Presenter Lorraine Kelly, 61, on menopause, working with her daughter and why she wasn’t glad to see the back of Piers Morgan.
You’re promoting World Menopause Day but it always feels rude to ask people about menopause. Are we wrong to feel rude?
Yes. You shouldn’t feel rude. This is what we want to do. We want to redefine the menopause and take all that stigma away because it seems really silly, doesn’t it, when it happens to half the population? And it’s about time that we started changing that conversation.
How did the menopause affect you? Imagining you’ve been there…
Well, I should think so because I’m nearly 62 now. Actually, to be honest, it took me by surprise, which might seem strange but I’m not alone in that. They’ve done surveys and apparently two-thirds of women feel underprepared.
Why is that?
I don’t know! I think it is because it’s one of the last taboos. My mother never talked about it to me but I do talk about it to my daughter because I think times are changing.
We did a section on the show a few years ago and we found it really difficult to get women in the public eye to talk about it so I ended up with Dr Hilary Jones and he actually did an interview with me.
What were your symptoms?
I felt like I’d lost all my energy, I had lost a lot of my enthusiasm and that’s why a lot of women go to their GP, thinking it’s depression and they get anti-depressants and that’s really not good.
So there’s clearly a lot of work to be done around it. And for men to be more aware about it because men could become involved too.
Why do you think women don’t talk about it? Are they embarrassed?
I think it’s because of this really silly notion that when you get the menopause it means that you are old. I think it’s actually a positive thing. It’s an end to periods, which is great…
You can have unprotected sex!
Well, you have to be careful if you’re not in a long-term relationship! But, for me, it’s all about being in your prime. There’s still much more to come in your life.
But at the same time there are women who are living with the effects of the menopause — like night sweats — when they don’t have to. And that’s why it’s important to get the information out there.
Have you had an embarrassing menopause-related moment yourself?
The thing is, everybody’s menopause is different: some women will suffer horribly from night sweats and things.
I didn’t so much, thank goodness, especially being on television but to be honest with you, if I had, I would have said: ‘Sorry, this is happening and it’s nothing to be upset or ashamed about. It’s part of life.’
I know women are sitting in meetings and it’s like having a bucket of water thrown over your head. But the way to deal with it is just to say, ‘Sorry guys, this is happening and I have to deal with it.’
Are there a few celebrities who have been through it that are more happy to talk about it now?
It’s been fantastic the change [laughs], the change! But there has been a change with incredible women like Davina McCall, who shared her experiences, Ulrika Jonsson has been very open and we need more women to be like that.
It used to be the case that especially if you were an actress or an entertainer or whatever you would never talk about it because you were worried about being over the hill.
But, in this day and age, most women come into their stride in their 40s and 50s and even beyond that.
Were you and your daughter Rosie together during lockdown?
She was in Singapore but she got back just as we were going into lockdown.
When she came back she had to isolate, which was pure frustration because I could Zoom call her but I couldn’t see her, even though she wasn’t that far. But, yeah, she was back and we’ve been working together.
We saw you and Rosie together doing Gogglebox.
Oh that was such fun and she got a little dog as well, who we call my granddaughter. And we do a wee podcast together as well, which is fantastic, talking to really interesting people.
It’s about those sliding doors moments in your life and it has been a joy to work with her. She studied journalism at university, so she’s got some great questioning.
So, how did you feel about Piers Morgan leaving Good Morning Britain? Were you glad to see the back of the presenter?
Not at all but I’ll tell you what, it’s a lot quieter there. He was always quite cheeky, quite naughty, but I wish him all the best in his new venture. It will be good to see him do what he does.
World Menopause Day is on Tuesday October 18
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