Explaining The Unexplainable.

Explaining The Unexplainable.

Lately I have felt all over the place. One day I feel I’ve regained a little control, the next, is like trying to ride a horse that has no legs. But I cannot get over this overwhelming anxiety that seems to have really come to the surface over the last few weeks.

Interestingly I recently changed my HRT to an oestrogen patch and progesterone pill, therefore I do wonder whether this is having a huge impact on my physical and psychological state.

But how do you differentiate YOUR feelings to the feelings that the HRT may be influencing? If my natural feelings are off will this influence the HRT? I just don’t know.

I feel like a crumb of my former self. Which I can only explain as being totally heart wrenching. When my diagnosis came out last April I was so prepared to get ‘on top’ of it all and naively assumed that within a few months I would have ‘it’ (whatever that may be) under control. But the truth is I’ve never felt more out of control.

The biggest problem I face though is trying to explain the day to day feelings I get to those who I love. Because obviously this impacts them too. However, as many women who are experiencing the same as I will know, the impact on them is not even a scratch compared to the impact it has on us, on me.

So explaining why my mood changes or feelings change so dramatically is so difficult and upsetting when I don’t even know why……. it is unexplainable.

Naturally we seek answers for things we do not understand. My diagnosis has no apparent cause they told me, I seek answers to something I may never find the real truth to everyday. And that, is particularly hard for others to grasp, no matter how hard they may try. It’s always the unexpected that may trigger this feeling of ‘shit why is this happening to me?’. It is very draining to try and understand that sometimes things just happen. But to be honest ‘things just happen’ is a HUGE patronisation compared to what actually happens day to day for someone going through early menopause and infertility.

What is the right thing to do?

In love, in career, in life?

I simply just do not know. And do you know why?

Because I can’t explain it.


Mental Health Awareness Week – Menopause.

Mental Health Awareness Week – Menopause.

As it is Mental Health Awareness Week it just seems appropriate to divulge a little into how Menopause can affect ones mental health.

Obviously women experience menopause differently. Some women I have spoken to ‘sailed through’ their menopause, whilst others have found it to be one of the most testing times of their lives. Some women experience this huge empowerment, almost like a rebirth of themselves, others may feel nothing but emptiness and desperation.

Of course this all changes even more so when you are experiencing menopause at a younger age. I am by no means trying to take away the impact menopause has on someone who is at the ‘average’ age of menopause, but there does have to be acknowledgement that early menopause/premature ovarian failure can carry so many more psychological ‘side effects’.

Menopause can also be extremely embarrassing which negatively contributes to poor mental health. Memory loss, irregular bleeding, confusion, lack of sex drive, vaginal dryness, hot flushes, weight fluctuations, depression are just some of the effects women face during this time of change. And don’t forget this can have a huge impact on friends and families too. Marriages have ended because of menopause, friendships (including some of mine) have ended because of menopause, or rather because of a complete lack of understanding, both about yourself and others about you. I have found premature menopause to be one of the loneliest, isolating experiences of my life. Again this is hugely down to having it so young, at an age where my reproductive system should be in its prime! I have noticed a huge change in my mental health over the last 12 months and even beyond that when my menopause was happening but was undiagnosed. I have had to make changes in the way I live my life and more importantly how I manage my stress and my mental health. I can remember some days where I wanted nothing more than to just die. I have since found that this can be very common when experiencing menopause, as the hormone imbalance and significant changes in mood just send you into the unknown. I used to ask myself, is this really me talking? or is it my menopause talking? then I wondered, who actually am I?

The ‘change’ is exactly that, it CHANGED me.

Infertility is a MASSIVE heart wrenching impact of menopause. Women are gradually becoming older mothers, so even starting menopause in your mid 40’s may come as a shock if you are still expecting to have a child. If like me you are even younger than this, it really is a massive LIFE CHANGING experience, future dreams and plans are smashed in minutes. At 27 (26 at diagnosis) I do not really know how I feel regarding my infertility. Some days I feel ok with it, others it’s like my heart has been ripped out. I just simply do not know.

Recently I was approached by my local paper regarding IVF cuts in my area. Although presently I have no plans to have IVF, I feel so passionate about it because I have witnessed and heard from many women and men who are devastated by infertility and the NHS cuts. It could be debated forever what NHS funding should be prioritised for, but in my opinion if we do not speak out for what we are passionate about, we may as well expect failure. So I was willing to at least try to raise awareness. Overall the response was fantastic and supportive, of course some disagree and that is fine, but a couple of readers were particularly vile and said some of the most unforgiving comments about infertility. I have also witnessed this online before where I have seen a young woman bullied because she expressed how a video of a woman disrespecting her children made her feel angry as she understands the loss you feel when you cannot have children. One comment read ‘Go and talk to your other infertile friends whilst the rest of us make babies……..’


Fortunately I reached out to this woman and she is now able to feel supported by other women within a support group who face the same childless future. (see below for organisation details)

I have also witnessed men and women disrespect menopause on many occasions. For example, I once overheard someone say “Oh you don’t want to go to that session, it’s riddled with menopausal women…..” This makes it even harder for us to look after our mental health when women are bullied for experiencing menopause. Which is just baffling as it is something that happens to every single woman in their lifetime.

I feel one of the hardest things for me is trying to explain to others how I feel, especially if I may look fine. This can also be because a lot of the time I do not actually know why I feel the way I do. As a master of disguise it not always easy to tell with me if I am feeling significantly unwell or having a bad menopausal day. I wake up, apply make up and do my hair like any other day, yet inside I am aching, hurting and mentally feel so drained. I show up to events, work, wherever and nobody would know what is really happening inside. Sometimes, my legs feel like they have weights attached to them and just walking to and from my car feels like a marathon, yet nobody would know. Having a lack of oestrogen at any age is difficult to live with, but when you are younger it feels like life has placed a huge brick wall to anything you may usually do or want to do. Therefore, when someone may ask ‘why haven’t you done this…..’ especially in the work environment, it is extremely frustrating to try to explain how you feel INSIDE.

When tears stream down your face and you cannot find the reason as to why, it is such a massive mental head fuck because what can you say? Why do you feel this way? What can you do about it? Usually the answer is just to ‘ride it out’ and hope that your hormones balance as the day goes on. The obvious response is to talk to someone about it, but this can be difficult when there is such a taboo still regarding menopause, however I feel this is slowly improving and in particular the media have started to report on menopause a lot more. I have found meditation can help too, particularly before bed, keeping a journal too can improve your mental health and help release some of those emotions menopause brings.

Lack of control, research and uncertainty also play a role in how menopause affects our mental health.

“Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) causes cancer…..”

“If you do not take HRT, you are at risk of osteoporosis and heart failure….”

I was told this during the same appointment. So imagine the confusion and stress this can cause somebody who is already facing a huge shock. I was then discharged and have been left to seek the answers on my own. What are women to do when information is so contradicting? What are women meant to do when given two sentences like that in the same minute? What are women to do to ensure their mental health isn’t negatively affected by menopause?…..

I feel extremely fortunate to feel in a different, yet more secure place than I was perhaps 12 months ago. However, some days still feel uncertain, but that’s menopause! The most important message I want to share is, if every woman no matter what age or circumstance experiences menopause in their lifetime, why aren’t we all a little kinder about it? A little more understanding and educating others about it? Why have we STILL got such a huge mountain to climb when it comes to understanding menopause and what we can do to benefit our mental health, our lives?!

If there is one positive I could share with you right now, it is that in a very unexplainable, unimaginable way, I do actually feel fortunate to be going through menopause so young. Because if it means I can play a part in breaking the taboo and shifting the way we see menopause, particularly by reassuring women they are not alone then that is just simply amazing.

Steph X



Me – no – pause

Me – no – pause

Me = no = pause……

Anyone else feel that they need a break?

I have felt so stressed, exhausted and emotional this week it is unreal. To be honest I have felt this way for a long time but recently it has reached a new high. There is just no rest.

No matter how much sleep I get, I still feel I haven’t slept. No matter how good my day is, I still feel low. No matter how calm I am, I still feel rage. I have never wanted to tell people to fuck off so much in my life. The logical side of my brain is saying ‘shut up don’t be so stupid’, but I just can’t stop ‘ovaryacting’ to everything and everyone. Today my laptop cable fell on the floor as I was trying to pack it, rather than just pick it up I stood there, cried a little and wished out loud that someone would help me, just pick it up for me, because I feel too exhausted to even do that. Of course this example is just a small amount of icing on what seems to be a humongous cake full of shit. There is no way of telling when these mixed emotions will stop or calm down. I wake up everyday never knowing where my hormones will take me that day.

It is amazing how your hormones can make you feel like a stranger to yourself.

There is such a lack of empathy and too much ignorance about the menopause. And if there is this lack of reaction to menopause in general, then there is even less of a reaction regarding premature ovarian failure. This makes it near impossible to explain to others what you are going through and harder for others to empathise with you when there is just not enough information about it. I will never understand why something that will happen to half of the population is not discussed openly and in more depth. I have a felt a real lack of comfort, empathy, support and understanding from people lately. I feel they forget that this is long-term for me, very long-term and the fatigue at times is unbearable yet I soldier on. Perhaps I am over sensitive lately, or I am just seeing true colours of those around me, right now I am unsure. But I have decided to be ‘out of office’ until further notice. It is like that automatic reply you get when you email someone who is away. I am ignoring messages and requests that can wait and focusing on just being. I need to do this before my head explodes. I described the feeling to a friend as….

“Imagine you are a bowl of porridge in the microwave, you’ve read all of the instructions and put the timer to what it states, however the porridge is overflowing over the top of the bowl, running down the sides and spilling all over the glass turntable plate, leaving an awkward mess to clean and the leftover porridge deflated in the bowl……”

An unusual description I know, but I felt it best described me at this moment in time.

All this being said, there are parts of me that feel it may be a blessing that going through the menopause at 26 is actually setting me up for a good life. That may seem totally bonkers to say, but I have spoken to many women who are at the natural age of menopause and they wish they had the empowerment, knowledge, self-care and confidence, that menopause has brought them but when they were my age instead of mid-life. These women feel like changed people who can achieve more with their lives. They focus on what really matters to them, what makes them who they are and hear their own voice for perhaps the first time in 45-50 years. If I can have that wisdom and experience of being my true authentic self so young, without regret or bitterness of my past, then I cannot help but feel a tad lucky.

There are many devastating aspects however. And things certainly aren’t settled yet. But even so, my position, although not very kind, not wanted nor beneficial to my health, is still better than someone else’s. And for that I feel I must be grateful.

Until next time











I get knocked down but I get up again…..

I get knocked down but I get up again…..

Firstly, Happy New Year everyone! May 2017 be a happy and healthy year for you all.

Exhaustion has kicked In full force lately. I am so tired yet battling insomnia, I am very stressed and just outright done.

I guess this was a long time coming, the processing of my diagnosis faced with the reality of living my life still. Everything has changed, the shock is quietening down but I am realising that this isn’t a dream, it is my life now.

All I want is a month, a year, a lifetime off to reenergize but it just isn’t going to happen. So, it is now a matter of dealing with this desperate need for change and a restful, peaceful mind, but also trying to incorporate this into my life right now. This is way easier said than done though, believe me.

But although I have been knocked down a lot lately I do indeed get back up again, every time. I have no clue where this inner strength comes from but it’s there and I guess I have to admire that and be thankful. There are times though where I wish to give up, to admit defeat, times where honestly, it is hard to see a way forward.

I cannot begin to describe how off-balance the psychological and physical effects of POF are. If I am not feeling completely exhausted or unable to move I am feeling very low or traumatized from processing what having POF actually entails. For example I have been having heart palpitations recently and I had one so strong whilst out driving that the thought actually crossed my mind that I may die. Call me crazy but I was scared, apparently this can be quite common for women experiencing POF but it is new for me.

I don’t know what is the right thing to do to treat premature menopause, I am on HRT but how do I know this isn’t making me feel worse? I have to rely on medical experts to ‘look after me’ but really I am a vulnerable woman who has lost control of my own choices. This includes choices of going out, making plans, enjoying myself, going to work and more heartbreakingly losing the choice to have children. I will never become a mother to a baby that is produced from my eggs, I may never become a grandmother and so on. Basically you lose choice over your whole life, future plans and purpose. As for the HRT, putting my faith in someone else whether an ‘expert’ or not is hard, what if they are wrong?…….

Just before I go, I do wish to acknowledge a friend of mine called Carla, who set up a justgiving page for me, post me having a breakdown at work after I saw my GP (Who is amazing). She did this as she recognises what I try to do for others and I guess she wanted to try to give a little back. It’s been a really hard few months, I have lost income and to be honest lost aspects of myself I used to love and miss due to endless appointments, sickness, stress, anxiety and I will be honest the processing of heartache. I am truly thankful to know such kind people who have donated to help me and to Carla for setting up the page. Thank you.

Speak soon

Steph x

P.S – Headline pic is of a fertility temple in Mexico i visited in September  🙂







Single, falling in love with a childless future……

Single, falling in love with a childless future……

As it is fertility awareness week starting tomorrow (31st October – 6th November) I felt inspired to write about falling in love with a childless future.

I’m aware that not everybody wants children. And if two people meet who do not want children, then surely that’s great right?

And if two people meet who do want children and go on to have them, then surely that’s great too. But what happens if two people meet, one wants a child and one doesn’t? Or, you both want children but find out you cannot conceive due to one reason or another. And what happens if you are single and know you have a childless future?……

If I am honest, I am not quite sure there is an answer, but I wanted to share some thoughts and feelings with you, as I am sure I am not the only one in this situation…..although it can feel like it at times.

I have always been more than comfortable being single, I love my independence. But since finding out I have early menopause and premature ovarian failure (POF), suddenly the future seems more daunting than usual.

How do you tell someone you may be dating you cannot have children? When should you tell them? When is the right time that you should even embark on a potential relationship after learning you cannot have children?

The answer, is entirely down to you. Only you will know when the right time is to seek or accept a relationship even though it may be an incredibly scary experience. Only you will know when the appropriate time is to tell a potential partner that you cannot have children, although advice from others suggests the earlier we are honest about this the better. I feel that it is important to be honest early on but perhaps keep the emotional, psychological and physical experience private until you know and trust that person, therefore avoid any vulnerable situations you may put yourself in. Some women I have spoken to have had fantastic relationships since diagnosis, I believe this is mostly down to meeting someone who is empathetic and supportive. This is someone I hope to find.

I remember one of the first things I thought when I was told I had POF; ‘How will I ever meet someone now? Who is going to want me? What can I offer a man?’

It was an extremely upsetting time and I did/do worry about my future when it comes to ‘Love’. I know for some women they accept this is their life now and some women may be relieved as they don’t want children anyway.

After speaking to another woman in a similar situation it was brought up whether it was better to find a partner who doesn’t want children, then it’s almost OK to be going through what you’re going through. But let’s face it, every woman who is told they cannot have children naturally thinks about IVF, Adoption and other ways of having a child. So, if this option could one day be a reality, is meeting a man who doesn’t want children actually a bad idea and not a good one?  I guess there are so many questions that unfortunately we won’t find the answers to until the time comes to face them. I am sure that many women, whether in a relationship or not will find this time a very lonely experience.

Fortunately, there is support out there. Unfortunately there isn’t always enough knowledge or awareness of it. This is where I feel it is SO important for fertility issues to be spoken about more, awareness needs to be raised. Women (and men) should not feel alone during some of the darkest days of our lives. If anything, we should all come together, share our experiences and stories to support one another and hope that there will always be a rainbow after rain. Although every experience is individual and personal, our stories can offer advice, guidance and inspiration. Sometimes, it’s even nice just to hear someone else say ‘I know what that’s like and it’s awful’ or ‘I don’t know what to say but I am here’.

One place I have recently found support is the Dovecote community. It is an organisation and community set up around 2 years ago by a very dedicated individual, Kelly. It is a safe haven for individuals to feel supported through their involuntary childlessness, share stories of our own childlessness and encourage one another with our renewed life and purpose.

The organisation also offers everything from workshops, courses and retreats. The community page can be found on social media (links posted below) and is a comfortable place to be able to share our deepest, darkest experiences and inspire others. After a short time of joining the community, I have been in contact with other women who have felt the same or have been through the same experience as I and we have supported each other offering advice and more importantly sympathy and empathy.

Please do take a look, let’s give strength and encouragement to this fantastic organisation and community.

The Dovecote organisation – http://www.thedovecote.org

The Dovecote Facebook community – https://m.facebook.com/thedovecote.org/

Headline pic is thanks to the founder of Dovecote, Kelly.

Much love all

Steph x











What now?……Menopause for life?

What now?……Menopause for life?

Firstly, special thanks to my amazing house mate for making my logo (featured image). It so simple but I love it.

Well, it’s been a crazy few months to say the least. Apologies for being so pathetic at keeping on top of this, the truth is I have struggled to keep on top of myself at times.

I have had some requests to do some facts, questions and answers about menopause which I will crack on with soon. Problem is, there are so many contradicting facts about menopause, that I will have to do a lot of research.

Anyway, update is, I have been discharged from hospital now because I have menopause and that’s that. Even that sentence feels so final. What I really mean is, now they have 100% informed me I have early menopause, my womb is a prolapsed prune and my ovaries have shrivelled into dried out grapes, there is nothing else they can do for me other than prescribe me HRT. The specialist sent me on my way to get on with my life.

HOW SCARY IS THIS? – How am I meant to live my life now? What is my life now? What If something happens but I am discharged? Why doesn’t he want to do another scan in a years time? How will I know if the HRT enlarges my womb like he said?

So many questions with so many uncertain times ahead. Truth is, nothing could happen. I could actually lead a good life, take HRT and be fine. But leaving the specialists care was just so unexpected and felt very final, even though this experience right now and my future will never be final, not for me anyway.

Thankfully, I have recently joined a menopause circle group, which I already feel will be a fantastic experience for me. It is so important to share how you feel and your history with the RIGHT people.

I am certainly learning a lot about myself through this menopause, I have also realised that the psychological symptoms are much harder to process than the physical. The physical symptoms seem to be more comprehendible, but when you start questioning your actions, thoughts and feelings it suddenly becomes a whole different ball game. Some days, I literally hate people, I hate myself, I feel angry, I don’t recognise the person I am and I feel like telling the whole world to F off and literally not care about the consequences. Other days I feel very isolated, lonely and misunderstood. Sometimes I see glimpses of my old self, like a nostalgic feeling. Who knew hormones could have such an effect?! I certainly didn’t.

I plan to use this next year to collate as much information as I can about menopause, whether it’s early, induced medically for example from operations, or whether it comes completely naturally at the ‘average’ age like it ‘should’. Then I shall produce a power point, website or whatever I chose to do, in order to travel around spreading awareness and sharing my knowledge at schools, colleges, universities, well being centres and anywhere really!

I am determined not to allow menopause to take over completely.

This is just the beginning.

Much love

Steph x









Blood, Sweat and Tears……Literally.

Blood, Sweat and Tears……Literally.

Blood, Sweat and Tears…. I have chosen this name for my blog because it really is like this at times, especially this week. Some of the subjects I may cover in this blog may seem a little ‘out there’, but there is no point sugar-coating the truth. At times I feel quite vulnerable and embarrassed about what’s been happening during this menopause. But do you know what? I shouldn’t be. This is real, I am real.


HRT, I cannot begin to describe the rollercoaster this has been over the last month and a half. During the first week I had never quite felt pain like it. The discomfort in and around my womb at times seemed ridiculous. It can only be described as the devil playing ping-pong between my ovaries and in between them my womb is trying to push its way out of me in fear. It bloody hurt! I took a trip to the pharmacy where the pharmacist had never heard of the HRT I am on (helpful..) and recommended ‘Feminax extra strength’. So £5 later I leave with what I am hoping to be my saviour, they worked briefly and then just completely wore off. Hopefully they work better for others.

Other side effects I have had are extremely sore and swollen breasts. I am sure a lot of women would love to have swollen bigger boobs, but when they are so tender it makes simple things like wearing a bra and lying down quite difficult trust me it becomes a real burden. The one side effect I possibly hate the most is the water retention. This makes my whole body feel bloated, my legs in particular, they feel heavy, like I have weights strapped to them all of the time. My appetite too has changed a lot, I do not look forward to food and I don’t feel like eating all those foods that usually I love so much, like nachos! To be honest, this may benefit me in the long run regarding my weight (hopefully) however, I have also been informed that oestrogen is stored in the fat in your body, so If the body isn’t producing it naturally it may store whatever it can, thus making it difficult to lose fat. At least I have had many answers now, for all of those unanswered questions I had regarding my weight etc. But, studies also show that HRT can make you put on weight. FML.

You have got to be kidding me?

Guess what happened to be on Tuesday. I started my period. I finished work at 6 having put up with pains all day, came home to get ready for rounders and boom there it was. WTF. I was a little shocked to say the least because obviously menopause usually means that periods stop, mine actually did. The HRT I am taking is manipulating my body into having periods, it does suggest this may happen in the information booklet that comes with the HRT, but I don’t want it. I know there are other types of HRT that do not give you periods so I will soon be requesting that, which is a shame because the rest of my symptoms are much better.

So, what is so bad about having a period? Don’t all women have them? If I did not have menopause and premature ovarian insufficiency, then I would still have them anyway right? So what’s the problem?

The problem is this, for me personally seeing the blood from my period has sent me into this downward spiral of emotions. It’s fact that the uterus lining gets prepared for a fertilised egg ready for when a woman becomes pregnant. If the egg does not get fertilised then the blood gets released, therefore women have a period. I am not producing any eggs, my ovaries aren’t working and I am infertile. In fact during my last examination I was told that for some reason my left ovary wasn’t visible and my right ovary is extremely small measuring around 12mm, 12mm! The average size of an ovary is 3.5cm. Also, the average size of a woman’s womb is similar to the size of a pear. Mine is the size of a prune, which the specialist explained is not normal and is no way a suitable environment to conceive anyway. It appears to be shrinking so I am still awaiting tests and results to find out more.

Anyway, the reason that I don’t want this period is because it reminds me of all of this. It is a visual of all of the internal problems that are happening. It’s my body saying “Hey you, you know you can’t have kids right? You know that you have all these symptoms going on right? Well it is your lucky day because on top of everything, we are going to give you a period, along with really painful cramps and guess what, it doesn’t mean anything, the function of your period means nothing, but have a good day”

I hadn’t really processed the never being able to have children part of all this, mainly because I have not settled down and in that stage of my life yet. But the option is gone and when this period came it was like a kick in the teeth. My body is faking a preparation for something that can never happen and it is sad. Who would ever chose to have periods anyway? They can represent so much for women I know, but they are also a burden and I have always said that if there was one good thing to come from all of this, it is that I don’t have to have a period ever again, hence my shock when I discovered otherwise. Isn’t it interesting though that some women long for their periods to end whilst others may pray for their periods to continue, due to fear of the ‘change’ and all that comes with it.

I am still trying to seek answers as to why this has happened to me, both medically and logically. Maybe I will never know. All I do know is that somehow I still have to try to embrace this journey in my life. And if I can raise awareness or even just support one other person who may be going through this or similar, then that is enough for me.

On the plus side the hot flushes have significantly reduced, hooray! And I haven’t long returned from a fabulous holiday that was much-needed!

Please keep in touch, let me know what you all think of the blogs, if they help, if they don’t, if they make an interesting read or not etc. If there’s anything at all you want to know more about or would like more info about HRT or the menopause please ask.

And of course, all advice and words of encouragement are welcome!

Until next time.

Steph X