Westminster Diary by Rachel Maclean MP
THERE are many aspects of life that we can control, or at least try to, but every woman will go through the menopause at some stage, because it’s a natural process.
As a society we have made great strides in ending long-standing taboos. However, the menopause remains the silent ghost we often daren’t talk about in public. This needs to change.
There is no shame in talking about the menopause. It affects every woman and every man who lives or works with a woman. Let me share my experience with you.
When I hit my fifties, my migraines, always a blight on my life, intensified. Because I didn’t suffer from any of the other menopause symptoms such as the classic hot flushes or night sweats that were about the extent of my knowledge, I assumed I either had something sinister wrong with me or that this was just something I had to suck up.
Because this coincided with a major life change as I started as a Member of Parliament, I also put a lot of it down to stress and pure exhaustion.
Frankly, I was somewhat in denial that menopause could be affecting me – I’d always prided myself on my resilience to almost every ailment!
As I started to reach out to women who are already active champions and professional experts on the menopause, I discovered some true horror stories. Successful women, at the peak of their careers, having to leave their jobs because they suffered from treatable side effects of menopause.
And a complete lack of empathy across workplaces and in society.
How can this be happening in 2018? I was staggered and appalled.
So, I am now on a mission to bring this issue higher up the agenda of Government. Last week in Parliament I launched my menopause awareness campaign.
To kick things off, I’m focusing my efforts on three areas: health, education and business.
These are things that I believe are achievable within Government. If we can make progress here, it will be transformative.
The response to my campaign has been overwhelming. Health professionals, menopause experts and so many women have contacted me, all relieved the menopause is finally being talked about in Parliament.
I’m keen to connect with others and to do what I can to highlight other concerns. So please drop me a line. I’m not an expert, I’m still learning, and so I welcome all input!