Here’s a sad truth, fertility, sexuality, mental health, and suicide are taboo topics within the black community. So when I came across the Redbook article featuring the insanely gorgeous, Gabrielle Union, I was super proud. The 42 year old actress and wife of NBA basketball player Dwayne Wayde talked “kandidly” about the pressures of being a woman who has prioritized her career, marriage to a younger man, and her bouts with fertility treatments (IVF).
Are we still equating marriage and children with success? Are people still asking women: “When are you going to have a baby–accompanied by a sad pathetic stare?” I can’t really put my finger on why we, more specifically in the black community, stray away from these topics but feature stories that highlight black women, career, and fertility are few and far between. Earlier this year, Style Expert and Host of TLC’s Dare to Wear, Tai Beachamp, talked kandidly to Essence Magazine, Marie Claire, the NY Post and more about freezing her eggs. Several months ago, talk show queen Wendy Williams talked openly about babies stunting a woman’s career growth.
So, *cues up* #Kanyeshrug I guess we’re making progress…..
Anywho, here are some of my favorite highlights from the article.
On the weird thing about being married to a younger man… “I realized his friends, his teammates, were conceived when I was, like, a senior in high school. I was in high school at the same time as their parents! Sometimes he’ll be like, ‘Oh, my God, he’s so old!’ about someone who’s 35. But, Dwyane’s an old 33, and I’m a young 42, so it balances out.”
On how hard it is for working women with children… “The reality is that women are discriminated against in the workplace for being mothers. As much as there are strides being made – you get pregnant, your career takes a hit. You can’t have a bad day. Don’t you dare cry at work. Don’t raise your voice. Especially if you’re a black woman in corporate America—now you’re ‘the angry black woman.'”
On IVF and the pressures of trying for a family later in life… “So far, it has not happened for us. A lot of my friends deal with this. There’s a certain amount of shame that is placed on women who have perhaps chosen a career over starting a family younger. The penance for being a career woman is barrenness. You feel like you’re wearing a scarlet letter.”
Check out the full article on Redbook.com.