Tracee Ellis Ross Opened Up About Being Child-Free: "I Must Be Where I'm Supposed to Be"

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Tracee Ellis Ross
(Image credit: STEVE GRANITZ / GETTY IMAGES)

Tracee Ellis Ross just appeared on the We Can Do Hard Things podcast hosted by Glennon Doyle, and they had a much-needed conversation about fertility and what it means to be a woman as defined by women themselves—rather than by patriarchal expectations.

Ross, who is 50, candidly opened up about the experience of being child-free and entering perimenopause, and how she feels about the term "fertility" these days, and it's incredibly inspiring.

She read from a journal entry of hers: "I can feel my body's ability to make a child draining out of me. Sometimes I find it hilarious, as if there's a fire sale going on in my uterus and someone's in there screaming, 'All things must go.'"

She continued, "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."

No longer reading, Ross added, "My ability to have a child is leaving me, but, like, I don't agree that that's what 'fertile' means. I don't agree that that's what 'woman' means," before expressing her gratitude for the trans community, who has helped her understand that the definitions of gender we are taught are far more rigid than the reality.

Speaking of being child-free, the actress said, "I'm grateful to be able to look at it with curiosity instead of heartbreak."

She continued, "The heartbreak does come up, and I get to hold that gently and lovingly and then remind myself, like, '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, who is the daughter of legendary singer Diana Ross, is known for her TV roles in Black-ish and Girlfriends, among many others, and is the founder of Black haircare line Pattern Beauty.

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Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.