On Tuesday, World Menopause Day, a response sergeant in the UK, who has been in the job for 20 + years, married to a detective of 18 years. feels strongly on this topic and has shared his thoughts on the impact of menopause. He aims to promote a better understanding to all, highlighting both his and his wife’s experiences navigating through the transition of menopause and the real effects it can have on daily life at home and in the workplace.
I've been in the job since January 2002 and my wife has served since September 2004. We initially started working at opposite ends of the county then I transferred to her area in 2007. We have been married for eight years and we have two daughters, aged 11 and nine.
“I'm currently a sergeant and my wife works in the CID. With two daughters who still need to be watched, it's a struggle and it's a juggle. We're not in a job which is very forgiving as we're both in reactive roles.”
He explained how he brought up the initial conversation on menopause with his wife: “Things were no longer the same and there seemed to be arguments where we didn’t really know what we were arguing about.
“After I had surgery, I was at the rehabilitation centre, and there was a menopause talk which I decided to go and sit in, and I noticed it was full of male colleagues. The nurse who was taking the session was going through the signs and the symptoms and as she was speaking, I was ticking all the boxes, thinking, that’s what my wife is going through.
“You don't really want to go back to your partner, especially your partner who's not of a certain age and say, ‘do you reckon you could be going through the change?’ It's not an easy conversation to have, but I thought for the sake of my marriage, I must mention it.”
He explained how his wife had initially gone for a blood test, and it came back normal but when she went back in 2020, the results confirmed she was going through menopause.
“It was just that initial shock, she's not even 40. Because I'm a man, it’s not something I really thought of. I was expecting it to happen maybe when she is in her 50s and onwards, not in her late 30s.
“In 2016, she called me one day in a panic saying she couldn’t breathe, and I rushed home and she had no colour in her face. This is when the symptoms were starting to show. When she had the blood come back in 2020, that answered a few questions, but that meant really, we had four years of no diagnosis, going unmedicated and untreated. It's really had a detrimental effect on her,” he added.
“It was a relief when we figured out what we were dealing with. It was also affecting her work life because she was experiencing so many symptoms like memory loss, and sometimes she struggles to form words.
“I strongly believe we do not understand menopause fully. I believe we're aware of it, but I just don't think we know it affects different women at different ages and in different guises. As her husband, I am constantly worried and trying to make sure she has everything she always needs,” he said.
He highlighted how workplaces must put more measures in place to be able to support those who are experiencing menopause and feels it is currently being overlooked.
“Unlike any other condition, you do not get an end date with menopause and that plays on your mind, not knowing how long this will affect you,” he added.
“The menopause is something which could affect every woman in your work. With everyone having to work until they are 60 and beyond, there's a high chance that every woman in our organisation is going to go through it. We need more training, especially for managers, on how to help those who are going through menopause.”
Speaking on what more could be done in the workplace, he advises people need to show more empathy and understanding.
“When someone goes through menopause, it manifests differently in everyone, and you can’t dictate how this condition will affect the individual. However, if the individual presents their symptoms to you, you cannot compare with other people who went through it because everyone’s symptoms are different. We need to be clued up and do our best to help those who are experiencing menopause.”