I’ll apologise now because this is probably going to be a very personal blog post – I’m not even sure if I’ll put it up. It’s midnight on Friday and I’m aching with tiredness, but sleep won’t come. Tears will, though, because today, a week after boldly stating I would be in parliament for World Menopause Day, I decided I couldn’t, after all.
My reasons? Well, mainly, I’ve been asked to do some talks and to hold informal menopause cafés for the NHS, as well as helping host an evening event to keep women in business with Adelle Martin, the Executive Midlife Coach.
It’s a busy day when you’re a menopause campaigner.
And therein is one of the reasons why I’m now crying – because am I a menopause campaigner?
Twelve months ago, I would have said “yes” without any hesitation. But since the rally last World Menopause Day, it feels as if the ground has shifted and I’m unsure where I stand anymore.
The growing awareness around menopause has been wonderful and I love seeing people come out and talk about it. Perimenopause was even mentioned on Sewing Bee without any need of explanation!
But there have also been downsides to that as money has become involved. For example, instead of fighting for better menopause awareness, I suddenly found myself fighting over the use of the name “Pausitivity”. Where once there was informal agreements and respect, there was talk of trademarks and business registration.
Distinct bands of campaigners have grown, depending upon what social media platform they use. I see names on LinkedIn I never see on Twitter and names on Twitter I never see on Instagram. Support feels split
Not that it has all been sweetness and light over the last three years. There have been incidents and words said and I have no doubt that I have been as guilty as others, especially when the hormones have hit and I’ve felt out of control, as if I’ve lost myself.
On the whole, though, it felt like there was a community working together. No, we didn’t all get along, but we were working towards the same cause and that was what counted.
Or perhaps I was just naïve?
Maybe, instead, it is just me – a jumped-up little Geordie who thought she was making a difference and now I see the truth?
Because tonight, I feel like a washed-out middle-aged nobody. I look at the plans – and hopes – I had and they feel… hopeless.
And of course, there is life. Covid restrictions have meant I have been unable to see my mam as often as I want and when I do, I see the woman I knew slipping away. I know I will never again get a hug – or more like it, a word to get over myself and get on with it like a northerner – when I feel lost.
Who will tell me to “tell them to sod off” now?
I hope, I pray, that this is the doldrums of the Covid attack I had. Because otherwise, my brain is telling me this is PMDD again and this is my last chance for HRT to work. And I’m scared this might be who I am for the rest of my life.
A woman who doesn’t know who she is anymore.
I would like nothing more than to finish this with a rallying cry, but I can’t. So I will end instead with a call to be good to each other. You don’t even have to be kind, just be considerate.
Because you never know what the other person is going through.