Halle. Kerry. Janet. Kandi. Tyra. So many power women are making major boss moves and having children later in life. And many millennial women are finding themselves creating their own businesses, while focusing on stacking major coins before wedding gowns and Pampers. Between career-climbing, traveling, paying salaries, or managing teams, making time to find a suitable boo to build a family with can be more than challenging for go-getter boss woman.
By the time you've mastered your business glow-up, the so-called prime time to have a child has passed, and in comes the frustration, the statistics about infertility, the shade of "Why you ain't married yet?", and the push to consider very expensive and trying options for becoming a parent.
Beauty industry powerhouse Myleik Teele knows this struggle all too well and is no stranger to pressures of the dating and mating game. The founder of CurlBOX and savvy friend-in-your-head who leads the very successful #MyTaughtYou podcast and international retreat thought she'd be the consummate single girl. "I was single for a really long time because I wanted to dedicate as much time as I possibly could to my business," Teele told XONecole EIC Necole Kane in a 2015 interview. "I think that maybe around a couple of years ago, I started to say, 'OK, I don't want to do all of this, have all of this, and have nobody to share it with. I've been on like 25 honeymoons by myself. This makes no sense.'"
Her work life was where she wanted it to be but she admittedly had been neglecting another area of her life: love. Her priorities were shifting, and as they did, it brought into question what a full life looked like to her. Teele would have no idea just how much motherhood would shape into being her answer.
"Every year, I typically do my annual physical around my birthday so that I just don't forget to do it. On my 35th birthday, I [went] to the doctor to do my annual everything. The doctor that I was seeing at the time was literally like, 'So, what are you going to do about having a child?'" Teele recalled during a recent podcast. "I was like, 'I don't know.' I guess I never seriously thought about it. At the time, I don't really think my love life was shaping up to really give it anymore thought. This doctor was just like, 'Well, I understand that you haven't thought about it, but at your age, it's time for you to at least start thinking about maybe you want to freeze your eggs, because your time is going to be limited.'"
She mentioned the idea to a friend who encouraged her to look into it, and so, like many searching for answers, she took to Google. "I went to an informational class and at the class [they tested AMH levels]," she says. "Every woman is born with a certain number of eggs in her body and every woman's eggs deplete at a different rate. This test is supposed to help you figure out where you stand."
After the test, Teele found out that her levels were well below what was considered the norm for women her age.
"I think [the test administrator] was like, 'Yours are at .04, or something.' It was basically like you are underneath the underneath. At that point, I was devastated for a couple of days. Whether or not I want a child---because I don't think I had decided---to [feel] like that option is taken from you---it was a miserable feeling. I will be honest, it was very miserable."
But, like in business and many of her podcasts where she gives women that kick-in-the-butt advice to keep going, Teele walked it like she talked it.
She'd made a way out of no way with curlBox, fulfilling a void in the market and creating something that had not successfully been done, full-scale before. With the same vigor, she chose to try other avenues and boost her chances to have a baby through hormone treatments.
"I tried, and it was very expensive. I spent $12,000 buying all of these shots and stuff, giving myself five shots a day and the doctor's like, 'Basically your fertility is low…' I went through a really dark period because I was like, just like you said, I just did all of this stuff and only to find out that I may not have the opportunity."
"I'm not going to beat myself up about this. I'm not going to feel defeated as a woman."
"I had a conversation with a friend and I realized that if this is the worst thing that happens to you in your life, you're actually doing well," she said optimistically. "I started to think of all the different options. You can do a donor egg, you can get an anonymous person's egg, have it fertilized, and you can have a whole pregnancy experience. There are even studies that show that once a baby is inside of you, carrying your blood and mannerisms, that is your child. You can also adopt. A lot of successful women I've interviewed have adopted children."
As Teele went over her options, she decided to take a breather to regroup and took a solo trip to Paris. "[During the trip], I read Diane Von Furstenberg's book, The Woman I Wanted to Be. I felt sad but liberated and [realized], you know what? I'm not going to beat myself up about this. I'm not going to feel defeated as a woman."
Shortly thereafter, she met her beau, who, she admits, had to deal with the aftermath of her egg-freezing experience. "I can't imagine what it's like to be newly dating a woman who's constantly talking about her eggs and lack thereof and children and stuff like that. That experience made me be ultra-honest in my relationship about coming to a conclusion on whether or not I was going to have kids. Normally, you're dating someone and it's like, 'Well, it's whatever. We have time,' [but] I think that whole experience let me know, you need to decide. You need to make up your mind."
She let go of the shame and chose to empower herself through open communication and emotional transparency. Then, it happened: In June 2017, she got pregnant naturally.
"Out of nowhere, a pregnancy test presented what I believed to be, the greatest challenge of my life. I launched into, 'How do I master each day of this pregnancy? What's happening inside my body? What's the best prenatal pill?' I'll read every prenatal review of a prenatal pill on Amazon and compare. What doctor is going to be the best in Atlanta? Should I have a water birth?" she says. "After I hung up the phone telling my partner, who happened to be out of town at the time, I raced to Barnes & Noble to buy every book on pregnancy they had. The cashier was ringing me up and she was like, 'Wow, are all of these for you?'"
But despite all the prep, Teele miscarried. "The day that I miscarried, I happened to have therapy. Because I was in so much pain, we did the therapy by phone. I told her what was going on and when she asked me how I felt, knowing that I could be 100-percent honest with her, I said, 'While I am very disappointed, I am also relieved.' I could not get off the crazy train and all of a sudden, the crazy train came to a screeching stop."
Just a month after her miscarriage, Teele discovered a positive revelation coaxed by the intuition of a friend. "I got back from [a] work trip and I got a text from a friend, Courtney, the founder of The Mane Choice. She asked if I was pregnant, and I side-eyed my text. I was like, 'What are you trying to say?' She said that she just felt like I was. I told her that while it wasn't completely impossible, it was highly unlikely. Hell, I just miscarried, and I had shared that information with her also. She then asked me if I had taken a test, I had not. I decided to take one the next day…[I thought to myself] I can just text her back and tell her she was wrong."
The test was indeed positive, and this time, she decided to take it easy. No frantic book purchasing and less focus on controlling the process. However, the challenges didn't go away and neither did fear.
"Since I'm over 35 and had a miscarriage one month before conceiving this time around, I was considered high-risk which required tons of doctors appointments during the first trimester and third trimester," Teele wrote for Medium. "It wasn't until I hit the second trimester and the boy passed his 20-week scan with flying colors that I got some relief with the appointments.
"The fear of miscarriage after miscarrying seems to never go away."
"Everything I feared about becoming pregnant while being an ambitious entrepreneur is true. In the beginning, I slowed down and really wasn't able to accomplish as much in as little time and that did a number on my psyche. I didn't beat myself up at all, I just found myself feeling defeated some days."
The rest is history. Teele is now happily embracing her new role, and just one glance at her popular IG feed gives other young power women hope that they too can enjoy the miracle of giving life even if the odds might seem against them.
"A few days ago, I was thinking about how I'd always sort of imagined myself as a 'successful business person,' but never as a mom," she wrote in a recent IG caption under a photo where she lovingly embraces her son.
"The instructions are our instincts."
"With that being said, I had no idea what to expect… I spent the last nine months of my life equally delighted and terrified. … I felt a little fear move through me. Am I equipped to do this? And that's when the big lesson came for me. When God gives us the gifts, He whispers the instructions. The instructions are our instincts."
Despite facing her fair share of setbacks and uncertainty in the journey to mommyhood, Teele never gave up on the future that she saw for herself. She was as unrelenting in her path to becoming a mom as she was in her work and career.
For women over 30 who one day hope to be mothers, motherhood is not one size fits all. So whether you look into trying to conceive after miscarriage(s), freezing your eggs, adoption, surrogacy, or the traditional route by waiting for your Mr. Right - if it His will, it will happen. Sometimes when you least expect it. Teele's story is a testimony for women, proof that we can have every single thing that we want in this life and we don't have to sacrifice one area of our life in lieu of the other. God's plan is greater than man's.
Featured image by Myleik Teele/Instagram
- Pregnancy after miscarriage: What you need to know - Mayo Clinic ›
- 5 Ways Pregnancy After a Miscarriage Is Different | HuffPost ›
- When You Are Pregnant After a Miscarriage | Seleni Institute ›
- 23 Things About Pregnancy After Miscarriage | Pregnant Chicken ›
- Pregnancy After Miscarriage - Happily Eva After ›
- Getting pregnant after miscarriage | Mom Answers | BabyCenter ›
- Getting Pregnant After A Miscarriage: What You Need to Know ›
- After a Miscarriage: Getting Pregnant Again ›
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Over the last few years, the upkeep of my nails has become a top priority. I’ve explored different lengths, tested out a range of designs and colors, and have gone from gel-x to acrylic and, currently, Russian manicures. As assured as I am about my signature nail look, one thing that I will always be open to is a new trend that sparks inner confidence — and the “black nail theory” is the latest to do just that.
If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you may have noticed that manicure lovers are putting new concepts surrounding their nails to the test. Last fall, the “red nail theory” took the internet by storm with promises to evoke male attention, compliments, and even a date or two on a subconscious level. And now, just a year later, a deeper and more mystic hue is being spotlighted for its alluring appeal.
#blacknails💅 #boldyblooming #blackspiritualists
What Is “Black Nail Theory”?
The concept of “black nail theory” is centered on the idea that applying black nail polish can significantly influence an individual's inner confidence and overall lure. Black nails are thought to possess a distinctive quality that communicates a sensual and captivating energy, bringing forth boldness and mystery. On a psychological level, black is said to be symbolic of “power, elegance, and sophistication.”
Personally, red has never quite been my color; so when I saw the black nail theory making its rounds, I immediately knew it could be an internet trend that I could get behind and try for myself.
Testing Out The Theory
Deciding on the approach that I would take with my black nails came fairly easy. I’m a French tip girl to my core, so if I was going to commit to such a bold color like black, I’d have to take it gradually, and not commit to a fully blacked-out nail look.
Leaving the nail salon with my new set, I instantly felt myself channel my inner baddie. The black French tip complimented my complexion perfectly, and I was even able to test the theory out while on a date later that evening.
Throughout the night, I was complimented by both my date and the waitress on my nails, and I felt an inward motivation to share just enough about myself while leaving more to be discovered.
The following week, my friend and I went out to a party with the sole purpose of being cute and having fun, only to find a handful of men stopping to get my name and make conversation. One even went as far as to take my hand and examine nails that were adorned with gold rings.
On a more personal level, my time with black nails has been my handy reminder to trust my intuition and enter every room with confidence. Having my nails done naturally gives me an extra boost of confidence, but with the added touch of having them painted black, I’ve seen myself tap into the sultry and captivating "dark feminine" energy that I desire to embody.
Would I Try This Again?
If all it took was a change in my nail color in order to attract love and confidence into myself, I would probably be married by now. But testing out black nail theory has been insightful to explore interpersonally.
How I present myself to the world and what I feel like I deserve all matters, and that doesn’t just start or end when my nails are freshly done.
Confidence is a full-package deal that comes wrapped in self-care, self-concept, and self-esteem. I get my nails done because that’s what makes me feel good, and whatever attention that draws in, I know that it’s a part of what I’m putting out into the world.
If I’m feeling fiery, I’ll test out a red design. If I’m in a girly mood, I’ll test out pink or ask for painted bows. And if I’m going for something more standout, I’ll let my nail tech take an idea and freestyle from there. All in all, nails are just another form of self-expression and should be a chance to showcase your inner world on the outside.
So yes, if red nails are the flashy antidote to drawing in attention, then black nails are the look to channel a “quiet” confidence that keeps them wanting more.
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Featured image by Andreas Kuehn/Getty Images