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Actress Constance Marie Meets Menopause Head-on


photo of Constance Marie

Last year in the middle of a crowded party, Constance Marie, a seasoned television actress known for her longtime role on George Lopez and, most recently, Hulu’s How I Met Your Father, stood chatting with friends when a woman approached her, flushed and slightly bashful. But the partygoer wasn’t there to ask the actress for an autograph. She wanted advice. 

“She said, ‘I’m so sorry, you don’t know me, but I’m having hot flashes, and your friend said that if anyone here would know what to tell me, it would be you.’ I said, ‘Girl, I’m an open book. Let’s talk about this.’” Marie led her outside (where the air was much cooler) and shared her experience, along with some of the resources and doctors who had helped her through her menopause journey. 

“A few months later, I got a text from her. She said, ‘You may not remember me, but I just want to thank you so much.’ And I think that’s really what I’m here for. A lot of light gets shined on you when you’re an actor and celebrity. I can take that light and shine it onto things that we don’t typically deal with and keep in the dark.”

Being frank and honest about menopause — an often-taboo topic — wasn’t part of Marie’s upbringing. Her grandmother was a seamstress by night and a pediatric nurse by day, and her mom worked as an executive assistant and artist. They were multitaskers and caretakers, making ends meet, and their focus was elsewhere. 

“I come from a long line of strong women, and showing any kind of weakness was just not what they had any time to do,” she says. “They literally just had to keep hustling. I don’t know that my grandmother ever told my mother anything about her own menopause. And when I asked my mother about hers, she told me, ‘I was 50. It took a year, and then I was done. I was fine.’ It was a very ‘keep a stiff upper lip and don’t talk about it’ response.” 

Because of this, Marie’s own navigation of menopause at 52 got a rocky start. She learned quickly that the old wives’ tale that your menopause journey will be like your mother’s didn’t hold true for her. 

“I thought I’d just do it how she did it — no hormones, just some extra vitamins and toughing it out. But that didn’t work for me.”

After 4 1/2 years of toughing it out, Marie decided it was time to research other approaches. She learned more about homeopathic treatments and also decided to give hormone replacement therapy a try. 

“It was amazing. I started to sleep. I didn’t have hot flashes anymore, and the pain subsided,” she says. “I thought, OK, I can do this.” 

Before the birth of her daughter in 2009, Marie struggled with infertility for 5 1/2 years, an experience she calls “the loneliest journey.” After that roller coaster of hope and grief, she felt compelled to be as frank and forthcoming about what she went through so that other women wouldn’t feel alone. And that resolve is still with her today, as she and her peers navigate a different life transition.

“When I hit menopause, it was again like a whole other secret society,” she says. “But 50% of the global population goes through this. Why do we not talk about it? Women spend so much time thinking, ‘It’s only me struggling with this.’ And that’s not fair.”

This thinking has shaped the way she mothers her daughter, too. Talks about puberty are bookended by talks of menopause to normalize it as part of a whole, a full picture of womanhood. 

“She may choose to do something different, but she knows she has choices and she’ll be prepared,” Marie says. “You have options. There are many treatments available, and different people need different things; it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, even from mom to daughter,” she says. “That’s the legacy: preparing future generations of women not to have to suffer in silence.”

 



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