I’m going to make a big assumption that many reading this didn’t watch ‘The Insider’s Guide to the Menopause’ this week…. Am I wrong? Well I hope that by the end of this blog I can persuade some of you to watch it on iplayer. It was excellent.
I like Kirsty Wark. I like her straight forward, matter of factness way in dealing with a subject that still has a bit of an ‘ick’ factor to it.
It is this ‘ick’ that has prevented little in the way of conversation about something that every woman will face at some point in their life. I previously wrote about my experience of being diagnosed with ‘Primary ovarian failure’ at 38:
I was amazed at just how many woman got in touch to say thank you for writing it. As much as I was deeply touched that some wanted to share their story, I felt quite sad that they couldn’t talk about it more openly.
Trying to get people to ‘talk about menopause’ is a monumental task. Having heard some of the stories I began to see that for some menopause is this huge, invisible load that is dragged around all day, everyday. It seems to be in our DNA that while it happens you don’t discuss it and you move on with your life.
Kirsty Wark talks about a film where basically the woman turns to dust and dies. Very rarely is this stereotype of older women challenged.
Until recently I’m ashamed to admit that my own perception of women’s health wasn’t all that great either. To my mind you grow up, have kids, sort of disappear for a bit then come back as an old person – possibly with grandkids but definitely with arthritis.
The invisible woman is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot since I had my diagnosis. This is a time when women should be taking back control not losing it. Goodness knows you cant control any of the wonderful symptoms that comes along with menopause but you can be a voice.
I also wonder at what age women should be educated about menopause? We have sex education for our children with the focus on sexual health and pregnancy but there is very little in the way of education about women’s health as you age. Why is this? Even though I’m a doctor and we did obs & gynae at medical school I had little clue. This made me feel even more stupid at a time I wasn’t exactly feeling fantastic in the first place.
I should say that in my opinion education shouldn’t be limited to just women. All men have some kind of relationship with women whether it be family, personal or professional. I think it’s really important that they are educated as well.
My only quibble with the program was that it was a stand alone, 1 hour documentary. There was so much in it that any one of the topics could’ve been an episode in their own right. I don’t know if there are plans to make a series from this but I sincerely hope they do. In doing so we can really start a proper conversation…..