Providing Support to Women Throughout New Zealand
who have experienced or are experiencing an early menopause as a result of genetic, natural or medically induced causes.
If you’ve found this site, then the chances are either yourself or a loved one has been diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency, Premature Ovarian Failure, Premature Menopause or Early Menopause. There are a lot of things to consider following a diagnosis of early menopause and you may be feeling overwhelmed right now. You may be feeling worried or uncertain about what this means for you and perhaps also for your partner. We certainly don’t believe we have all the answers. In fact, we know that we don’t. But, our experience has been that a friendly ear and a shared story with someone who has been through a similar experience can help a lot.
We’re here if you need us!
The aim of NZEM is to:
PROVIDE SUPPORT to women throughout NZ who have experienced or are experiencing an early menopause as a result of genetic, natural or medically induced causes. to provide a broad range of relevant information and resources to assist women in their personal journeys through early menopause.
PROVIDE INFORMATION. There is so much information out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to go. Our Links and Library pages help give members' access to as much information as possible because your long term physical and emotional health will benefit from access to a wide range of resources. Note: we do not advocate any particular way of managing your symptoms or looking after your long term health, but we do strongly urge you to research your options fully and always discuss treatment options with your medical practitioner.
SHARE OUR STORIES. From these stories, one thing is clear: while we may have the common experience of early menopause, each of those experiences is unique. We have tried to include a broad range of women’s stories on our site in the hope that as you read through them, you will come across others who have faced something similar to yourself. In this way, we hope to create a supportive community of women who have shared similar experiences.
The history of NZEM
This support group was established by Dr Andrew Shelling of Auckland University as a response to women’s needs while conducting research investigating the genetic basis of premature ovarian failure (POF).
During this research, Andrew found that women were very keen to talk about their experiences of entering menopause so much earlier than expected. The group began as a small, email based contact group. While this served the primary goal of offering support to prematurely menopausal women, over time we became aware that there were many women who did not know about our group. This realization led to the development of this web site. It is hoped that this web site will make our group more accessible to a wider range of women.
Given that we are a New Zealand based group, we wanted a logo that was able to capture our ‘kiwi-ness’ while still reflecting the purpose of the group. The modern koru design, speaks to many of the key themes of NZEM: symbolising new life, growth, strength, tranquility, spirituality and ultimately, new beginnings. The circular shape of the koru also representing the moon’s monthly cycles, the un-released eggs that are ultimately at the core of this condition and its powerful representation of the feelings of wholeness and unity that a support group can provide.
Who are we and how might we help?
The women from this group are all volunteers. We do not bring formal qualifications to the support we provide. However, we each have our own unique experience of menopause. We understand how powerful it can be to share those experiences with others who have experienced something similar. It can help to cut through some of the feelings of isolation that many women experience. We understand the importance of having someone to listen to. There are a number of ways that we do this:
NZEM provides email support to women throughout New Zealand. Having made your initial contact with us, with your permission we will inform other members of the group (particularly those within your region) so that you may be provided with a support network of women who have shared similar experiences. Being on the email contact list also gives you access to relevant and timely menopause information and group news.
Technology is all well and good, but you might find it easier to talk to someone in ‘real time’ on the phone. If this is the case for you, it’s no problem to make contact by telephone. Simply send us your telephone details and we will make sure that a group member makes contact as soon as possible. We will try to connect you up with another woman who has shared a similar experience to you, and, if at all possible, someone from your own region.
Regional face-to-face contact
We are happy to arrange get-togethers on request. We understand it might feel a bit daunting to front up to a meal or coffee with complete strangers, but we’ve found it can be very uplifting to meet with others who understand some of what you’re going through. If you’d like face-to-face with others nearby, please get in touch.
We have a public and private presence on Facebook. We use our public page for news and announcements and the private group for personal discussions and organising get-togethers.
From time to time we keep members up-to-date with new research and articles of interest. If you would like to be added to our email list please SUBSCRIBE below.
“I’ve learned to accept the situation. I acknowledge the negatives but I’m determined to emphasise the positives. This is not a life sentence. We only get one chance at this life and I intend to squeeze all the good I can out of it."
“We all have so many varying symptoms and experiences and are dealing with POF in many different ways depending on our own lifestyles that there really are no hard and fast rules. You really have to listen to what your own body is telling you and keep looking for solutions until you find what you yourself are happy with.”
“Support from family and friends is critical; being rested BEFORE surgery would have allowed my adrenal glands to step up to do their job once the ovaries had gone; and most of all, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself.”