During a recent episode of We Can Do Hard Things podcast, actress Tracee Ellis Ross opened up about being 50, single, and going through perimenopause.
While reflecting on experiencing perimenopause, Ross shared,
“I have, for my entire life, been tethered to a very routine cycle. And I’m very connected to my body, so I would know I’m ovulating. I would have all the feelings of knowing that and all of that is out the window. And I turn 50. And here I am in this open space now, sort of allowing the bubbling up of whatever might be here.”
Perimenopause means “around menopause” and refers to the time when body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years. Perimenopause is also called the menopausal transition. It often begins between the ages of 45 and 55.
The Black-ish star read an excerpt from her journal in which she questioned what it means to be fertile and to come to the end of her reproductive years.
“I can feel my body’s ability to make a child draining out of me. Sometimes I find it hilarious, as if there is a fire sale going on in my uterus, and someone’s in there screaming, ‘All things must go.’ As my body becomes a foreign place to me that doesn’t really feel safe or like home…I don’t know how to manage or control or fight the external binary narrative of the patriarchy that has hunted me and haunted me most of my adult life.”
“Is it my fertility that is leaving me? Is it my womanhood? Or is it really neither? But I have to fight to hold my truth, because I have been programmed so successfully by the water we all swim in, by the water we all are served. And I feel fertile with creativity, full of power, more and more a woman than I’ve ever been. And yet that power that I was told I must use was not used.”
“I say this to people all the time, I’m a wonderful mother. And I’m very mothering. And it’s been hard for me to claim that.”
She later expressed how she feels grateful that she is now able to look at being childless ‘with curiosity instead of heartbreak.’ She explains,“The heartbreak does come up, and I get to hold that gently and lovingly and then say, remind myself, ‘I woke up every morning of my life and I’ve tried to do my best, so I must be where I’m supposed to be.”
“I’ve been single for a very long time. I have had many wonderful ins and outs of things, but no one stuck to the pan. As a result, I get to curate my family, my chosen family around me. And I don’t think I realized the gift of that until I’ve started to get older.”
Is it necessary for a woman to feel obligated to have a child and be married?