World Menopause Awareness Day 2020
World Menopause Day was held on Sunday 18th October to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving the wellbeing of women who face health issues when approaching, during and beyond the menopause.
At MBDA we recognise the impact that the menopause can have on those experiencing it, inside and outside of the workplace, and we strive to ensure these colleagues feel empowered and supported during this time.
Our employee-led network, Menopause Matters @ MBDA, was set up to do just this. By hosting information sessions, open to all, and providing advice and support for those affected, the network offers a friendly space to share experiences and factual up to date evidence based information. And in acknowledgment of World Menopause Day, every day this week Menopause Matters are sharing a mix of employee written and external contributor blogs to their internal community page covering a range of stories, from navigating Surgical Menopause after cancer, to dealing with a Premature Ovarian Insufficiency diagnosis at just age 15.
To recognise World Menopause Day we had a chat to Sophie in our UK Support Function team, who was the driving force behind Menopause Matters @ MBDA:
"“You’re too young to be in menopause”.
Aged 32 I was thrown into surgical menopause within hours of having a total hysterectomy and both ovaries removed. I felt so ill prepared. No aftercare was given, no post-operative follow up, no counselling and no support. As the months passed I really struggled both at work and at home. Absolutely exhausted by the unrelenting hot flushes and night sweats, anxiety, heart palpitations and brain fog. In a matter of days I lost my confidence, I’d lost ‘me’.
Experiencing menopause in my thirties, at a time where most of my friends were having babies, I felt alone, isolated and embarrassed about my symptoms. This led me to begin research into menopause care in the UK and I quickly learned that Menopause understanding and support was distinctly lacking, out of date and in some cases, non-existent.
I learned that women find managing their symptoms at work the most challenging. Insomnia, fatigue and brain fog, along with the other 31 menopause symptoms can mean confidence is replaced with self-doubt. 1 in 4 women consider leaving work altogether due to symptoms arising from menopause. I decided to reach out to HR and suggested setting up a Menopause community which led to the beginning of Menopause Matters. MBDA recognised that we needed to champion an open environment where conversation about menopause is normalised and does not carry stigma or embarrassment.
Our goal is to ensure Menopause is acknowledged and understood within MBDA by ensuring those experiencing it feel empowered and supported. Nervous about about discussing Menopause at work, I was incredibly relieved when HR and my line manager were not only understanding and supportive but keen to make adjustments so I felt more comfortable and able to thrive in the workplace."
The theme of this year’s World Menopause Day 2020 is ‘POI - Premature ovarian Insufficiency’. POI is the term used when Menopause occurs below the age of 40— when you’re still in your teens, 20s, 30s. To find out more the Daisy Network is dedicated to providing information and support to women diagnosed with Premature Ovarian insufficiency and is an excellent resource.