‘don’t make a fuss’ ‘just get on with it’ approach that many of my parents’ generation have been conditioned with..

I suppose I used to view negative emotions as a sign of weakness and did my best to push them down! Clearly, I know now that approach doesn’t work, and that ignoring or pushing them down only serves to intensify them! What I also now know is that if I had given myself permission to acknowledge them, they would have more likely have lost their intensity and passed over eventually!

It took a BBC documentary before I finally realised that what I was experiencing were very common symptoms of the menopause. in fact, I felt that Mariella Fostrop could literally have been describing my experience word for word as she said, ‘I struggled with lack of confidence, anxiety and insomnia for two years before I sought help!’

Last week a similar programme was aired featuring Davina McCall, and the story was a very similar one. She now feels passionately about speaking out and sharing her story to prevent other women struggling unnecessarily!

I think that is the biggest message I would like to share with people is; please don’t struggle alone with your symptoms… reach out, talk to your GP, talk to other professionals, and talk to your friends!

Life so often doesn’t need to be as difficult as we make it out to be if we simply just give ourselves permission to ask, ‘what do I need?’ and to reach out for help when we need it.

HRT really helps me to manage those life draining symptoms these days, but it is by no means the only way I am supporting myself through the menopause. I am perhaps more than ever conscious of my lifestyle choices. Making sure that I eat well, practice yoga, walk in nature, and manage any stress in my life is more important than ever. I am also learning to develop self-compassion which is so important for managing stress. I would argue that the biggest source of stress in our lives is that critical inner voice that we have been carrying around for years, and I would urge you to try and free yourself from it for once and for all. Only then will you be able to live with the ease that you so fully deserve!

I am delighted to say that I no longer struggle with most of my symptoms, I feel like ‘myself again’ and am loving life again. However, my sleep is still somewhat elusive at times and I am continuing to experiment with different lifestyle approaches to manage it better. As far as I am concerned there is no ‘perfect destination’ when it comes to health… and we can always learn and grow whatever our age. That is why I love what I do so much… to me life is a continual learning journey, and I feel privileged to share that journey with many people in my role as a health coach.

I also love bringing people together as I truly believe we can learn so much from each other, and this week’s event was another perfect illustration of that. I was prompted to create this event after a previous Supper club with my good friend and yoga and Ayurveda guru Su Menon. So many women that evening shared how they were struggling with women’s health issues…  Fast forward to this week’s event and one of the ladies shared how beneficial Ayurveda has been for her in managing her symptoms of the menopause! I am so grateful to know Su and I am looking forward to learning from her how to incorporate more Ayurveda practices into my life. I am really looking forward to sharing this next part of my journey with you.

I was also thrilled to be introduced to another inspiring lady, Francesca Scucces who I met at that very same supper club! I am delighted to say she will be the guest speaker at our next ‘Let’s talk about women’s health event’ on June 23rd. Francesca has a very powerful story to share about PMDD so please do join us if you can. Increasing awareness of this distressing condition is so important as it will empower you to be more informed should you or someone you know develop it at some point in your life.  Please do contact me if you would like me to send you the zoom link to join us.

Thanks so much to all of you who were able to join us this week. I hope that you feel more empowered to make informed choices about your health as a result. We will all have a very different menopause journey but if you would like any support with navigating yours, I would be honoured to help you.

I would be delighted to be your guide, your support, and your accountability partner as you learn more about what you need on your own unique menopausal journey…. Please do reach out if you want a quick chat, or indeed a free coaching session to see how I might be able to support you!

Visit harrietshealthyliving.co.uk/ for further details

Harriet Saxton






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