Speaking out about menopause in my community and at work
When Meera started to develop symptoms of menopause at the age of 40, she didn’t know where to turn for advice. She’s since implemented free menopause training to support women in the workplace and is committed to opening up the conversation about menopause in South Asian communities.
“In South Asian culture there’s no word for ‘menopause’, and female health is very much a taboo subject. So when I tried to talk to my mother about the new symptoms I was experiencing, she dismissed my concerns. Even though I had just turned 40, my hair was thinning, my skin was changing, my periods were debilitating and erratic, my joints ached, and I lacked energy. I didn’t recognise myself at all as I’d always been super active, busy and living life to the fullest. I found that I was no longer able to do things that were normal for me, and I was losing my confidence. I spoke to my GP, who said I was too young for the menopause and offered me antidepressants. I didn’t know where to turn.
In the end, it was my yoga teacher who linked my symptoms to menopause. So I went on a mission to learn more, and used my new-found knowledge to change my diet and lifestyle. I learned that my risk of osteoporosis was increasing, so I started doing resistance training, and I focused on eating the foods that were most beneficial to me. I also developed a love for weight training. As a result, I’m now stronger, fitter, healthier and leaner than I was in my 20s and 30s.
After everything I went through, I’m passionate about opening up the conversation about menopause, particularly in South Asian communities where it’s just not spoken about. I’ve also implemented free HR training on menopause at the nursery I run. I’ve also developed other staff initiatives, such as appointing a menopause champion, offering flexible and home working for those experiencing peri/menopause, and providing wellness baskets in the bathrooms.
I think it’s so important to champion menopause warriors in the workplace and ensure that there’s a supportive and inclusive atmosphere. If all businesses could implement menopause training, I believe that staff would be better placed to support their co-workers and help more women to have a positive experience of menopause.”