Name: Nina, 48
Whether she is out running, playing badminton or learning how to do a front somersault for fun, Nina has always loved sport and knows how essential it is to her physical and mental wellbeing. She has shared the science and research of the benefits over many years as a lecturer and now works for a health and wellbeing company.
“As a black woman I am at higher risk of various conditions like type 2 diabetes, sarcopenia and others. I was confirmed by a blood test around age 43 to be perimenopausal. I have a blood condition, so I booked a doctor’s appointment to talk about that and the GP said by the way you are perimenopausal. I liken it to a snow globe – it shook that globe. I wasn’t given a leaflet, there was no conversation. I was shell-shocked when the snow in the globe began to settle, I just thought what is it? I’m researching and then beginning to piece little parts of my jigsaw puzzle together.
I was researching menopause and the images coming popping up were white women. There were so many platforms to provide the support and education but on a personal level the images didn’t resonate with me. When you are asking about different bodily differences, my hair for example, my fraggle rock hair – what can I do about it. Or my polka dot dry eczema on my lower limbs – you could sense discomfort that they weren’t able to have that culturally competent conversation.
“It made me realise that the black community doesn’t talk about it as much as we should, and we need to.”
We all need to consider the potential benefits of moving more and the relationship it can have on menopausal symptoms as well as reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
I want to be fit and healthy to enjoy the things as my son goes through his life… Menopause made me think I need to keep going, be active, be healthy, be strong and fit. So if my son says can we go and do this I am not a watcher – the fact that he is asking I want to be involved. I want longevity to be able to chase that 9-year-old around the field and I want to be on the taekwondo journey with him, we do it together. I will do anything to support my health.
It is lifestyle, diet, activity, mental health, socio economic status, they all play a role in someone’s menopause journey. I do believe sport has helped me through my journey of being a postmenopausal woman.
“We collectively need to dismantle the existing menopause stigma and taboos that are unhelpful and let ‘all’ women know that it’s ok to talk about it and provide education.”
Nina’s Menopause Story is part of our curation of images and short films creating in partnership with Getty Images. These challenge the way women going through the menopause are portrayed in society, illustrating the joy of exercise and how it has changed their lives – building community, friendship, adventure, fun and camaraderie. Find out more about the #menopossibilities campaign here.