Guest Post by Becky Kearns
Hi I’m Becky, I’m currently a thirty-three year old mum of three girls (all under the age of three!).
I discovered that I was entering early menopause at the age of twenty-eight. My partner and I had just started to try for a baby and I started to seek help when it wasn’t happening as quickly as I thought it would. I had short cycles with my periods frequent and irregular – anything from twelve days apart to twenty-four days. I’d also had the odd night sweat but hadn’t even considered (being in my twenties) that this might be because of the menopause!
I’ve recently taken the decision to have a career break to raise my girls, as well as start my blog raise awareness of infertility, IVF, donor conception and more recently – early menopause. Previously I have been a HR Professional for 12 years.
After asking numerous GP’s to test my hormones as I had a feeling something was wrong with my fertility, I was actually told by my GP that my hormones were normal.
It was only when I took control and asked to see my results that I realised my FSH was much higher than it should be. I went to see a private gynaecologist (who has been amazing) who tested me again along with my AMH level and confirmed that I was perimenopausal.
In terms of support from the GP or any medical professionals, I sadly didn’t get any. If I hadn’t asked for my results I have no idea how long it would have been for me to be diagnosed. I was brushed off a number of times by GP’s because of my age. “It’ll be fine”they’d said, “it’s just your body settling down after the pill”. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
My consultant on the other hand has been incredible and so sensitively discussed my diagnosis and its implications.
I am actually due to see him next week to talk about HRT as since I have finished breastfeeding and the pregnancy hormones have left my body I am starting to see more symptoms again – irregular and heavy periods, fatigue, anxiety and mood swings, night sweats and loss of libido.
In the beginning I felt uncomfortable talking about the menopause with people. This was because of my age. I felt embarrassed and was worried people would maybe pity me for it. Over time I’ve come to accept that this is my reality and there could be so many worse things that could happen to me. The more I’ve talked about it, I’ve realised what a difference I can make to others in the same position by just realising that they aren’t alone. Most recently I talked at the Thriva Health ‘She’s So Hormonal’ event, (this is actually where I met Meg!)
The worst effect on me has no doubt been the effect on my fertility.
We tried five IVF cycles with my own dwindling supply of eggs with four failures and one miscarriage. Emotionally having to grieve for never being able to have a genetic child was the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I felt like I was old before my time and less of a woman for not being able to do something that was so natural for others. Eventually we made the decision to use donated eggs, and with the help of science I am now delighted to be a mum to my 2.5 year old, Mila and my 1 year old twins, Eska and Lena.
I don’t feel that there is enough support in society for women going through the menopause. There is still such a taboo with it, as well as infertility and IVF. There is still so much that needs to be done to enable conversations, especially in the workplace. Having worked in HR I never saw any support offered to those experiencing menopausal symptoms, something that could make a huge difference to women having to work through this sometimes challenging time. Also, I’d hardly heard about anyone experiencing early menopause and so I felt very much like I was the only one experiencing this – there definitely needs to be more conversation about this too. This is why I’m keen to start some conversations through my blog, Instagram account and Facebook page.
You can find me on my social channels here:
Blog – www.definingmum.com
Instagram – @definingmum
Facebook – Defining Mum