My Personal Advice for you and your kids for getting through Menopause successfully, together.
Happy Mother’s Day! If you are Mother as well as a Meno, you are a superwoman in my books. Two huge journeys in any woman’s life, and today it’s all about you!
Being a mother has been one of my life’s proudest adventures and achievements but, let’s be real, it does not come without its challenges! Being a mum is hard, especially in this day and age when more expectations are put upon women. I had always been able to strike a good balance, making sure I could continue to pursue my interests and career whilst bringing up my daughter, but when my menopause hit it shook the very core of my confidence, including my ability to be the best mum. I felt I was failing my daughter Anaïs, and for her it was all so confusing and upsetting to see me struggling so much.
Fortunately, we were able to work through together, making our relationship even closer and stronger. I know for many mums going through menopause, whether your kids are younger or grown up, you have those same feelings of failure and fear. That’s the last thing you deserve when you are going through so much and have given so much to be the best parent to your children.
This Mother’s Day I was thinking of what I could give to you to help thrive through menopause and motherhood. So here it is: my personal tips from living and breathing it for you and your kids to help you have the best relationship whatever the menopause throws at you.
These tips are not just for you to do either: relationships are a two way street! There are things your children can do too. There’s no better day than today to share this with them, read it together or leave it out for them. I really hope these help you as they did me to take the next step towards the most fulfilling mumhood in your menopause.
MY TIPS FOR YOU
Talking is always the first step
My main mission with Megsmenopause is to help more women talk about menopause. If more women spoke out about the experience, we could reduce the stigma, educate women that what they are experiencing or will experience is explainable and can be supported and relieved, and would help so many women to have much more fulfilling lives whilst going through menopause. Talking about it also applies to your kids. If you can explain the situation to them, get your feelings and the reality of your situation out in the open, it helps them to understand better and be more mindful of it on the daily. If you can take it one step further and tell them what they could do to help you or make you feel supported, it could go a huge way to making your life as a mother with menopause easier. Don’t be afraid to do this: it made life for me so much easier, and even if you are sceptical that your children will be responsive, what have you got to lose by trying?
Schedule me time
I cannot stress enough how important this is. I know its hard, especially when you have young kids and they constantly need your attention, but making even the smallest amount of time for me was a game changer in helping me manage my symptoms, feel better and then have the headspace to be the best mum I could be. I found me time in exercise: a short burst every day gave me a fantastic release of endorphins to make me feel good, but also gave me a break from my head and thoughts, and after a time it relieved a number of my symptoms because my body was stronger and more resilient. It could be 15 minutes with a book, your favourite show or a quick bath – find something that works for you and schedule it every week. It will help you reset and be ready to take on the next menopause or motherhood challenge about to be thrown at you.
Taking it out on your children will just drive them away
The fluctuation and depleting hormones and the loss of control over the changes going on in your body can be directly responsible for mood swings and depressive feelings. When it then comes to dealing with both the challenges but also even the simplest of day to day aspects of being a parent, if you are feeling hormonal already you may find yourself getting upset or argumentative over tiny things or even for no reason with your kids. In the moment its really hard to pull back, but if you find yourself starting to have those feeling of anger or frustration, step away from the conversation. Take a breath – if you need to come back to it, you can, but you can never take back a cross word or an argument. This can leave your children feeling confused and make them feel more distant from you, so its always best to take that step back to stop you and your kids feeling negative.
If you really cannot talk to your kids about it, make sure you have someone you can
Ideally there would always be a way to hep your children get a greater understanding of what you are going through. If you feel that is just a step too far and you cannot bridge that gap, at least ensure that you have the complete support of someone else that you can turn to. I really do think the worst thing in menopause is feeling alone and that no one understands you – it makes everything you are trying to deal with so much worse. Even if you don’t have a partner or friends you can turn to, there are some amazing online support groups including our Instagram community @megsmenopause, where you can DM us, join a IG live or share a comment on a post and we will always respond. Remember, you are never alone.
MY TIPS FOR YOUR CHILDREN.
These are probably most suitable for a teenager or adult child that you can have a more adult conversation with. Why not send them to them (we have a new handy share function on every article now) without an explanation and just let them have a read in their own time. You never know how it could help you and them to start understanding and supporting better.
Reach Out – Yes you!
For me, this is the most important thing another person can can do when it comes to supporting any loved one through menopause. Unfortunately because menopause is so stigmated it is however one of the last things that actually happens. The majority of women going through menopause feel ashamed, embarrassed, confused, scared or even all those emotions, and that’s a pretty daunting place to be. What you have to bear in mind is that if they are feeling that way, they may not make the first move when it comes to talking about it, so why don’t you reach out?
Seek to understand
Its really important to realise that for most women menopause is not simply a ‘hot flush’ or your periods stopping. Far from it, and it really angers me when I hear loved ones making presumptions and belittling the symptoms and challenges of what it is to be menopausal. Menopause is a complex and constant myriad of symptoms from mild to extremely debilitating, and no one but the person going through it can judge the extent of it. If you can understand better what your mother is going through and recognise the signs of when they are struggling you can best support them. This starts with listening. Be kind, be concerned and listen: give them the assurance of knowing you aren’t judging, you simply want to understand and support. It will take that pressure and any concerns about the stigma of it off their shoulders.
Lift the mood, but don’t belittle the issue
When it comes to menopause, most women take it incredibly seriously. Sometimes too seriously, because fear kicks in and it can make the experience of menopause far worst than it actually is. You have a great power to be able to take that fear away by lifting your mother’s mood and taking their mind of their menopause problems. If you see your mother struggling, being able to lighten the situation by not getting defensive and keeping the atmosphere relaxed and calm can really help your mum. It alleviates the constant pressure and guilt they feel by letting them know you are ok. A little joke or reminder that the their brain fog or out of character reaction is just their symptoms can break the tension and make them feel so much better, but be careful not to trivialise their symptoms. Brushing how they feel off could make them feel you don’t care or that their feelings don’t matter.
Happy Mother’s Day, Menos. Love Meg x