Pen To Print

Click "Enter" to submit the form.

Thursday Connectors: Menopausal March

By Farzana Hakim

Women’s Empowerment Month Special

Hi all, it’s Farzana, your host of Thursday Connectors with a most relatable and important two-month showcase of writing dedicated to, and coming from, some brave women about an issue that matters to so many of us: the Menopause.

This is a topic many women are shy of; a time of isolation and personal struggles. Maybe because it’s a topic most often associated with negative and disrespectful connotations, such as: ‘It’s this phase of a woman’s life when they go all weird with their craziness, where they rave on with their unnecessary rantings and madness, with over-exaggerated frustrations and the inability to think and talk logically!’

Don’t shoot me for saying this. I’ve hosted enough women’s workshops and done enough community engagement projects to know this is how women feel about how the whole wide world sees us 40-plus-year-olds, just managing to pull ourselves along during this milestone of our lives.

Being 46 myself, and well and truly settled in to my perimenopausal stage, I’m having my unfair share of troubles and struggles. I won’t be listing them here, as I’ll be here all year and I don’t want you to feel as though I’m trying to garner sympathy. But yes, that’s how badly it’s affecting me. My pains are debilitating and making my endometriosis and edenomyosis years of suffering seem minor in comparison to what I’m enduring now. I’m awaiting a date for surgery to sort out a side-effect I recently developed from a hormone replacement pill I was prescribed, which my body totally rejected. And, no, this isn’t the end! Rather, it seems it’s only the beginning.

Actually, I do want your sympathies. I want perimenopausal and menopausal women everywhere to receive my virtual hug, along with all my love and wishes of health and wellbeing.  You’re not alone. We’re in this together. I want us all to feel united and heard.

This is why, this month and the next, I’ve dedicated my page to women who wished to share and express their feelings and thoughts through the art of creative writing about this inevitable phase of life.

So, our Connectors today come from Laura Oh, who sent in a fantastic illustration depicting our bodies and our mind in one. Katie Day, who is an expert in all things Menopause,  Dr Afsana Elanko, who wrote a great poem to soothe and educate us. And Claire Buss, with a bit of inspiration and girl power!

So, let’s head to our first Connector, Laura. I found this illustration to be a perfect reflection of my own struggles at the moment. I’ll let you interpret it yourself and see how it relates to your own personal experiences.

Hi, Laura. Let’s connect:

Embracing Menopause

(c) Laura Oh, 2024

Connect to Laura here: W, Instagram @bylauraoh


Next, I feel privileged to connect with Katie Day, the co-founder of RPD International and one of the leading voices on the menopause in the UK, with many UK and global private, public, health and education sector clients, where she delivers RDPI’s suite of programmes under the banner of ‘Midlife Matters’.

Katie is an Associate of the British Menopause Society, a member of EMAS (European Menopause and Andropause Society), a member IMS (International Menopause Society) and works in close collaboration with leading clinical partners, two Professors of Gynaecology. You can access free resources from Midlife Matters here:

Hi, Katie. Let’s connect:

Menopause: Mayhem Or Magic?

You may find yourself thinking, ‘Well, mayhem, obviously!’

What if you could turn that around in your mind and see it as ‘magic’ instead? If that sounds ludicrous, I absolutely get it; however, read on and see if I can change your mind.

With the right support and information, the menopause transition can be one of the most powerful and potent times of our lives. The majority of caucasian women will reach menopause around the age of 50 – 52. There are cultural differences, though. For example, women from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are likely to reach menopause around the age of 46 and, for women of African descent, around 47 to 48. All these age ranges represent the time most of us will come into our real strength in our careers, and in life.

Once we find how to navigate this life transition and important ‘rite of passage’ it allows us to truly get in touch with our values, passions and vision. We’re likely to have far less invested in the opinions of others when we reach midlife, which frees us up to live our lives with purpose and clarity, according to our rules, not the rules others project onto us!

I can remember when this all kicked in for me. I mentally retrieved the picture other people had painted for me when I was born, depicting my life. I examined the scene and decided which parts, if any, I wanted to keep. Then I repainted the picture.

I only really got going at midlife. As a 64-year-old post-menopause woman, life has never been better. I’m busier now than I’ve ever been and have considerably more confidence as a woman in her 60s than I had as a woman in her 30s, and even 40s. I see another three decades plus in front of me, full of adventures, excitement and possibility. The only person who is likely to get in my way is me, and I don’t intend to do that!

My 50s were fabulous and, so far, my 60s are sensational. I’m looking forward to my sizzling 70s, exciting 80s and very naughty 90s!

This life transition presents a brilliant opportunity to reassess, re-evaluate, redefine and, if desired, re-invent. It’s when we start to live our life congruently, in harmony with our meaning and purpose. We support other women coming up behind us and tap into our wisdom and experience.

At work, we offer our employers (even if our employer is ourselves), a woman who is strong, independent, experienced, confident, wise and a real asset. We’re not invisible. If we choose to be, we are very visible. Our grounded wisdom represents the foundations upon which companies, teams and people can grow. We provide the strong roots that support everyone around us, guiding the young saplings and encouraging them to grow and flourish. Give yourself permission to acknowledge your greatness and your magnificence. Willingly accept  your power and potency. Be comfortable accepting this rite of passage and be clear in the communication you are now offering even more to the world!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Get yourself a notebook and write at the top of the page: I am …

Then complete, using as much space as you need. This is when you get full permission to really step into your greatness.

Breathe in the words and really own them. Accept your brilliance and live it! Embrace the power and potency of menopause and shine your light into the world.

© Katie Day, 2024

Connect with Katie on LinkedIn: and find out more at


And now from one expert to the next, we connect with Dr Afsana Elanko, with this piece of poetry which touched me deeply. It’s informative and laced with empathy, which is why I’m honoured to share it with you here.

Hi, Dr Afsana Elanko. Let’s connect:

It’s The Pause

Your periods have stopped,
Hormone levels have dropped.
Women after the age of forty-five are affected,
Could happen earlier I interjected.
Effects everyone who has periods,
How many have suffered in silence, a myriad.
Be the women who talks about the change,
Experiences to discuss and exchange.
It’s the menopause, a natural process of life.

I hear you say hot flushes, difficulty sleeping.
Muscle and joint pain and find yourself weeping.
Change in body shape and weight gain,
Dry and itchy skin, urinary infections are such a strain.
Palpitations and headaches are your friend,
It can last for months-years, you say Is there no end?
Problems with memory and changes in mood,
You say effects everything I do, but you do not brood.
It’s the menopause, a natural process of life.

I say there are medicines and HRT,
You ask when can I get back my ART.
Complimentary therapies are for you to decide,
You say make it go away I’m just too tired.
I feel for you and want to embrace you,
You are amazing to go through this, if only you knew.
Without you there would be no circle of life,
It’s time you are celebrated as wife.
It’s the menopause, a natural process of life.

The pause on life, whilst your life cycle changes,
A time to decide what you want from life’s ranges.
You’re worth it, you deserve the rest,
You’re a beautiful woman who is the best.
Time to treat yourself and be kind,
A hidden desire or a new pursuit to find.
Think of what you really want,
Whilst you enjoy your croissant.
It’s the menopause, a natural process of life.

© Dr Afsana Elanko, 2024


And now for some motivation and inspiration. It’s Women’s Empowerment Month after all and, as us women are warriors from as early as puberty when it comes to adapting with our bodies: periods, pregnancies, contraception, ageing, perimenopause, menopause, post menopause, this was much needed to remind us of finding ways to keep our minds and bodies healthy by doing the things we enjoy.

Hi, Claire. Let’s connect:

At Your Age?

I’m always a little nervous to tell people that I do karate. Responses are so mixed and range between the slightly quizzical really? to the downright aghast at your age?

I am 42. I am a little overweight. I am a mum.

In my twenties, I trained regularly for about six years before my life upended. Since then, I’ve had a motorcycle accident, two caesareans, ongoing back issues that have required stunningly high painkillers, worn out the cartilage in my right knee (and very possibly my left) and, last summer, I tore my left calf muscle. The phrase ‘old and decrepit’ springs to mind.

Throw into that mix the wonderful hormonal changes a woman my age gets to experience and it’s no wonder I get nervous talking about my passion for karate.

However, today you’re looking at the English Karate Federation Kata Silver Medallist and Kumite Bronze Medallist for her age group. Competing with other women my age, in a sport we all love, was the most validating thing I’ve ever done.

Never let anyone say you can’t. Never let anyone say you shouldn’t. Never apologise for following your passion. Even at your age.

© Claire Buss, 2024

Connect with Claire on Instagram: @grasshopper2407 and find out more about her writing at


Fantastic stuff! Thank you for all the submissions today and I hope you enjoyed the Connectors. Next month, we’ll have more menopause stories and I’ll be updating you on my upcoming surgery. Fingers crossed for that!

See you next month.


Issue 19 of Write On! is out now and you can read it online here. Find it in libraries and other outlets. You can find previous editions of our magazines here.

You can hear great new ideas, creative work and writing tips on Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo, or find us on


If you or someone you know has been affected by issues covered in our pages, please see the relevant link below for ​information, advice and support​:

You're not alone. We're in this together. I want us all to feel united and heard.