MENOPAUSAL MAYHEM MOTHER
The first woman I'd like to introduce you to as part of my 40 OVER 40 project is very wonderful Emma Skeates, AKA the Menopausal Mayhem Mother whose blog, all about life as a woman of a certain age, is keeping other women sane! With October being the month of World Menopause Day, I thought Emma would be the perfect person to kick start the project.
I stumbled across Emma by accident one day whilst scrolling mindlessly through Facebook and found myself cracking up at her tales of menopausal misfortune. It was just what I needed having recently worked out that I too was in the throes of this very weird time!
I photographed Emma at her house and we hit it off straight away, laughing the whole time I was there! She was also generous enough to appear as a guest on my podcast Dear Hormones sharing some of her madder menopausal moments with myself and co-host Kate Bauss.
Emma has been generous enough to answer a few questions for me about the joys of growing older and I think when you read her answers you'll see why I decided that her photo had to be a montage like this - so many sides to this one!
The second photograph below this montage is one of my favourites. Sitting on the sofa (which will be so familiar to her thousands of followers) where she does so many of her Facebook and Instagram lives, talking openly and honestly about life as a menopausal woman.
Emma has paved the way for many more women to share stories about the menopause and for that I can't thank her enough. The more we talk about it, the better it's going to be for everyone.
What advice would you give 20 year old you?
I would tell her to be brave. To believe in herself and allow herself to make as many mistakes as she needs to. There are only two things in life that are irreversible : becoming a parent and death. Everything else can change, and invariably will! Nothing stays the same, both good and bad. So take every chance that comes your way. If your plans go awry, it’s ok! If your life’s dreams dissolve, it’s ok! You are where you should be 100% of the time and just keep embracing the good and bad waves and remember, no-one is perfect and if they are, they’re lying!
Best thing about getting older?
The best thing about getting older is knowledge and self-belief. You have survived 100% of each and every one of your worst days, weeks and months and that makes you pretty bloody amazing. You must embrace getting older because you have invariably done the tough stuff. There will be more, but the older you get and the further into life’s journey, you will realise that you are more than capable of not only surviving but thriving. That can only be achieved with experience.
What has the menopause meant to you?
Honestly? Freedom! I went into the menopause surgically at 44. At first the anxiety, the hot flushes and the insomnia were frightening, but I did my research and more importantly, I reached out to other women through my blog, and I got some amazing solutions and advice. I decided to change my outlook on this new chapter – be positive! No more periods, no more fears of unwanted pregnancies, a new beginning.
Any words of wisdom for women out there?
DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE! We are all in this together and there IS information out there. Firstly, HRT is your friend. It is NOT dangerous, it is protective. It is now bio-identical which means it is exactly the same as the hormones that your body would have produced. If you can, take it. Be positive. Laugh at yourself! Some of the things that occur with the menopause are seriously funny, the brain fog, the memory loss, annoying? No, sometimes hilarious. USE the menopause as your cast iron excuse and alibi for everything you get wrong! Be menopausal and proud. It’s not an illness or a disease, it’s a new beginning and there are some amazing supplements out there that get rid of 99% of the negative symptoms (I take LYMA.life – not cheap, but a total game changer) Embrace this new phase and join groups that talk about the menopause positively and give some excellent advice on how to deal with some of the down times. It does pass but whilst you are in it, embrace the good stuff!
Does age matter?
Absolutely not! I am 53 and feel 23. The more I smile and fall over, forget things and laugh at myself, the younger I feel. Just enjoying your new found lunacy and knowing what you know makes you pretty darn special and I feel deeply privileged to have made it to this point considering what a reprobate I have been over the past 40 years! I fully intend to grow older disgracefully.
Plans for retirement?
Idris Elba. If he isn’t up to the mark, then Tom Hardy.
What would you say to women who stress about looking older?
Women who worry about wrinkles and flabby tummies? STOP! We are not designed to look younger as we get older. STOP comparing yourself to the seemingly “perfect women” – they are spending way too much time on their physical appearance which tells you that they are possibly unhappy with themselves on the inside. If you want to get control of your newfound roll of fat around your middle, simply cut out all starchy carbs and anything sugary – insulin is not your friend. Eat a little less often and try and fast a bit. Keep drinking wine, it makes you happy and less in need of comfort eating 😊 and remember, you are beautiful whatever you look like, because if you haven’t learned by now that beauty is not on the outside, then it’s time to start. Follow my blog if you want to see what real menopausal women look like and how amazing they are. Being perfect is DULL! Be YOU!
Sum yourself up in 3 words.
Catastrophic. Mad. Happy
Anything else you’d like to say about the joys of being older and wiser?
Now’s the time to stop giving a damn about what everyone else thinks and start believing in YOU. People will always judge, steer clear of those who do. Surround yourself with like minded, imperfect souls who are REAL and make you feel better about who you are. As soon as you let your guard down and start letting the good people see who you are, flaws ‘en all, you will reach a new level of awesome and you will be totally liberated. I am 53, got no waist whatsoever, a perfect set of breasts on my back now, along with the saggy ones on my front. I have laughter lines and one of my eyebrows is leaving my face! I often forget my own name and as for my kids’ names, well they have got used to being called totally different ones. But I am damned if I am going to spend the rest of my life worrying about ageing – why? It’s a part of life and it’s bloody great fun! Change the way you think about this. Can you change it? No. So, grab life by the ***** and start living. We get one life, live it.
Emma, I love you! Thank you so much for these words of wisdom. Idris Elba would do me nicely too if you don't manage to bag him first.
And if you fancy a good laugh, check out my podcast Dear Hormones where my co-host Kate Bauss and I read letters from women fessing up to all the things they've said and done whilst under the influence of their hormones!