By telling my story I hope to lead the way and help raise awareness of Premature Menopause/POI. As a younger woman who has been dealt this card, I also want to try and help older ladies with my positive outlook on life. I have never let it define me or take away my spirit for a good life. I have it tough yes, but I am not going to let it ruin me. We have one shot at this so let’s live it as happily as we can.
Here’s the background to my story….
14 years old and told I had gone through the menopause… yep that’s right 14 years old. I will never forget that day, sitting on the bed in a hospital room waiting for the Consultant to come into me and my Mum saying those words. My Mum balling her eyes out and me comforting her asking her to not cry as it’s ok. Thing is it wasn’t ok, but then I had no clue what the Consultant was even talking about.
At the age of 12 I started my periods like a normal teenager. Then after a year they just stopped. I was struggling to concentrate at school and the nights were hell. Waking up dripping with sweat and just feeling weird. That’s literally how I described it to my Mum one day. I don’t feel like me Mum, I feel weird. So off we went to the Doctor’s. I explained what was going on and I was referred for a blood test and an ultrasound. Then two weeks later a Consultant Gynaecologist confirmed I had gone through my Menopause and that I needed to start taking HRT tablets. I was told I had a womb but a small one and that they could only find one ovary. That was the first and the last time I was going to see my Consultant.
I am now 39 years old. I literally have never been contacted since. Not given any follow up appointments, no help, no guidance to understand what had happened to me nothing. Put on HRT (Prempak C) and left to just get on with it. Even when Prempak C was discontinued a few years back, I wasn’t even informed by my Doctor. The pharmacist told me when I went to pick up my meds. Meds, may I add that I must pay for… which I find astonishing. I need to take these daily and I had none left so luckily after a long phone call I managed to get in with a GP the next day. I was later told there was no exact alternative so was given another brand which was horrendous. All my levels went crazy and my symptoms returned, and my bleeds were so painful. I then was changed onto Femoston which I took for years.
It was only after a consultation with Dr Louise Newson that many symptoms I had presented at my Doctor’s with, were in fact menopausal symptoms. My GP never linked the two and instead prescribed me anti-depressants for insomnia. He should have sent me for blood tests, which would have revealed my estrogen levels were too low and my HRT in fact needed adjusting. I have also realised since taking control of this and speaking out that I should have been having DEXA scans. I have never been for one in my life. I have since pushed this with my GP and I now have one booked for Jan 2021.
As a child I needed to learn what it all meant, and back then there was hardly anything on the internet to read and even to this day limited material to a teenager experiencing this happening to them. This must be addressed, as I felt lost for years as I just didn’t understand it all. Medical professionals looked at me like I was some sort of freak. If I was given a pound for the amount of times a doctor or nurse has said to me “you poor girl” when I answer the dreaded question… “what medication do you take?”. I would have had loads of work done on myself. Which leads me on to how I have felt growing up… hating what I saw looking back at me in the mirror. The one job a woman is given to do, and I couldn’t even do that properly. I felt like a failure. A failure as a woman.
I wouldn’t say I grew up depressed. I just learned how to cope. I grew up not liking my appearance. I suppose I felt insecure about myself. I struggled with relationships with guys as I knew I had it looming over me that one day I was going to have to tell them. Even when I did tell them or my friends neither understood. I even lost a friend over it as she said I was lying and that it was a sick thing to make up! The response I got from the close few I did tell was always the same… “it will happen one day mate, loads of women are told they can’t have kids and they do”. No-one understood what I was saying because no one was or is educated enough. No-one understands the significance of Menopause. Even to this day people still do not understand. So, in my words I say it how it is…. “to produce a baby, you need an egg and a sperm and I don’t have eggs, end of”’.
Since I have spoken out, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and in a way, I feel free of it. I hope that by speaking about my experience out loud I can try and get this recognised more. To help educate all, that this can happen at such a young age as many are still so unaware of this. I have even been called a liar on some so called “menopause support groups” on Facebook, as people do not believe that this can happen. To help Mother’s if their daughters are showing any signs to get them to the doctor’s as soon as possible. I also want women to push at the doctors for them to listen to women. Many doctors appear to be in denial that Menopause can happen to younger women. It’s also important not to hide it all inside, because you feel everyone will be gossiping about you. Unfortunately, Menopause happens to all of us females one day. There is no set age limit on it, which I am living proof of…..
The present day….well, life is currently busy, busy, busy. As well as working a 40 hour week, trying to get my story out there… my Husband & I are currently going through the Adoption process. We always knew it was the route we wanted to take. We had discussed in length the idea of going through IVF and he accepted my decision that it wasn’t something I wanted to do. I had already grieved for years and knowing from the age of 14, I was never going to be able to have my own biological child I had accepted. I was never going to have a baby of my own biologically so egg donation for me just wasn’t the way I would see myself become a Mum. In my eyes to be a parent it is to provide endless love, support and just adore your child. Nurture over nature so they say. I know how much love I have to give and for me to be able to give that to a child whose own parents cannot do this, will fulfil my dreams of becoming a Mother. I also now see that maybe things do happen for a reason as that reason is to find my Child through adoption and give them a much better life, than their birth parents were able to give them. The adoption timeline is actually a lot shorter than it used to be. So please if you are considering this don’t let that put you off. Once you have got through the Pre-stage and into Stage 1 it can feel a bit slow waiting on training days and workbooks to be issued, but you have to keep the faith that it’s just part of it all and it will all be worth it in the end. We are currently in Stage 2 and meet our new Social Worker in January, so will then be working towards a panel date to become approved adopters. Soooo, wish us luck …to be continued…
You can sign Hayley's Petition here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/560841
& you can follow Hayley’s journey at;
© Hayley Cockman 2020.