Empowering Communities

Menopause Matters – Summer 2024

A recent Menopause Awareness event was held in the market town of Reepham in Norfolk and its organiser, Rose, recounts its powerful message.

For many women, menopause is often seen as a distant milestone, something that will happen ‘someday’ without much thought given to its complexities. This was certainly the case for Rose, a 43-year-old mother of three, until a conversation with a friend opened her eyes to the multitude of symptoms and challenges that accompany this natural transition. Feeling lost in a sea of conflicting information, she embarked on a mission to bring clarity and support to her community in the town of Reepham, Norfolk. Here is her account of the event.

“Inspired by my own journey, I organised a menopause awareness event in our little market town of Reepham. My key focus was to make this about the community and the resources we have on our doorstep by inviting local specialists and community members to come together and learn.

“Held at Reepham Primary School, the event welcomed over 70 attendees, including teachers and parents eager to gain insight into this often overlooked stage of life. My aim was to make this a free, and cost neutral event by encouraging local suppliers to donate their time and expertise, which I’m pleased to say was achieved.

The evening kicked off with a mindfulness practice led by Louise Goldsmith, an Integrative Psychotherapeutic Counsellor who bases herself out of The Bircham Centre in Reepham. This was great in setting the tone for an evening of introspection and discovery. Louise also read The Guest House by Rumi which offered some points of reflection.

The main speakers of the evening were Dr Emily Cary and Dr Susanne Ahlund from Norfolk Menopause, based in Norwich. Norfolk Menopause is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and care for individuals experiencing menopause. Their team, consisting of three GPs and two gynaecologists, offer a holistic approach to patient care. Dr Cary and Dr Ahlund delivered an informative presentation covering topics such as the stages of menopause, common symptoms, and the benefits and risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

We spent the latter half of the evening in smaller groups where the specialists, local to Reepham, shared their expertise and experiences.

Food for thought

Sharon Plummer, a Women’s Wellness Coach, delved into the crucial role of nutrition during menopause, emphasising the importance of nourishing both the body and mind. She encouraged attendees to: “Eat for your brain, bones, and gut,” highlighting the significance of a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients.

Emma Power, a Pilates instructor, shared her expertise on the benefits of exercise during menopause, focusing on how Pilates can improve strength, flexibility, and overall well-being. Her practical tips resonated with 56 many attendees, inspiring them to prioritise movement as part of their self-care routines.

Louise Goldsmith, Integrative Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, took the stage to discuss the importance of mental health support during the menopausal transition. Drawing from her own practice, she highlighted the role of counselling in helping women navigate the emotional ups and downs that often accompany this stage of life.

“ Coming together and sharing parts of our lives, that we often put aside or feel hesitant to share, only makes us stronger and more compassionate as a society.”

Julie Taggart, a Natural Body Therapist, rounded out the evening with insights into holistic approaches to menopause management. Through her gentle therapies, such as Myofascial Release, she reminded attendees of the importance of nurturing their bodies and spirits during this transformative time.

In addition to the enlightening presentations, guests were treated to a delightful spread of cakes generously donated by Bread Source in Reepham. These sweet treats provided a moment of indulgence and camaraderie during the break, further enhancing the sense of community and connection among attendees.

Each attendee also took home a thoughtful goody bag, containing items designed to support their menopausal journey. The bags included a copy of Menopause Matters magazine, providing valuable insights and information, as well as samples of Ancient and Brave collagen and Dr Wolff’s V-san, offering opportunities to explore new products and approaches to well-being.

Reflecting on the success of the event, I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback from the community. Attendees expressed gratitude for the opportunity to learn and connect with others who shared similar experiences. Quotes like: “Thank you for organising such an informative evening” and “A truly outstanding event that has forged relationships with women in the local community” underscored the impact of the gathering.

I believe many participants left with a newfound understanding of menopause and perhaps even insights into their own personal journeys. Whether it was gaining insight into holistic self-care approaches or feeling empowered to ask questions in a supportive, non-judgmental space, the event provided valuable knowledge and a sense of solidarity.

In a world where women’s health too often takes a backseat, events like these serve as powerful reminders of the importance of education, connection, and advocacy.

We have strength in our communities, and it’s tapping into this that inspires me. Coming together and sharing parts of our lives, that we often put aside or feel hesitant to share, only makes us stronger and more compassionate as a society.

I find myself now pondering the theme for the next community event!

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