"There should be no stigma or shame attached to menopause."
Former Olympian, Michelle Griffith-Robinson is supporting the Menopause Workplace Pledge campaign.
Now a life coach and personal trainer, Michelle was 48 when she started noticing changes in her mood and libido, and learnt she was perimenopausal.
Michelle shares why she supports the campaign.
It was about 2019 when I began experiencing things like irrational mood swings, forgetfulness and anxiety like I’ve never faced before. I was literally jumping up in the middle of the night panicking about something that hadn’t even happened.
We know the statistics say that the menopause average age is 51, but perimenopause can happen much earlier. I’m in the perimenopausal phase, but you can still go somewhere and all of a sudden you have to check yourself for confidence and start to second guess yourself.
I also started having dips in my libido so that was something I had to find out more about and have open and honest conversations with my husband. Fortunately, it seems to be in waves, but there’s definitely a drop in hormones throughout the month.
‘We need more conversations’
There should be no stigma or shame attached to menopause. Women are suffering and why should we suffer?
I think it's really important to have a campaign that supports people at work. Women make up around half of the population, so why are we not supported on something that is going to affect each and every one of us at some point, if we're lucky enough to get to that age? We should feel supported.
We need women to be informed about where they can get help from. When we’re feeling absolutely fatigued or have poor concentration we don’t need people passing it off or making us feel inadequate.
There are so many things you notice with your skin, your immunity, your muscle. I hear women talking about hair loss. We need to get together and get the companies out there to start recognising it and acting on it.
We need more companies to come out and say, ’Okay, I understand. Now, how can we help?’
‘Owning the journey’
I’m out there as a life coach presenting workshops and I make allowances for myself now. I tell people that I’m excellent at this subject but if I forget a few things it’s because I’m perimenopausal. I'm putting it out there and owning that journey, letting everybody else know, and taking away the stigma from the perimenopause and menopause.
And actually, in doing that, it can help empower others to speak up and say, ‘you know what? I'm feeling exactly the same.’
There's no shame in that and the fact you can own that almost allows you to relax a little more and get support along the way.
‘We need to look after ourselves’
Keeping fit, keeping healthy, eating well, doing my best to try to sleep as well as I can, and taking vitamins every day helps me with the perimenopause.
As women, we're always willing to put everything before ourselves, but in order for us to be at our peak performance, to be high performing women, we need to look after ourselves.
I want women of all colours, all backgrounds, to access the correct information about the menopause so they can make informed decisions to improve their lives and have the best life they can.
Michelle Griffith-Robinson supports the Menopause Workplace Pledge campaign to get more employers to support their staff going through menopause. Find out more about the campaign.