Become a Nest Menopause Friend

Become a Nest Menopause Friend

Women are slowly opening up about their menstrual cycles and menopause. By sharing our own experience with friends and family, we all contribute to normalising what has been for decades, and in even for centuries, a taboo or at least an inappropriate topic for a conversation. It is reassuring to see the growing coverage about menstruation and menopause in the mainstream media, and it offers us an opportunity to become courageous and to join in with the discussion, to exchange stories with the circle of peers.

Women’s wellbeing and its uniqueness is carving its rightful space in our society. Nevertheless, if we want others to understand and respect what menstruality and menopause is all about, then we need to understand it ourselves first. After all, menstruation, perimenopause, and menopause are part of life and the most natural processes happening through female bodies. It is time to amend the old narrative, which every so often labels the symptoms in an over-medicalised way, giving us the impression that there is something wrong with us and that all women suffering through various menopause symptoms need a medical cure. Sometimes medical support is necessary, but frequently the menopause is broadly misunderstood.

Last year The Nest Southwest CIC has launched its Menopause café as a platform for people experiencing perimenopause and menopause. There we meet every first Friday of the month in an informal friendly atmosphere over the coffee and a cake, in a cosy setting of The Glorious Art House Café, Fore Street, Exeter. This project received an immediate response, and it clearly shown that the Menopause café and its affiliated Nest Menopause Facebook group filled a gap.

When facing menopausal changes individually, we crave a safe place where we don’t feel alone and can learn how to navigate through the unknown territories of the menopause by simply listening and sharing, being together, laughing, being vulnerable, and creating a new circle of friends that are on the same boat. Personally, it filled me up with a profound sense of belonging, which I had started to miss while losing the regular structure of the menstrual cycle.

When we are in the menstruating years, the cycle is our anchor, our companion, if we like it or not. In Menopause, this anchor is gone, the structure is no more. A friend can step in and support with their ears and with their own experience. In Menopause, women often focus more on what really matters in their stage of life, somehow it comes with all the changes that we go through. And a reliable, non-judgmental friend is sometimes all that matters in certain circumstances.

After the successful launch of the Menopause café, the phenomenon of menopause deserves in Exeter a deeper dive. This year, the Nest Menopause book club is being born and following up on the structure of the other Nest peer support groups, we are currently creating the Menopause Peer Support Network and opening the position for volunteers to join us.

The Menopause Friends will be happy and comfortable to spread the word, take Menopause awareness and support into the larger community, and help hold space for peer circles to reach even more women and people experiencing this profound life transition. To become The Nest Menopause Friend is a remarkable opportunity to step up and embrace your own cyclical and Menopausal journey.

We are all unique, and we are all in this or that way facing the challenges that are not always comfortable to go through. We often lack the greater spectrum of information that would lead us to discover available and resonating choices related to hormonal changes. We can inspire each other about practices that build trust in our own body and mind and share about options keeping the menopause related mental health and menopausal gut in equilibrium.

The hormonal system is a delicate mechanism, and Menopause transition is an invitation to become our own alchemist, that transforms, embodies and empowers us as a wise, respected elder. Together with our friends and peers, we can keep the circle of life in motion, inspiring and guiding the next generation with a new, more positive approach towards the Menopause transition.

If the Nest Friend volunteer position dedicated to Menopause support is calling you, please send the application form by 19th of August.

Blog post written by Sati Katerina Fitzova-Sgouros

The Nest Menopause Project co-leader

Sati lives currently in Exeter, she is a writer, trauma healing therapist, breathworker, doula and a facilitator of embodiment and cyclical awareness workshops. Besides her formal trainings in EU and UK, she has been actively working with various indigenous traditions for over 20 years, implementing in her work the diversity and perspective of the ancient cultures, art and traditional ways of healing.

*photo by @soulfocus_media


Got a question? Get in touch:

Community Day

Community Day

Guest Blogger – Yasmeen Louis

On April 4th, The Nest Southwest CIC hosted a Community Day to celebrate our successes with tea and cake. Choosing Sylvania Community Hall as our venue, the day allowed members from all three sections of our organisation to come together – Menopause, Menstruation, Pregnancy & Birth. And what a day it was.

Equipped with various selections of drinks and sweet things (including the extremely tasty and aesthetically pleasing Nest logo cup-cakes from Bizzie Baking), the hall was filled with members of our community, with some of the little ones running in and out near the play area, while our newest members were cooed over, much to their bemusement. The floor was covered with brightly coloured mats and a collection of various toys, creating a cheerful and welcoming effect. And it seemed even the weather was on our side, as the sun gave our outdoor photos that bit of extra sparkle.

A close up of some of the delicious logo cupcakes from Bizzie Baking

As a Social Media Intern, I loved it all. As a University of Exeter student, with currently no young children in my immediate family, I realised I do not often get to interact with very small children. Whereas, during our Community Day, I was able to meet so many people , who got to tell me about their little ones, some of which were only weeks old. It was a wonderful experience that I would never have received if it wasn’t for this day. And as a Social Media Intern, it gives me an invaluable opportunity to see exactly what community I am now a part of!

Most of all, I was astounded at how far-reaching The Nest’s support is. In a post-pandemic world, I believe we are all now accustomed to meeting individuals for the first time over Zoom or Teams. So it was refreshing to see so many aspects of the organisation together in one space. For example, for some of the volunteers, this was their first time meeting in person.

Some of our youngest members enjoying the day’s festivities.

Yet that wouldn’t necessarily be apparent if observing the festivities taking place in Sylvania Hall on April 4th. The atmosphere was brilliant, a constant buzz from different members all communicating and interacting with one another created an infectiously jolly mood. It seemed the time whizzed past because far too soon, it was time to go home again – which seemed to prove the old saying; time does fly when you’re having fun.

The list of people we have to thank seems never-ending. Of course, LUSH Exeter, for providing us with their lovely luxury bath products – which, according to some people  who  DMed the page, proved a hit with both adults and the little ones. And we have all the volunteers to thank. From our helper who worked tirelessly in the kitchen making endless cups of tea, to the people who volunteered to set up and clean up. Again, another thank you goes to all the amazing  volunteers and the talented Gwellian Rial of White Linen Photography  who documented all of this with her brilliant camera. And a huge thank you goes to our co-founders, Hazel, Jodie and Nancy for masterminding the whole event.

The Nest’s co-founders Hazel, Jodie and Nancy.

Finally, I would like to say a thank you to all the members of The Nest community and those who made this day possible who couldn’t make it. But after observing the success of this brilliant Community Day, I am confident enough to say; don’t fret, there will be many more opportunities for you to join in the coming years. 

The community day was funded by The National Lottery – Awards for All. 

Yasmeen Louis – Social Media Coordinator and Analyser, intern from the University of Exeter.


A selection of photos from the day.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Every year the 8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day. It is a collective world wide effort for gender equality, not owned by any one single organisation as it is something that we all need to work towards together – co-creating a world of diversity, inclusivity and celebration. Celebrating all people who identify as women.

“You can do some rather extraordinary things if that’s what you really believe.”

– Toni Morrison

This blog post is to introduce you to the work of The Nest and signpost to some other women’s support organisations in the Exeter and Devon area. First we’d like to share this video by spoken word poet Anisa Nandaula…

The Nest Southwest is a community interest company based in Exeter, Devon, set up to support women and girls through the major life transitions of menstruation, pregnancy, birth and menopause. We offer social, emotional and informational support through a variety of women’s peer support groups, menstrual wellbeing workshops, webinars, social media presence and a hire service to reduce landfill waste while saving money. We are passionate about creating community by opening spaces that foster non-judgement, build peer support networks, and grow respect for self, others and the planet.

We currently offer:

Other Exeter women’s support groups…

Whatever you choose to do with your time we hope you will take a moment after reading this blog to reflect on the world you live in. Big changes are often made up of little actions taken consistently over a long period of time, and to create a world where gender equality is a reality, the changes need to first start inside ourselves and our beliefs.

“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”

Anne Sexton 

Comments? Please drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you…

Grief, and what do we do with it?

Grief, and what do we do with it?

Grief is a collection of feelings we feel for a variety of reasons, most commonly understood to be something we feel when people we love pass away. But it’s one of the most complicated of emotions, and not limited to losing a loved one. It is not linear and does not follow an easy straight pathway back ‘to normal.’ Grief is also an initiation, as we are forever changed by the experience. 

We are living in a time of loss for so many things. We open the doorway to grief and see how wide ranging it can be, and how often we are afraid of even opening the door to peek through because of what we might find. And although grief is unique to you and your situation, when we come together we can feel compassion with others which helps alleviate feelings of loneliness, and can ease anxiety and depression.

Fertility grief

Here at The Nest we support women, birthing people and menstruators through the major life transitions of menstruation, pregnancy, birth and menopause. Grief can be encountered around many of these corners, and is something that is not often shared but is very common when we start talking about fertility. 

Grief can come at many stages in the fertility journey, for example through:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Neonatal loss
  • Termination of pregnancy for social or financial reasons
  • Termination for medical reasons
  • Divorce / separation
  • Fertility treatment loss
  • Perimenopause 
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy after loss
  • Or any other grief related to the wide field of fertility… all is welcome

Grief tending in community

What do we do when the weight of sorrow lies heavy in our heart? How do we deal with it? Grief tending in community is a four hour event to give attention to our grief within a supportive group. It is a journey for connection with self, and others who also feel deeply and widely. 

Humans are a social species. We are born to live in connection with other people, not just for the good times, but also for the difficult ones. Grief tending in community offers an opportunity to build a ‘village’ even if only for the day, which can bear witness and hold each other’s strong feelings. It can help to:

  • Feel lighter
  • Build connection to other people
  • Give emotional release
  • Ease anxiety
  • Soothe the nervous system
  • Open to healing
  • Connect with life

Our next Grief Tending in Community event is coming up on Wednesday 6th April in Exeter. Please register your interest now:

Grief tending in community is a space to share some of those feelings within a like-minded group. We meet in person with a supportive team who hold the space for sorrow and have experience of supporting others in this way.

We recognise that grief is not an isolated event, but is affected by your unique personality, your family situation, your culture, language, spirituality and community. We welcome all genders.

Grief tending is about creating a non-judgmental and respectful experience to process some of our feelings while being witnessed and witnessing others. For too many of us grief is hidden behind closed doors, sometimes through fear or in an attempt to try and protect others from the depth of our pain.

Grief tending cannot take away what happened to you, but it can offer an opportunity to learn to live alongside the feelings.

Grief tending in community is not the first place to come if you are recently bereaved, or if your mental health is unstable. Please seek advice from your health care professional if you are in any doubt. 

Neither does grief tending in community replace professional therapy, but can work very well alongside 1-2-1 work.

Grief tending is a good way to feel feelings, especially if you have felt stuck for a while, feel numb and don’t know what you feel. When coming to an event we advise that you find support for yourself both before and afterward. This could be a check in with a good friend or family member who can listen, or with a trained therapist or counsellor.

Ready to book?

Register your interest to be the first to know when booking opens for our event on 6th April 2022.

photo of a flock of flying birds

Got more questions? Get in touch…

Experience Exeter’s Menopause Café

EXPERIENCE EXETER’S MENOPAUSE CAFÉ

Guest blog by Barbara Wheatley   

Exeter’s Menopause Café has well and truly launched.

Contributing to a nationwide drive, it’s every first Friday of the month, so it’s easy to remember. And it was so good the first time in October that I booked again for the second meet, and I’m already booked for the third meet – it’s literally that infectious.

So who amongst the menopausal ‘us’ doesn’t want to chat in confidence, in a safe, friendly environment, over coffee, share views and stories, and create new ones? In steps The Nest Southwest CIC (which stands for Community Interest Company) to provide just that. Courtesy of The Glorious Art House Café run by the unbelievably cheerful Rosie, she  knew she always wanted to host such meetings.

The Glorious Art House Cafe

How clever a name is The Nest which was set up to encompass the whole process from menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth to motherhood in their offering, through to the other ‘M’- Menopause. These are all milestones in the reproductive life cycle with which The Nest anticipated we might need help in our lives.

There’s so much more noise now about the menopause. We do really need to pause. We are in midlife, but menopause has been given a bad name for too long. Women have not known during that time what’s hit them. They still don’t. But they know more. At least the conversation has started, from documentaries to news items, (The Menopause Café Exeter Launch was filmed in part by BBC Spotlight), specialist doctors, to GPs. Word is getting out and round. The conversations are happening, choices and decisions are thankfully more informed, and we are being celebrated. We’re filling in the gaps and it’s causing quite a buzz.

Exeter Menopause Café in action

We should campaign to re-name the menopause to something a bit more user-friendly. There are needless to say a few contenders but I personally like the sound of Second Spring , as it is a second chance at life, a rebirth. Whatever it’s called, it’s being reframed. It has to be. With the menopause, so much feeds into it, and comes out of it. We will now hopefully get a lot more out of it. Finally we are less than just a label and more a force to be reckoned with.

Exeter couldn’t have picked a nicer, quirkier, inspired setting for its monthly morning meets to lift our spirits. The Glorious Art House Café really is glorious; two floors of a wonderful historic building with original features that have been so brightly furnished, updated and decorated, you’d consider yourself on holiday, so welcoming is the atmosphere. You won’t be surprised to learn it really is an arthouse. 

We are all beautiful

At that time of the morning it’s a perfectly fashioned coffee and cake to settle down with, quirky crockery and tableware to boot. The menopause meeting takes place on the first floor to ensure the safety and confidentiality of the menopausal (and non-menopausal) café customers. Half way through, it’s almost a game of musical chairs to encourage more getting to know one another by shuffling around, even enlarging a chatty group and of course a chance to grab another hot drink. 

It’s a chance to support local businesses and independents, (as many of the attendees here are) each other and fellow mid-lifers. There have been waiting lists both times so far, and it’s easy to see why this catches on.  There’s the desired 14 of us max at the moment. We are here with a common cause. We have our own personal narratives, we become a voice, a menopause community. Initially as strangers we are friends we haven’t made yet. Friends come with friends, and make new ones. You might come in alone, but you are never alone. You don’t walk out alone. And soon the faces become familiar and might well form a core, conversations can veer off topic, just as they should, when you realise you have more in common than you thought.  

carrot cake and hot drink

See, we can ‘google’ all we like the classic symptoms of peri-and menopause, the ones most talked about, the loudest ones and even post-menopause as we are all at different stages of this midlife. But the quieter symptoms, they are the most exciting ones to talk about. We all end up laughing.

A Menopausal Café -goer from the inaugural meet in Perth, Scotland, originally told The Guardian newspaper, “Now I know I’m not alone. I’m not going mad.”

One Exeter attendee most recently said “I enjoyed it SO much. The whole meet was so uplifting and inspiring; you provided a space where I could thrive, in a way I haven’t been able to for so long – I came alive.”  


Guest blog written by Barbara Wheatley. A former PR from London, with a BA in International Marketing, now living in Devon, writing flash fiction and creative non-fiction. Barbara is passionate about language and the written word, reading, writing, philosophising while researching and reviewing. Her work has appeared on Paragraph Planet and regularly on Friday Flash Fiction. She is a member of the SW Writer’s Register and proud to recently become a LITRO magazine contributor with her first ever 2000 word book review. She loves to take good photos, is into colour, music, all things pre-loved and is an advocate of mental wellbeing.

The Nest Southwest hosts the Exeter Menopause Café on the first Friday of the month at The Glorious Art House Café, on Fore Street, Exeter. 10am to 12 noon. All genders and all ages welcome. Entry by donation. Booking essential as space is limited. Book HERE now.

Watch our video about wellbeing in pregnancy

Pregnancy Wellbeing free video

Pregnancy and becoming a parent is a rite of passage, meaning that it is a life threshold once crossed you are forever changed. And in the busy-ness of preparing for the practicalities of having a new baby in the house we can forget how to prepare for mental wellbeing and health. This hour-long webinar was recorded as part of The Nest autumn webinar series and is available here for you to view for free.

Wellbeing in Pregnancy webinar with Talkworks

In the webinar you’ll hear Becky and Rebecca reference the booklet that was sent to all webinar participants after the call. You can access this document below, feel free to print out and fill in to help you and your pregnancy:

The Nest Southwest CIC runs a weekly pregnancy and beyond wellbeing group called Nesters. They meet every Tuesday from 7.30pm, alternating between meeting online on Zoom and in person in Exeter at The Beacon Community Centre. Nesters is supported by a facilitator and by our PPSN volunteers (perianal peer support network) who are local mums who have been trained to offer support to new mums. If you are pregnant we welcome you to come along and find out more. Booking is via our events page HERE

November at The Nest

November at The Nest

Here at The Nest Southwest we are getting pretty excited about our monthly planner! What do you think?

As well as our regular weekly pregnancy groups and yoga classes we are also hosting some exciting yoga workshops – one specifically for menstruation, and one specifically for menopause. So wherever you are on the spectrum of life – if you are a menstruator we’ve got something for you.

We are also launching our winter program of pregnancy, birth and parenting live webinar sessions. So, if you or someone you know is pregnant, come along and learn more as well as meeting other local people preparing for a positive birth experience in the interactive Q&A sessions.

Menstruation events

Sunday evenings 8-9pm on zoom is our weekly Yin Yoga to unwind session hosted by Chloe. A beautiful way to end a week and set intentions for the new one about to begin. Suitable for everyone, whether you are menstruating or not but we thought we’d put it up the top of this long list of yummy offerings!

Later in November Chloe is offering a menstruation specific yoga workshop. Whether you are trying to conceive or are interested in living more in harmony with your menstrual cycle, this yoga workshop is for you. We will explore each of the four stages of our cycle and discover how we may wish to adapt our yoga practice to suit each of the stages – enabling us to work with the fluctuations and changes our body goes through each month, rather than fighting against them. Discover why the exact same yoga practice can seem impossible some weeks, but easy others and learn more about yourself, your body and your unique cycle in this two-hour workshop. There will be time for questions and conversation, as well as guided meditation, breathwork, yang yoga, yin yoga and deep relaxation. It will be a time to tune in and embrace the wonders of the female cycle. Everyone is welcome. If you are not currently menstruating, you are able to use the same tools around the moon cycle. Beginners to yoga are also very welcome.


Menopause events

Yin Yoga to unwind on Sunday evening is also very nourishing is you are peri-menopausal or menopausal.

Exeter Menopause Café. Our monthly group on the first Friday is fully booked for November and bookings are now open for December. Due to it’s popularity, and by request we have decided to offer a Menopause Café in the evening on Friday 12th November! This is a launch event as we try out what it’s like to gather together in the evening with a glass of something or warm drink of choice in the beautiful surroundings of The Glorious Art House Café on Fore Street, Exeter. This is an open meeting for people of all genders to come and chat about all things perimenopause and menopause related. It is aimed at breaking down the taboo around menopause, increasing awareness of the impact of the menopause on those experiencing it, their family, friends and their colleagues, and reflecting on the ‘third stage of life’.

Essential ground rules:
*Non-judgemental – people might have different views to you and that’s ok.
*Respect – ourselves, each other and the space.
*Open hearted – trust that everyone is doing the best they can.
*You don’t have to share personal stories but you might need to be prepared to listen.
*Confidential – what’s shared in the café stays in the café (except your own stories that you’re free to do what you like with of course!).

This month we are also launching a special yoga workshop specifically for the menopause transition. Join Virginia for this 2 hour ONLINE session which will include time for information sharing and discussion as well as gentle (accessible for all) Yoga movement and breath work and deep relaxation.
Virginia is a former nurse and now a Yoga and Ayurveda therapist who is fully post menopausal and loving it!


Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

Our wonderful welcoming weekly Nesters Pregnancy & Beyond group is a place for pregnant mums and birthing people to come together and chat about all things pregnancy, birth and early parenting. It’s hosted by Jodie and runs weekly, alternating between in-person at The Beacon Centre in Exeter, and on Zoom. Once you’ve had your baby we welcome you to continue to come to the group during your ‘fourth trimester’ which is up until around the 3 month mark postnatally. All ethnicities welcome. We are LBT+ friendly. and welcome non-binary parents along with pregnant mums. We chat, drink tea and eat cake! We also have various craft activities or short talks about subjects relevant to the group.

The group is supported by the Pregnancy Peer Supporter Network, a group of volunteers who have lived experience of birthing in the pandemic` and are trained to support birthing people. They are not medically trained, and cannot give advice nor tell you what to do but offer a listening ear and can help you explore your options to find the best choice for you.

Every Wednesday evening join us for a relaxing yoga session designed around you and your baby. This is hosted by Nancy, who is a physiotherapist and a yoga teacher with a specialist interest in women’s health. As a mother herself, Nancy has first had experience at understanding the changes a women goes through on their pregnancy journey. She will guide you through techniques on grounding and connecting with baby, breathing and visualisation, gentle movement, and deep relaxation. No yoga experience or specialist equipment is necessary , just bring yourself and bump (or baby) a blanket and plenty of pillows.

And of course, Yin Yoga to unwind on Sunday evening is also very nourishing is you are pregnant or with a baby.

This Autumn The Nest is launching it’s series of pregnancy, birth and early parenting webinars to provide access to quality information about the transition to parenthood. And we are kicking it off with a wellbeing Pregnancy Webinar will be facilitated by practitioners from Talkworks who are experienced in working with perinatal mental health and wellbeing.

We know that pregnancy and the transition into parenthood can be challenging. This webinar will give you strategies to help to promote and managing wellbeing in pregnancy and beyond, including; bonding with your bump, the importance of self-care, identifying and managing negative thoughts and worry, managing relationships, improving communication and thinking ahead to parenthood. We will also give an overview of how Talkworks may be able to support you further to promote wellbeing in pregnancy and beyond.

We welcome anyone who is pregnant, has recently given birth or supporting someone else who is.


From left to Right, Nancy, Jodie and Hazel The Nest Southwest co-directors.

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of building our little Nest community over the past two years, it has been an honour and a pleasure to work with you and share some of your stories. We look forward to meeting more people and being part of this exciting project as it grows to support women, girls and menstruators across Devon during the transitions of menstruation, pregnancy, birth and menopause.

Our vision is to live in a world where women and girls feel empowered and fulfilled at each stage of their life. We want to be part of creating a cohesive society where these rites of passage are honoured as gateways of personal development as well as biological milestones.

Our mission is to provide emotional & educational support, improving well-being & self-esteem to enable peer mentoring and increased wellbeing. We support women and girls through menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth, to post-menopause.

We believe in intersectional feminism by promoting gender justice and racial justice. We are anti-racist and pro-trans rights. We believe in equality for all women and girls everywhere.

We offer compassionate peer support, and providing a safe, nurturing environment to explore emotional & physical literacy as we traverse these gateways. There is no right or wrong way to go through these gateways, they are as individual as we are. But we don’t have to do it alone.

Read more about us, our mission and our events on the website: thenestsw.org

World Menopause Day

World Menopause Day

Monday 18th October 2021 is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the menopause. Here at The Nest Southwest CIC we are committed to providing social, emotional and informational support about this major life transition, and we do this through our groups, yoga sessions and carefully curating a list of recommended resources.

We are an independent, grass roots, not-for profit organisation based in Devon. We are led by and for women, and non-binary menstruators. We are not sponsored but we do receive grant funding that is in alignment with our ethics and code of conduct to enable us to deliver some of our services at reduced rate or for free.

Why is it important to talk about the menopause?

If you started menstruating, you will one day pass through the menopause. This fact is something many of us simply put off thinking about until the moment comes, and while for some the menopause transition is a smooth passage for others it can be horrifically debilitating and create an overwhelming sense of loneliness. But you are not alone and talking to others in a safe and supportive space can help normalise the wide range of menopause symptoms and explore any treatment options.

Yet the world is rapidly changing and this year the topic of menopause seems to be popping up everywhere, from local radio stations to national news coverage to employer tribunals. However there is still not much support and women can feel isolated.

Introducing The Exeter Menopause Café

Following the World’s first menopause café, held in Perth, Scotland in 2017, a number of menopause cafes have been organised throughout the UK, including in some workplaces. The Nest Southwest was inspired by the simple yet profound idea to bring people together over a hot drink to talk about all things peri and menopause related, so this month we launched our very own Exeter menopause café. We gather at The Glorious Art House Café on Fore Street in Exeter. All genders are welcome to come and share stories and listen to each other.

AND in honour of World Menopause Day today we are holding an online pop-up café on zoom. Book your spot HERE

Why is this open to all genders?

Menopause does not happen in a vacuum, it can affect the whole of society because the people it affects live and work within that society. Partners often struggle to understand what is happening and have no idea what is normal and what is not. Also, people who were assigned female at birth and menstruate but don’t identify as women will also go through the menopause. This is why we open our menopause café up to people of all genders, to create an open non-judgemental, confidential space to share experiences and talk to each other about this transformative experience.

Hopes and dreams going forward…

The Exeter menopause café is just the beginning in our work around the menopause. We also offer weekly yoga classes and monthly menopause workshops online and are exploring options in 2022 to create menopause educational sessions, grief tending opportunities and weekend retreats. Our dream is to create a thriving, empowered community that supports each other, building on peer support and access to quality information.

How can people get involved?

01


Exeter Menopause Cafe

This is an open meeting for people of all genders to come and chat about all things perimenopause and menopause related. It is aimed at breaking down the taboo around menopause, increasing awareness of the impact of the menopause on those experiencing it, their family, friends and their colleagues, and reflecting on the ‘third stage of life’.

Online – Zoom

In Person at The Glorious Art House Café, Fore St, Exeter.

02


Monthly Menopause yoga workshop

Join Virginia for this 2 hour ONLINE session which will include time for information sharing and discussion as well as gentle (accessible for all) Yoga movement and breath work and deep relaxation.
Virginia is a former nurse and now a Yoga and Ayurveda therapist who is fully post menopausal and loving it!

Online – Zoom

Monday 22nd November 7-9pm

03


Weekly Yin Yoga

A beautiful way to end a week and set intentions for the new one about to begin. Yin yoga is a very slow, still practice where we hold just a handful of poses for a few minutes each. It’s a great practice for calming both body and mind, letting go of stress and shifting into our rest and digest mode. Suitable for all women, whatever life stage.

Online – Zoom

Sundays 8-9pm

04


Resource list

Our mission is to share more about the perimenopause and menopause; to normalise this stage in a woman’s life by providing holistic access to quality information. Check out our resource section for a list of useful websites and a reading list.

Got a question?

Get in touch…

Devon women speak

Devon Women speak out

In June we launched our countywide survey for women, girls and all menstruators in Devon – aiming to gather information about menstruation, pregnancy, birth and menopause experiences and how they can affect key areas of life. The survey was designed to focus on the impact of these life transitions and the access to support and advice – or lack thereof.

We received more responses than expected, (242 in total!) with so many valuable and important experiences being shared with us. It was inspiring to read the comments left by respondents and discover recurring themes throughout each section – it reminded us that although each individual’s journey through the major life transitions is unique, there are so many shared experiences which unite menstruators together.

The stigma, and lack of conversation & education around these topics contributes towards a lack of the support systems that can bring women, girls, and menstruators together, and as a result the stories and experiences of menstruators are not shared as much as they could be. Which is why so many of the survey respondents said that the one thing they wished they had known from their first bleed is that they aren’t alone.

The survey revealed gaps in information and support, especially when it came to preparation and information about the menopause and postnatal care for mothers – which, now that it has been identified, The Nest hopes to provide extra support to cover those neglected areas. We already provide a variety of groups and services for women in Devon, see our events page for more details.

And you can download the whole report HERE or keep scrolling and read below…

This report is ©TheNestSouthwestCIC. Sharing is permitted as long The Nest Southwest CIC is referenced and our website shared https://thenestsw.org/

Menstrual Empowerment Education

Menstrual Empowerment Education

We want to train a team of ‘Transitioneers’ to provide menstrual health workshops for pre-teens in schools in Exeter.

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM AND WHY IS IT A PROBLEM?

Only one in five girls feels comfortable talking to their teacher about periods.and 49% have missed an entire day of school due to their periods. It’s 2021 and young people are still ashamed of their periods, they are still missing school and period poverty is still a reality for many young people here in the UK. 

Menstrual health may feel like only a small part of young people’s well being but it can affect all aspects of their life. Their relationships, accessing education, our society has created a culture of silence, ignorance and shame impacting on mental health and wellbeing. Rates of self-harm and attempted suicide are alarmingly high (suicide rates of girls increased by 83% in the last 8 years).

WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

Our inclusive education for young people of all genders wants to change this culture. Delivered by a team of approachable well informed volunteers who are able to open up the conversation build body and emotional literacy and break period taboos.

What if YOU could help empower the next generation to not be afraid of their periods, to talk about them openly, to improve their confidence, social connections and wellbeing. Helping pre-teens navigate the transition to adulthood in a positive and informed way.

In Sep 2020 UK law changed and PSHE education became statutory in secondary education, however teachers are under more stress than ever due to the covid pandemic. Adding PSHE to their already stretched workload means it can be an uncomfortable burden for both teachers and students. We want to help.

Our pilot programme aims to train 24 transitioneers focusing on the topics of:
-Sustainable periods
-How periods affect different people
-the importance of menstrual wellbeing

Once trained up they will be supported to go into school and deliver interactive, open, unpressured workshops where all students have the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about how menstrual wellbeing can and will affect their whole lives.

WHY NOW?

Over the last few years, period poverty here in the UK has become more understood, there has been a collective raising of awareness about this topic and as a result free sanitary products are now available in all schools, however access to products is only half the solution. Taboos still exist, schools are now obligated to provide education about periods too but how do they tackle this?

MEET THE NEST TRANSITIONEER TEAM

Hazel, is one of the directors of The Nest Southwest. She is a celebrant and women’s circle facilitator regularly holding spaces for transformation. She is passionate about supporting the major life transitions from menstruation to birth to menopause as she sees these phases as having many similar qualities that can hugely benefit from the presence of social, emotional and informational support.

Chloe, has spent the last 6 years working on menstrual health programmes around the world and promoting the use of reusable sustainable period products such as menstrual cups and washable pads. In 2017, Plan International UK, commissioned her to conduct the first national research into young people and period poverty. She’s learnt the most important thing for changing societal attitudes about periods is creating the space to be inquisitive. She’s excited to work alongside the Nest to go back to her roots, sharing her knowledge and experience with the Transitioneers. 

Abigail, The Nest’s social media intern. From her previous work with young people, she has witnessed the shame and uncertainty that surrounds menstruation. She is excited to be part of this project which wishes to change the narrative and empower young people. 

WHAT ELSE HAS THE NEST DONE SO FAR?

The Nest already runs an established volunteer program for perinatal peer supporters, training mums who have given birth in the pandemic to support other pregnant people. In the last 12 months we have delivered over 50 sessions including a monthly menstruation awareness group. This cycle awareness focused group has supported women all over Devon, helped them find a like minded community and share menstrual wellbeing ideas. 

WANT TO HELP SPREAD PERIOD POWER?

Please support us to break taboos in Exeter schools by donating to our crowdfunding campaign or donate us your time and become part of the Transitioneer volunteer team here at The Nest Southwest.

Ready to find out more about becoming an Empowerment Menstrual Educator in Exeter… CLICK HERE or fill in the form below