Up to 90% of UK women will experience severe menopausal symptoms, yet only half will seek medical help. There are many reasons why women do not seek treatment for the menopause. A report conducted by the British Menopause Society in 2016 found that a majority of women felt too embarrassed to discuss menopausal symptoms with their doctor, others believed the menopause was “just something they had to put up with”.

So… I decided to address my feelings caused by my hormonal changes. The self loathing. The looking in the mirror and not recognising who was staring back at me.

I knew I wasn’t on my own. I wanted my friends and family to know how I felt.

I couldn’t really vocalise my feelings. I had always been so positive… I didn’t feel that way any more. I felt that being able express my emotions in a creative image would really help them understand.

I decided to create an art instillation called SCRAPHEAP that will show 51 individual images of menopause journeys.

Why 51?

This is the average age in the UK for the menopause to take place.

These 51 images will be powerful, expressive and thought inducing.

Each one an individual expression of the menopause.

Each participant will also be asked to examine their own feelings about their changes for 12 seconds for 12 consecutive days.

Why 12?

This is representational of the 12 missing menstrual cycles that represent the menopause.

The exhibition

This exhibition, led by disabled artist, Donna Mackenzie-Smyth, in collaboration with local photographer, Laura Page, shows the images gathered so far of a group of 12 local women, the number representing the 12 missing cycles which result in the term menopause. The images capture the taboo topic of menopause, at the same time celebrating women’s bodies.

Feedback and comments left by some of the Scrapheap exhibition audience. 

‘I’m not ready for menopause

Time is going so fast

I want another child

How can I pause this

Belly rounded 

Brain fog happening’

‘Amazing, horrible, hard, fat, big sad crazy unwell’

this exhibition was amazing

# gowomen

‘Determined, Sad, broken, learning 

Mentally wobbly, exhausted, watching, caring, full of love

trying to love myself’

‘Time for boldness, shrugging off the previous skin of expectation,

Time to be a chrysalis’

‘Surprise, I’m surprised to be at this point. I sort of 

wasn’t expecting it to happen to me!’

’51 means it happens to one vast majority of women

And yet where are our voices? My menopause was at 38

13 years before… it was a very lonely place to be’

‘I feel well informed now and am getting ready to

enjoy and surrounded by women doing the same’

‘Fabulous exhibition! Well done you two legends. You are both bloody amazing. Love ya Jazza’

51 secs exercise

‘Excited. Proud. Buzzy. Tired. Spinning. Ideas.

What first? Love’

51 Seconds exercise


Strength power, no fucks given

loneliness, proud, fearless,



‘Angry, tired, difficult!’



(Thanks for the art and the visibility.)

‘Advice: -Beware the peri-menopause - before the menopause, hormones, start doing weird shit and you may not know why if no-one's told you. Symptoms can last for years or come and go and comeback.

It's not all bad - can be very liberating, but it maybe a bumpy ride!’

love from Ruth 55

‘Relieved not mother’s symptoms

hot, sweaty,

happy to be sleeping alone - can throw quilt off

glad to be healthy and still active


Glad to have had a family.’

Exhibition ++

‘It's the uncertainly that got me (alongside the night sweats, aching and exhaustion)

- is it the menopause

 or is it  just me being pathetic, disorganised not exercising enough etc etc’

This is a beautiful defiant show

Thank you

‘Growing, strength, power

celebration, bold, change, imagine, shout!’

‘The hidden effects of menopause. Why does no-one talk about it. The shame and the embarrassment around it. I don’t understand.’

‘Not there yet, but building up to it 

Keep talking and sharing - 

let's support each other

On the bizarre journey being a woman.

It can (and often does) really suck

but we’re all reyt 'ard and can achieve anything!’

Amazing exhibition - 

Can’t wait for the rest to come.

Thank you Donna X

‘Scary, biological, woman, visibility,

journey, loss, hope? Beyond.

It’s great (even if uncomfortable) to be made to engage with the subject and give it thought.’

Thank you

‘Anxious I will lose precious pals which define me especially my sex drive and feeling desirable. Wondering if it will bring a peace I have never had.’

‘I felt the menopause was a relief and relief. Freedom. But hot flushes and anxiety have been a burden. There is a definite a positive outcome of it too.

More assertiveness.’

‘Seeing a different woman in the

mirror to the one inside.

Mood swings

Body shape out of control

Brain fog’

‘Love ‘stretched’

‘Unprepared, scared, invisible, 


‘Fabulous exhibition! Well done you two legends. You are both bloody amazing.’

‘Thought provoking pictures. Tiredness and brain fog are a large fixture. Sorry Donna I ran out of time cos it’s after 7pm and I should be in bed.’

Well done with your project.

Amazing Lynne




Strong women’


Beyond caring



‘Beautiful pictures 

Beautiful women



‘Love my tummy

Getting older freedom 

Happy at last


Unapologetically me’

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