The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times run a popular column in their magazine supplement called 'This is what I do'. I was delighted to be approached by Larissa Nolan to contribute to her column and fill her in on what it is I do all day...
This is what I do
I'm a mother of four daughters, aged from 18 to seven, and first and foremost, that is what i do. I have a business studies degree from Trinity College and I have worked in financial PR, but I was a full-time mother for 13 years when I started my website, Mysecondspring.ie
It began last February, when I decided to do something new. I looked close to home at issues affecting my peer group. I'm 49 and the menopause is something that is looming for many in my circle, yet we don't know too much about it. There are some women who have no idea what the menopause is and are terrified to even mention it, but it happens to all women and it's perfectly natural.
It's a time of life that should be embraced and I thought I could do something to make the lives of those who are going through it happier and more fulfilling. I discovered that World Menopause Day was on October 18, last year, so I made this the deadline to have my website up and running. I had a lot to learn, but I had help from a website designer and a search-engine optimizer.
I also took a diploma course in digital marketing. It helped me to understand the importance of good content, the need for social media interaction, the use of keywords and so on.
I describe the website as being a resource for women, and men too, at midlife and beyond. It’s also a community where users can share information and inspire each other. We have blogs by successful businesswomen and film reviews of movies relevant to our group.
The subject of menopause is still taboo. I want to try to change that. In China it’s called a ‘second spring’ and is considered a time when find a new and more confident voice, so that was a perfect domain name.
We’ve been online for only three months, but we’ve had more than 5,000 unique visitors, with 70% from Ireland. Menopause, it seems, is underdiscussed in many other countries too, as women in France, Spain and Germany, for example are checking out the website. Mysecondspring focuses on lifestyle and inspiration at mid-life, not just the symptoms and how to ease them. I work on the site at least 25 hours a week, which is a lot considering that I’m running my other empire – a busy household. My husband, Francis Fullen, and I invested €10,000 in the website. It has great potential and I will give it three years.
Given my age, people ask if I’m going through the menopause myself, and I explain that I’m experiencing the perimenopause, which simply means I’m going into the time around the menopause. Symptoms vary. Sleep patterns are disrupted, a person’s confidence can be affected or they can become intensely irritable and anxious. Some women go through hell.