Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

It's None of Your Damn Business: Stop Asking Women if They're Pregnant

sonogram photo of 9cm fibroid
That's not a baby, but a 9cm fibroid. This fibroid is about the 
size of a grapefruit. 
Photo by James Heilman, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0

These are the questions I have been getting over the last 10 years: 

Them: Is that food or are you pregnant?! 

Me: I have fibroids

Them: Ohhhh


Them: Are you pregnant?

Me: No I have fibroids

Them: Oh is it food too? 

Me: Yeah and I 've gained weight

Them: Oh okay


Them: Are you pregnant?

Me: No I have fibroids and it would be very hard to get pregnant b/c I have fertility issues

Them: 😶

Some of ya'll are too obsessed with women's bodies. Ten years ago, I involuntarily joined the fibroid club along with many other Black women. Black women are 3 times more likely than any group of women to develop fibroids. According to health experts NBC News spoke to,  about half of Black women who reach 35 have fibroids. And by the age of 50, 80 percent of Black women have fibroids. And we have higher fibroid growth. I've read that health researchers are unsure why Black women disproportionately suffer from fibroids, but think diet and stress, history of abuse are a factor. Black women deal with so much-- classism, racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, abuse at jobs, racism in the health industry, etc. on levels other women do not. I think that stress goes to our wombs. 

I have small fibroids, but I have so many that they have expanded my uterus to point where it looks like I'm in my first trimester of pregnancy. I started having problems with fibroids after being a part-time caretaker to my grandfather battling cancer and working a full-time job. That stress, and likely stress from other years led to fibroids. I'm sure genetics played a roll too. Other women in my family have fibroids. Ironically, I know I'll never be pregnant because of health and personal issues, yet I look like I'm carrying and I'm asked if I'm pregnant.  Which is why if don't ask me, any other woman or person if we're pregnant. 

a photo of large, pinkish-reddish tumors or uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids
photo credit: Hic et nunc, CC BY-SA 3.0

 I ran into someone I know on Mother's Day. They asked me if I was pregnant. I know they meant no harm in asking, but it triggered my own fertility and health issues on a day that I'm reminded I will likely never birth a child. 

Aside from pregnancy, here are few reasons why a woman's belly may be shaped like she's carrying: 

  • Weight gain
  • Post-birth weight gain
  • Miscarriage
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids 
When you ask women if they're pregnant, you may be triggering her body, infertility or other health issues. Also a woman may be pregnant, but be uncomfortable talking about it because of circumstances that are causing her to wrestle with being pregnant. Maybe she's pregnant by someone she wouldn't want to raise a child with. Or maybe she is pregnant and wants to wait to officially announce it. Who knows. 

Fibroids caused me to look pregnant before I gained weight. I used to have a flat stomach. I don't know if I'll ever have it again and  I accept that. I'm just glad that the Chinese medicine and acupuncture I use to treat my fibroids has helped me tremendously. I visit with my OBGYN regularly to check them, so I'm taking care of myself. 

Next time someone asks me if I'm pregnant, I'm going to tell them that's a personal question and it's none of their concern. I'm not explaining my health issues to people anymore unless they're part of my health team or my mama.  By the way, the person who asked me if I was pregnant on Mother's Day apologized. I appreciate their sincerity. 

Bottom line, unless you're witnessing a baby's head emerging from between a woman's legs, don't ask her if she's pregnant. Mind your own business and focus on your body.