Parenting and the menopause don’t go together that well! My menopause, or perimenopause because I still have periods, is unpredictable, my moods shift, I am tired and I can feel overwhelmed by juggling work, home and family.
This year I have made some major changes – work has been simplified so I can focus on the sessions that make a difference; my health is more of a priority so I am eating well and walking more; and I am giving myself more downtime so there’s more life balance and a lot less stress. All of this means I am accepting and trying to take more control of life with the menopause, it also means I have more energy and more time for my children and the demands that come with parenting.
I run my own business and I love my work but I need it to be more focused and less stressful so there’s less juggling, so there is less to feel overwhelmed about. A few weeks in, I feel calmer and happier.
I have two teenage children who are wonderful but they have their own demands – they are still dependants with needs for reassurance, security and guidance, even when they don’t know it. All of this takes energy and focus so more balance was needed.
Juggling everything meant I felt overwhelmed, stretched, incapable of doing any job well and needing to be in bed by 9.
The menopause can last for years, it doesn’t make sense to just battle with it and to keep charging through it at the detriment to my health, my business, my family and my marriage. Taking charge feels good, and with that comes greater confidence, a sense of calm, determination, positivity and happiness.
I am taking part in the Kings College research to enhance this, to learn new ways of dealing with the menopause and its many and varied symptoms and I am taking part in the BBC documentary to open up the conversation about the menopause and to challenge myself to do something different and way out of my comfort zone.
Life is good despite the hot sweats, the night sweats, the shivers, the mood changes, the insomnia, the anxiety, the tiredness…
Janine Smith | a specialist in pregnancy, birth and parent support