She is also the founder owner of Vital Wellness Clinic, a private menopause clinic based in Hertfordshire.
My name is Wendy Molefi, I am a highly experienced GP and Menopause Specialist with an Advanced Menopause Specialist Certificate with the British menopause Society. I am also the founder owner of Vital Wellness Clinic, a private menopause clinic based in Hertfordshire.
I am originally from Botswana and I came to the UK in 1989 to study medicine. After qualifying as a Doctor I returned to Botswana and worked in a mining hospital for two years. I then came back to the UK and trained to become a GP. As a female GP I have always had an interest in women’s health which is why I eventually became a menopause specialist.
I’m also a qualified wellness coach and mindfulness teacher and I believe all these skills are complementary and they enable me to bring an integrated or holistic approach to my clinical practice.
In addition to all of that, I am a mum and a wife, with all the responsibilities of those roles as well.
Yes, and no.
Growing up I was fairly academic and always knew that I wanted to be a Doctor. But I wouldn’t necessarily say I sat down and planned it all out, certainly not at that stage. I knew I had to work hard to get into medical school, and I did.
The planning and evolution of my career came along at a later stage, to meet my needs and interests at various stages in my life. I decided to become a GP because it was family friendly and allowed for flexible working. I could work part-time and maintain my career and still be there for my children when they needed me.
As my children grew older I started to carve my own path, again in line with my interests but also influenced by my own lived experience and desire to maintain a sense of balance between my career and family life.
I have faced many challenges along the way – who hasn’t?!
When I was in my third year of medical school my father back home in Botswana died suddenly. That plunged me into a really dark place; a depression actually. It was a very difficult time in my life, on my own, away from home. But, I was determined not to let it derail me, so I put my head down and managed to ride out the storm and come out the other end a qualified doctor.
Like many women trying to balance careers and family life I have had my fair share of the constant juggling of childcare with long days at work, trying to be a good mum, a good doctor and at times feeling like I was failing miserably at both.
Thankfully, my mindfulness practice sustains me and keeps me grounded.
I measure my success in terms of whether I am maintaining a good balance between my desire to fulfil my aspirations and my responsibilities as a mother.
So I would say thus far, my biggest achievement has been completing a Master’s degree in Mindfulness Cognitive Therapy at Oxford University, whilst caring and supporting my young children in the best possible way. There was definitely blood, sweat and tears along the way, and the odd forgotten play date! But I got there in the end. The icing on the cake was having my dissertation not only being published in a peer-reviewed journal, but also presented at an international conference.
It is difficult to narrow it down to one thing!
However, at the very top of the list is my sense of self-belief and sense of entitlement, particularly as a black woman. Even when discrimination slapped me in the face and threatened to derail me, I would pick myself up and remind myself that, ‘I belong, and I have every right to be here’.
I think mentoring is great because it is essentially all about passing on one’s experience and skills to others, thus empowering the future generation.
I have been mentored throughout my whole medical career and when I was starting my business, and found the experience invaluable. Equally, I have mentored many doctors in training and colleagues at different stages of their careers.
I would start by educating young girls to know that they are equal to boys; they are just as entitled to sitting in the front row; they are just as entitled to speak up; they are just as entitled to dream big.
I would also educate young boys to respect girls and to see them as equals and as capable.
We have a responsibility as a society to educate young people about equality and diversity. If we have these courageous conversations earlier in their lives, there is every hope that the next generation will grow up in a much more balanced and tolerant society where everyone has equal opportunities.
‘Feel the fear and do it anyway!’
Like many, my growth was often stunted by fear; primarily fear of failure. That is until I read Susan Jeffers’ ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. The whole notion that I could live with fear was most liberating.
I would definitely tell my younger self to embrace fear and use it to propel you forward.
I guess in some ways this is akin to ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.
This year I completed the London and Paris Marathon within two weeks of each other, so my ambition for next year is to run three different marathons! Running the New York Marathon would just be a dream!!
Business-wise , I would like to expand my clinic; employ other clinicians and provide more educational events.