Embracing midlife is about celebrating success, cherishing wisdom, and laughing at the little ‘blips’ along the way – and no two women know that better than podcasters (and long-time friends) Trish Halpin and Lorraine Candy. This is their take on what it means to be menopausal.
Lorraine: I’m Lorraine Candy.
Trish: I’m Trish Halpin. We’re the hosts of the podcast Postcards From Midlife.
Lorraine: And we’re both former glossy magazine editors.
Trish: We’ve been friends for a very long time. We had our families at the same time and we’ve climbed up the career together, so we decided to launch a podcast.
Lorraine: We’ve ploughed everything into this podcast and talked to well-known, high-profile experts and celebrities about midlife.
Trish: We both felt that something wasn’t right; that we weren’t the women we used to be. We were women who had big careers, businesses, busy family lives and we knew what we were doing. Then, over a few years, we felt like we couldn’t cope anymore.
Lorraine: For me, the perimenopause was a horrible shock. It was something I didn’t expect, hadn’t read about and didn’t know about, even though I was a journalist. It really knocked me for six. I couldn’t sleep. I had terrible night sweats. I even had panic attacks, which I’d never experienced before. It just hit me out of nowhere.
Trish: It was really debilitating to try to work out what was going on. We put it down to stress, age, being overwhelmed, but little did we know that all of those emotional and mental problems were part of perimenopause.
Lorraine: The worst thing was that I felt terribly alone. It was as if I was going through it completely on my own, and there was something so very wrong with me. I felt that I couldn’t interact with my four kids. I wasn’t getting on with my husband. I wasn’t as efficient as I wanted to be at work – and I was such a super-efficient, energetic person. Suddenly, I wasn’t that person anymore, and that to me felt incredibly unfair. It wasn’t until we started the podcast that we realised that millions of women are going through this, but your confidence dips so much that you don’t want to talk about it. Who wants to admit that they’re not able to do their work as well, when they’ve been so successful? You don’t want to share that. You feel a little bit ashamed of yourself.
Trish: Our generation had the idea that menopause was hot flushes and feeling a bit odd. We had no idea of the extent that it would change our sense of self. Oestrogen is like the oil in your engine. In your forties, it starts to decline – and that’s what causes this myriad of feelings. However, after making lifestyle, diet and exercise changes, I feel fitter, stronger and healthier in my early fifties than I ever have.
Lorraine: Find that little bit of adventure in life, even if you’re going through terrible things.
Trish: Midlife can be one of the most magnificent stages of life. You’ve done the hard work, you’ve got so many lived experiences, and you’ve got so much knowledge. Yes, there are a few blips along the road, but with the right help you can get through it.
Lorraine: Approach menopause with a positive mindset. You can feel liberated and much more comfortable in your own skin when you get to midlife.