Thank you for listening to the show! Your support allows me to keep putting out great content. Show your support here.
Oct. 27, 2022

Emma Lagerlow: Early menopause and the gifts of space and confidence

Emma Lagerlow is a wealth and mindset coach, course creator, blogger, wife and mum to four - almost all teenagers.

Emma experienced early  menopause, at 45 and in this episode we talk about how that unraveled for her, the impact it had on her life and the advice she has for other women as a result.

Emma left her corporate career not long after her menopause and now guides women to break the busy cycle and claim calm by prioritising self-care and growing their self-worth.

She also supports women to shift their money mindset to one of empowerment so they create greater wealth in all areas of their life.

Connect with Emma:

We talked about:
Brene Brown

Where to find Sonya:
Take the Midlife Quiz
Stellar Women Website

You're invited to join the We Are Stellar Women community on Facebook, a free supportive space for all women navigating the menopausal transition. Click here to join.


[00:55] Sonya: Hi, Emma. How are you?

[00:57] Emma: I'm great. Thanks, Sonya. I'm really well today. Thank you so much for having me. It's wonderful to be on with you today.

[01:03] Sonya: My pleasure. Emma, why don't we start off by you introducing yourself? Tell the listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do.

[01:11] Emma: Sure. So, yeah, my name is Emma Lagerlow and I'm a wealth and mindset coach. I am also mum too, for almost all teenagers. And I have a blog called Mama's Day and it really started as a place for those mums of teenagers to come. It can be a little bit of a challenging time raising kids of that age group and so I started that, but then it sort of morphed into the coaching and yeah, it's a been a big change for me. I come from a marketing background and 25 years in corporate and over the last couple of years I've moved into the coaching space, which I've just completely loved. It's a great spirit experience for me.

[01:57] Sonya: Amazing. And today we are going to talk about your personal menopause experience because it's a great story and it's a story that I really want to share with my listeners. So why don't you start us off?

[02:10] Emma: Sure, yes. Okay. So I'm 47 now, just turned 47 and I went through menopause when I was 45. So a couple of years ago, I guess my story, I like to share it in some ways because I feel it hopefully can empower women to not be so, I guess, afraid of menopause and well, perimenopause and all of that. And I guess I was quite lucky that I didn't have a huge amount of symptoms. But really, I'll explain the story. So I've got four children and my husband was sorting himself out for making sure we couldn't have any more children. And so then I had an ID for that time. So that sort of masks your periods anyway, when you have an ID, and when we went to to get it out, it had to be removed with an ultrasound. And at the time, the sonographer I just had looked at my ovaries and she said, so it must have been really about 42 at that point. And she said, Are you planning to have children? And I went, oh, my goodness, I've got four. No, I'm so done with that. And I said, oh. And then I sort of went, oh, why are you asking that question? And she said, there's just not that many eggs left. And it was a little bit of a shock for me at that time because, you know, I hadn't really been thinking about, you know, my periods, because they get masked when you have an idea a lot of the time. But I just went on with life, and it took a while for the periods to start again, and eventually they did. But during that time, I had a blood test as well, which I was actually in Hawaii at the time on a girl's trip with my girlfriend, and my doctor messaged me to say that I'm in menopause. And so that was a bit of a shock for me, being in that sort of environment. Like, I must have been about 43 or 44, and I was like, oh, my God. And since then, I did have after that time, I did have a few more periods. And so then, if that was even like, oh, is he right? I'm not sure. And having spoken to you as well, I know now that it really depends. It's a snapshot of that exact moment where your hormone levels are at, and so sometimes lower. So I was definitely still imperimepause at that point. But at 45, at 44, say, I had my last food, and I didn't have one until I was 45. And so menopause, as far as the symptoms go, I guess because I maybe wasn't really aware, like, maybe it was a bit like a placebo effect in some ways that I might know. I probably was waking up a little bit, having the night sweats and having that insomnia, but I just wasn't really thinking too much that putting two and two together. Yeah, so much. I know I'd be sitting in meetings at work, and all of a sudden I get a bit of a flash and I'd take my cardigan off and then it's hard and I'd put back on. But it was never overly deliberating for me to go through it, but it just was, I guess, that little bit of a shock that I was yes. I just wasn't even really thinking that that was on my horizon at that point. And so there was that little moment of feeling like, oh, I'm getting old and I'm no longer fertile, and those sort of thoughts through my head. But as soon as I did, I just was like, I'm not going to let this define me in any way, and I'm just going to move forward through it. And I feel like it has actually given me so much more confidence as a woman as well, since going through menopause, I feel like it's almost like this little switch in you, that you do have that confidence. And it's funny how around the same time, that's when I have resigned from my corporate job and I've taken this huge leap of faith into coaching and starting a blog and putting myself out there, which I think years prior, I dreamed of it, but I thought I'd never have the confidence to do it. So, yeah, that's a little bit of my story.

[06:06] Sonya: Wow, amazing. And I do wonder sometimes when because 43, 40 to 45 is young for menopause. And you spoke a little bit about, obviously the shock of that because it wasn't even something that was on your horizon at all, not even perimenopause, let alone actually being in menopause. Did you experience any kind of grief? Any like, oh, wow, I really am not having any more children now, as opposed to it being a kind of a throwaway comment of don't worry, I'm done with that. Did you feel a shift with you within that at all?

[06:43] Emma: Yeah, I definitely did feel that a shift. There was a moment, I guess, of even thinking, am I normal? Like, you know, that all this is so young. Like, is that a normal thing? I knew I definitely didn't want to have any more children. My husband had a vasectomy, and so that was never a thing, but it was more just about my virility. I think it's a fertile woman. It's that first sort of, I guess, sign of, wow, my body is aging, and then just grappling with that a little bit was probably more what it was. But as I said, I was just not going to let it define me. And yeah, I haven't really. So, yeah, I think I've navigated it well. But there definitely was some grief and there was some time where, like, even now, talking to you, it's not something that I have been incredibly open about. I know even my friends will talk about it, and I know will, but it's not something like I'm sort of the poster girl to say I'm menopause and whatever, when it comes up, when I feel that I can add value by sharing that information about me.

[07:50] Sonya: Yeah, that's amazing and thank you for sharing. I really appreciate anybody that's open enough to talk about this story because I truly believe that we support others by sharing our stories and encouraging for anyone that perhaps has been in your similar situation to not feel like they are. Is it me? Am I the only one that goes through it this early and goes through all of the emotions and experiences that are attached to that? But I'm really keen to delve into with you that confidence that you talk about that has blossomed, I guess, since you now know that you are postmenopausal and how do you describe that, that kind of unfolded for you? Obviously, it's linked into you just making the decision to leave corporate. What did you kind of go through that made you then realize, wow, I actually feel like a part of me is different to what it was before.

[08:43] Emma: Yeah, no, that's a great question and it's a great sort of been on it because I've often used the pandemic and going to US or going to Lockdown as being my light bulb moment, which was in 2020. So I guess that was just after I probably was really deemed to be in menopause and I had that experience of life slowing down and seeming to be able to reflect on where I was at in my life and was I doing the things that I really wanted to do in my life. I just feel so many of us women are just on autopilot and we have the mental load, we have our careers, we have our families, we have our friends, we have our career, all of that, and we're not really taking that time to really reflect. And so I really felt like that was the time when I was working from home and had that moment to say, I really want to write, am I ever going to do that? And I thought about it in the past, but I just never thought I would have the time. But now in the question you're asking me, I would say there was also that shift that was happening for me as well at that time to feel that it was time that I could do it. And I think it really comes back to even not caring so much what people think. Maybe when you get to this point and I don't know how that's connected to us being more fertile or whatever it is that the hormones or maybe it's the nurturing event that we have as we are in the fertile years. But for me that's what it came down to because it was always. I think when I used to think about starting a blog and putting myself more in a public forum nor shy away. Like how could I. Even though that's not going to happen. And then all of a sudden it sort of has and I feel like that has helped me with that and maybe not even going through having the rigorous cycles of each month as well where it is. So it's a lot on your body and so that taking that away has probably also supported me.

[10:42] Sonya: Yeah, it's really interesting because that is a comment that I hear from so many women and I know I experienced it myself as well. And I truly believe that there are gifts that come with being postmenopausal. And freedom. I think. Is when I felt like there was all of a sudden so much more space for me to be me and not me to be mom and obviously we're still mothers and we're still parenting. But there is definitely. I feel. A shift into this is my time now and the spaces opened up for us to kind of investigate what that might be for us individually. But the other thing that I hear a lot is what you just mentioned, which is that I actually don't give a shit what anyone else thinks anymore. And it is really interesting to kind of reflect on where that comes from. And you're right. I think maybe it is that we, you know, as our hormones shift and we move out of that nurturing baby bearing stage into this more yeah, I don't know. I don't quite know how to put it into words, but you do move into a phase where you do feel a lot more like, well, I actually don't care what other people think so much anymore. And I do wonder why that happens. But you're right. I think it is probably the transition from one phase of life into the other and the change that the hormones make on all aspects of our body.

[12:06] Emma: Yeah, I think that's really true. And I think it's yeah, even knowing yourself a little bit more as well, you have that space to know more who you are. And for me, I guess, being younger and I still had younger kids, I'm still in that nurturing phase, whereas maybe women that are a little bit older, then the kids are nearly more independent and they've flown the coop and so you can see how they coop.

[12:33] Sonya: I'm really sorry. I'm so sorry to break that to you.

[12:38] Emma: Don't tell me that today.

[12:42] Sonya: That's the pipe dream.

[12:44] Emma: Yeah. Okay.

[12:46] Sonya: Sorry. You have four, I only have two. Having a full house of four plus potentially partners is a whole different story.

[12:56] Emma: Yeah, I guess it never really does change, but maybe even just that more independence around. I mean, I'm still driving my kids everywhere all the time. Sometimes you feel like you're just a slave to the Uber driver, dropping them here, jumping in there and trying to fit little bits and pieces in, whereas once they get older, they're more independent, so you can have more time for yourself to be able to work out what it is that you want to do. And then it comes back to even the wisdom as well that I feel we gain throughout our lifetimes. And then when you have the confidence to actually communicate that wisdom as well. I think that's part of the piece of the puzzle for me, without a doubt.

[13:39] Sonya: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I think there is definitely some wisdom and an ability to step into the lived experience that we've gained. Where. Like you say. When you don't have the time and the freedom to be perhaps thinking about how you can use that to its highest value because you are so caught up in everyone else's schedules as opposed to your own. That when we do get into this and I'm a little bit older than you. And my kids are a little bit older. There is definitely much more opportunity to use that wisdom in a way that you couldn't earlier.

[14:16] Emma: Yeah, that's so true. But it also then speaks to as we do make this transition and step into this part of our lives, that it is a great time to really consider what you want to do as well with your life. I know you said that they're always around but you do have a lot more time for yourself and so you really want to be able to try and do what it is that's going to make you happy and bring you joy and light you up in your life.

[14:42] Sonya: Yes, and when we look at how much of our life is still left, you know, you take the Queen, for example, who recently passed on a timestamp when we recorded this, but you know, she was 96. Women are living so much longer now and the opportunities to either run your own business or to grow a new career or to step further up into your career that you may already have, there is so much more opportunity to do that now than there was previously and that's where I get excited about it. It's like, well, okay, I'm 52 but I could still be here in 45 years and there is a whole lot of living to be done in that time.

[15:22] Emma: Yeah, that's so true. It is our midlife at this point and so that's why I think it is and I love sharing my story that there is it's not the end of the road. I mean it's half way of your life hopefully. And yeah. You've got so much more life to live and to be able to do it without so much of that fear of worrying what other people think and having a lot more wisdom of lived experience to know where you want to. What you want to do. How you want to live your life. How you want to treat people. How you want to be treated yourself and all of that. I think it's incredible and it's why I admire so much what you have done with advocating for perimenopause and this transition in your life. And I know your story was a lot more extreme than mine and I feel really lucky that mine wasn't as full on and I know for a lot of women it can be a.

[16:20] Sonya: Lot and I think that's where I really want to make sure that everybody listening is aware of and understands is that going through perimenopause is a unique journey for every single woman. It is literally like every pregnancy is different. You've had four pregnancies. One pregnancy can be completely different to the next pregnancy. Everyone's birth experience is different and menopause is exactly the same. Perimenopause menopause, every single woman will have a different trajectory, a different path that she takes and she will go through different symptoms and she'll manage things differently. And there are so many factors that come into play as to how that will come out and that's why I think it's so important that we talk about it so openly. It's not because we're trying to I know. I've read comments from people who go, oh, this fear mongering around perimenopause, like, you know, it's not that bad, and don't bring fear into it for people. And I don't think anyone should fear it, but I think we should be aware of it, and I think we should be aware so that we can help each other through it. And if I might go through it, like cruise through it, but my best friend might not, or my sister might not, and I want to have enough knowledge to be able to help them. And that's why I think these conversations are so important.

[17:47] Emma: Yeah, 100%. I think it's really important that we do lift the veil and make it something that removes the stigma around talking about it. Talk to my friends, and when you actually start to scratch the surf, especially like they maybe had a couple of drinks and they feel bit more open and honest about things, like, it's crazy that the things that people are suffering and not even talking about. And I think just to talk, like you said, are there 35 known symptoms?

[18:18] Sonya: I think it's 32 or 35 actually recognized official symptoms of menopause. And not everyone will experience the same symptoms, so or combination of symptoms, and not everyone will experience all symptoms. It's a very broad list of things that you could go through, and it is good, but it's important to have the awareness around it.

[18:45] Emma: I think it is, and I think that's where if you don't have that awareness or knowledge, then you could really start to scare yourself like there's something even more and I know you should always get checked. You said, as soon as things do start to change and all of that, but just to not live in that uncertainty of worry, of like, oh, is this perimenopause or is this something more dire? Or am I going crazy? Because I know, like, the mood things can happen as well. And then even for your loved ones to be able to tell them that, I think this is happening for me, so bear with me.

[19:26] Sonya: I did an episode with Ali daddo, and it's like episode three or four, I think. And one of the things that Ellie talks about is it was so important to her to be able to openly communicate with her husband and her children what she was going through, why she was feeling the way that she was feeling, so that they could support her in whatever way was their way of supporting her. Not so that it was like, leave me alone, I'm going through perimenopause. But so that if she said and she gave a great example of where she was feeling a little bit more reclusive and a little bit more like she didn't really want to be kind of out and about being happy. Ellie so the family will be going out and you go, you know what, guys? I actually am going to sit this one out. And there wouldn't be any judgment around that, and there wouldn't be any kind of cajoling her to change her mind because she stated upfront, this is what I'm going through. It's making me feel like this. And there's going to be times when I might not choose to join in with some of the stuff that you guys are going on, but I want you to go off and do that and enjoy it and have a great time, but just respect the fact that right now this is what I need to do.

[20:31] Emma: Yeah, I think that yeah, for that reason alone, I think it's amazing. And for me, I probably wasn't even aware when you know, I probably did have a few brain snaps around that period and wasn't really even aware of why, like, I can remember even getting into the viewer. I was just angry all the time. And I'm like, Why? Like but nothing to even be angry about. But now, in hindsight, I can probably say it probably was just the hormonal shift. Yeah. And irrational. Sometimes it's irrational behavior as well, so it's good to know as well. So then you can go, AHA, that is why I'm feeling how I'm feeling. So if for anything, then we just start to bring it into more mainstream conversation. Then we're talking about it at lunch, actually, on my birthday. And I know, like, my husband just tries to change the subject, and then we started talking about something, but I'm like, no, they need to know it's not something that is something to be ashamed of or ashamed of or embarrassed of.

[21:30] Sonya: We've got to stop lifting up that rug and sweeping it under. Like, we're over 50% of the population in the world, and I'm so pleased that you had that conversation with your husband and was like, no, we actually need to talk about this. It's funny how there are certain subjects that some people just really feel that shouldn't be discussed out in the open, but I think the more that we discuss them in the open, like we've already talked about, the better.

[21:55] Emma: Yeah, definitely. So, yeah, I hope that if it helps one person, then I'm happy.

[22:02] Sonya: Amazing. So, Emma, what is the one piece of advice that you would give to a woman that perhaps is listening? Maybe she has gone through an earlier transition into menopause. What's your one piece of advice that you'd like to leave the listeners with?

[22:17] Emma: I think it would just be like to try and get a little bit of clarity around, is it really happening? But then I would just say it's not like, really a diagnosis or anything like that. It's just something to go with the flow and to know that there's so much more. There's a lot of positivity on the other side. It really is amazing.

[22:39] Sonya: Thanks, Emma. Now, the one question that I ask all my guests to wrap up our conversation is, emma, what are you listening to, watching or reading right now that is bringing you joy?

[22:50] Emma: So I'm really just loving Berna Brown at the moment. All of her books, Atlas of the Heart was really great. The gifts of imperfection. All of them I just love. She talks about vulnerability and she talks about shame, but I think it's really, again, like, stepping into this sort of next stage of our life where we just own who we are and celebrate being vulnerable and being authentically ourselves. I think so. I love Brene brown.

[23:21] Sonya: Yeah, I love Brene too. I think she's amazing. Emma, thank you so much for your time today.

[23:27] Emma: Thank you for having me. Sonia, I've really loved connecting with you and I think what you're doing is just incredible for women, all women that are going to go through this transition. And I appreciate you giving me the time to come on today.