The cafe that gives you a platform to share your personal emotional journey through menopause and assures that you are not alone.
It was the kind of family argument that happens in households everywhere around the world. Vishwa Kumari’s son was going out, and she wanted to know where he was going. It was a simple request, so why was he getting so furious?
“Mum, this is the third time you’ve asked me,” he asked exasperatedly. “Are you not paying attention to what I am saying?” He slammed the door and left. Vishwa Kumari started to think was I not paying attention, or it is early-onset dementia!
Vishwa Kumari is not the only one who experiences this; most of the women in their late 40s get this experience because of perimenopause. The so-called ‘third stage of life’. It is difficult for them to go through this phase alone as it challenges them mentally and emotionally.
Sarah Williams, the organiser of the menopause cafe in Cardiff, said, “In early 2017, I was 46 and was having a treatment called chemical menopause for the perimenopausal disorder.
“My mother passed away just before this incidence, so I never really got the chance to know much about menopause. I never even discussed this phase with my friends, so that time was tough for me. I wanted a place where I can go and talk about this experience. As there was no menopause cafe in Cardiff, I decided to host one.”
The first-ever menopause cafe was held in Scotland in June 2017 and founded by Rachel Weiss. The cafe format is inspired by the ‘Death cafe’, a non-profit gathering that encourages people to talk about the forbidden subject. The cafe is open to both women and men of all ages. There are no speakers, no set agenda and no selling or promotions. People just come together to talk about their personal experience of menopause.
The primary purpose of this cafe is to increase awareness about the impact menopause have on women along with the impact on their family, friends and colleagues.
Sarah Williams has been organising the menopause cafe since 2018 in Cardiff. Since then she has held sixteen events, 2 in University hospital and 2 in Porthcawl.
Sarah said, “It helps women not to feel alone and isolated. I still remember the first meeting when women couldn’t stop talking with tears in their eyes. I met some fantastic women through this cafe and made amazing friends for a lifetime.”
The menopause is a very natural part of ageing that usually occurs mostly between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen level starts to decline. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51.
Surprisingly the highest rate of suicide among women in the UK is between the ages of 45 and 49 this is the age when most women will be experiencing perimenopause. Ignorance about menopause is fatal for everyone as it is not just the women who are struggling with it but her loved ones as well.
Sarah Williams said that Menopause cafe is helping women open up about their experience and is giving them support. The cafe is providing women with a safe environment where they can talk openly and realise that they are not alone. Knowing that someone is there to understand our situation and give us emotional support comforts women.