Here follows the second part of the interview with actress Paula Paul. In the first part, she talks about reunions, getting older and what she actually expected in terms of menopause.

In the third part, Paula talks about where she sees herself in five years, how she would like to live and work then. And she also has a passionate appeal to us women.

Susanne: In the preliminary talk you also mentioned that you had an appointment with a doctor the other day and you told him that you were not feeling well, please tell us again what he told you.

Paula Paul: I’ve already had that twice.

Susanne: Wow.

“Ho ho ho, girl, you have to go through it now, these are just the hard years of a woman.”

Paula Paul: Well, I was in THE big clinic in Hamburg, with one of THE chief physicians in Hamburg. I told him and I also cried there and I said, guys, I’m in a really bad way and he laughed and said. “Ho ho ho, girl, you have to go through it now, these are just the hard years of a woman.” That was the first answer. And the second answer unfortunately also came from a woman and I was like, yes, that was a female doctor who told me, yes, we all have to go through this now and it doesn’t help to complain, but just go through it, close your eyes and go through it. And then I thought, okay, call Susanne and call your friend Baets and tell her… and somehow get help somewhere else, because…

Susanne: So little empathy from doctors, who are masters in their field, who are also super, but…

Paula Paul: No desire to talk about it.

Susanne: … the topic of menopause is also not really… “You have to go through it.”

Paula Paul: You have to go through it… well, they weren’t gynecologists, but the radius of medicine somehow obviously stops there for a short period of time and then starts again at some point in old age, but you can also do something with it somehow. And I have the feeling that this is not really… that this has no place in society, not yet, the topic.

Susanne: Yes. Let’s come back, you said earlier that you have two children….

Paula Paul: Is that one just around the corner…?

Susanne: The one just came. Yes. Hi Romy. Tell me, how old are they, what are they doing?

mehrere Bücher liegen übereinander, eine Frau nimmt ein Buch und schlägt es vor ihrem Gesicht auf
Woman hides her face with a book, more books are in front of her

Paula Paul: Yes, they are almost 19 and will graduate in four weeks. The little one is seven and has just started school. There’s a long break in between, I had the little one when I was 43.

Susanne: Okay. So definitely a high-risk pregnancy at that age. And how… can you compare it, the pregnancies, the time after the birth as a quite young mother and as, let’s say, a late mother? 

Paula Paul: There’s a reason why you become a mother early, so I can say that very clearly. I had a lot more nerves, so with the first pregnancy, everything was… the pregnancies weren’t so different, but the time afterwards, the nights, you put away differently at 30 than at 43. And also today it’s like that, so I’m also due to the menopause of course nervously no longer where I should actually be, when I pick up a 7-year-old from the football field.

Susanne: What does a normal everyday life look like for you? Does it exist at all?

Paula Paul: No. When I’m not shooting, that is, when I’m not working, the alarm clock rings at six and the kids have to be brought on their way. With Romy it’s easy, with Theo it’s difficult.

Then we also have a few animals, but my husband does all that and then I come home and if I’m honest, I really needed two hours to get into the day. So to really condition myself to the fact that I now have to work again until evening, and then and that was also hard the last one and a half years, to go back to bed at eight, because I’m so tired and so exhausted really.

Susanne: So I’ll summarize: total exhaustion, fatigue, great joint pain, your mother also already had, you could also think it’s hereditary or something. So before you even think it has something to do with menopause or perimenopause. 

Paula Paul: Exactly. So I knew for example that it’s very important… I knew only through you… I’ve never heard the word ‘perimenopause’ before, and that this is the time, I know again from my gynecologist, that it’s partly much more difficult and much more painful and much more exhausting than the actual menopause, namely I didn’t know that.

Susanne: You now have a doctor who takes a different approach or who at least doesn’t say that you have to go through it. What did she say when you went there and described everything?

Paula Paul: First of all, she said that maybe I need to clean up my life, that’s kind of true. And then she also… then we took blood and then it was clear very quickly that it is of course the menopause.

Susanne: You’re in midlife, you’ve already had a real setback that I can hear, your mother died quite early…

Paula Paul: Exactly.

Susanne: So was, Romy didn’t have a grandma from the side then.

Paula Paul: No.

Susanne: You have a big child, you have a small child, which is great and at the same time a burden of course, so you need strength for that. Relationship is a challenge…

Paula Paul: Also needs strength.

Susanne: Also needs strength, yes. Now there are still…

Paula Paul: Don’t I have more strength, I don’t have any strength right now.

Susanne: Now there’s still the menopause.

Paula Paul: Yes.

Susanne: Yes, quite a lot.

Paula Paul: Yes.

Susanne: What does it look like when you have time just for you?

Paula Paul: I sleep. “Didn’t she”, did she just say? She said, “She didn’t.” … Oh stop it, I start crying right away. Then I’m asleep.

Susanne: Okay.

Paula Paul: That was totally… so it wasn’t rehearsed. You need to, it’s not… not funny all that shit.

Susanne: That means zero time to do anything for you and certainly not to…

“So everyone else thinks the old lady is completely nuts.”

Paula Paul: I have time, that must be… so everybody else thinks the old lady is completely nuts, I have time, just I sleep… mostly or do something to get me through the day. But that’s not yoga or any sports like everybody else tells me they do, I don’t have any… for that at all.

Susanne: No energy.

Paula Paul: No.

Romy: Well, above all you have to say that you spend the whole day with …

Susanne: Look, there is the camera.

Romy: … with Theo and when you have time for yourself in the evening, either Markus goes crazy or Romy goes crazy.

Susanne: That is, the normal family life.

Paula Paul: The normal madness is here.

Susanne: The normal madness, okay. Wow.

Romy: Which doesn’t have to mean anything negative, but it’s….

Susanne: Okay, wow. So quite a lot on your shoulders there.

Paula Paul: I don’t know, I think it’s like that for every woman, I don’t know. Yes. Looking at it from the outside I always think, what do you want?!

Susanne: Yes, we all think like that, but…

Paula Paul: Exactly. And then you’re in it and you think like, I don’t want it like that.

Susanne: No. Good. Yeah and that’s probably the first step to realize, I need help, I need support, something is….

Paula Paul: Yes.

Here we go: In the first part Paula talks about reunions, getting older and what she actually expected in terms of menopause.

In the third part, Paula talks about where she sees herself in five years, how she wants to live and work then. And she also has a passionate appeal to us women.

Paula Paul: Instagram agency Adam
Photo by Paula Paul: Sonja Tobias
Camera, editing and concept: Sebastian Nevermann
CI: Rilana Schnell from Werne
Blog photo: Ava Sol via Unsplash