Tracee Ellis Ross marked a very big birthday in October when she turned 50 years old. We know that turning 50 can mean menopause is around the corner for many women, and it’s a reality that the actress acknowledged during an episode of Glennon Doyle’s We Can Do Hard Things podcast.
The actress, who describes herself as someone very in tune with her body, explains that presently dealing with perimenopause makes her feel like she’s restarting the journey of womanhood.
“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,” said Ross.
She continued, “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.”
During the podcast episode, the actress shared an excerpt from her journal with listeners about what has come with aging.
“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!’” the Black-ish actress stated.
“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,’” she wrote.
Over one million women in the U.S. experience menopause every year. By definition, a woman is experiencing menopause when she misses her period for twelve consecutive months. Perimenopause are the years leading up to menopause and can be characterized by hot flashes and mood changes due to hormone fluctuations.
Ross concluded her entry reading asking, “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.”
She went on to share more thoughts about her perimenopausal experience and what she makes of it, as well as the idea of fertility. “I mean, just trying to figure out what that means, because my ability to have a child is leaving me, but I don’t agree that that’s what fertile means. I don’t agree that that’s what woman means,” she told hosts and married couple Glennon and Amanda Doyle.
The star added that while she doesn’t have children, she sees herself as a wonderful mother. Ross has nieces and nephews who she often shares on her social media platforms, noting that “I’m very mothering.” These days, Ross says that she’s thankful that she can look at being without child from a lens of curiosity versus one of pain.
“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,” Ross said. “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.”