When I read articles written about miscarriage, I often find myself comparing my experience to theirs. I dig through the archives of my memory, trying to find ways to connect to the brave women telling their stories of loss.
I lost my pregnancy 8 years ago, and I was “lucky” to know a few women who had also miscarried that I could reach out to for support. One of my closest friends had even suffered a loss while attending my beach destination wedding. I remember her telling me, and I was immediately shocked and heartbroken for her. Yet to my surprise, she had smiled, laughed and danced at the wedding, never letting on to what she was actually going through.
So after my miscarriage, I got the courage to ask her about that day. Once I knew what this loss was like, I could not believe she had even attended the wedding when her body and mind were going through so much pain.
When we talked, she was open and honest. She said she absolutely felt all the emotions and heartache, but being there surrounded by so many supportive friends had helped her tremendously. Her openness at both my wedding and during my miscarriage saved me from a lot of loneliness. Her words changed the direction of my loss.
Fast forward to today, and I find myself a busy working mom of two young kids, running on coffee and constantly craving just a little bit of alone time — especially in front of the TV.
Since the day it was released, I wanted to watch the new Netflix show “Firefly Lane.” I didn’t read the book, so I only knew that it was about a life-long friendship, and that was enough to get me on board.
Spoiler alert for those who did not watch the whole series yet, but I am about to give away something big.
Katherine Heigl’s famous talk show host character, Tully, gets pregnant unexpectedly at the age of 43. After, she decides to marry the dad and finds herself overjoyed about the baby.
In these happy moments I could feel that something tragic was about to happen, yet I was still taken aback when she lost the pregnancy. I honestly think no matter how much you feel prepared to hear about miscarriage, it still always hits your heart in unexpected ways.
So when the scene started, my eyes immediately filled with tears. I found myself connecting to the character just like I have done with the many women I have read about and met over the years. Yet what came next in the series hit me like an emotional freight train.
In one of the last episodes, there is a scene that takes place in the early 2000s right after her miscarriage. At a live taping of her talk show, Tully decides to share that she had lost a pregnancy. After her emotional confession, she then walks the stairs of the audience and lets other women tell their story of loss. I sobbed uncontrollably during this scene because it felt so real and raw.
Shockingly, you later find out that Tully has not only lost advertisers and sponsors, but her show was also sold. She was basically punished and shamed for simply telling her truth.
It’s hard to believe that situations like this could happen just 20 years ago. Women were often expected to be silent over this kind of loss. Miscarriages were believed to be embarrassing, and they were even sometimes misrepresented as the woman’s fault.
Now, I know that Tully is a character in a show, but I still couldn’t help but feel like she was a hero. I couldn’t help but cry for her bravery and the bravery of the women in the audience who stood next to her.
I don’t know how I would have survived my miscarriage had I not been able to talk about it. I don’t know how I would have been able to move on if I couldn’t connect to other women. I don’t know how I could be the mom I am today if I thought my losses were my fault.
20 years wasn’t that long ago. It wasn’t until recently that our culture has accepted women and men speaking loudly and openly about these losses. We are a generation of women who don’t have to suffer in silence.
I feel so much sadness for the women before us who didn’t have that support. My heart breaks for how lonely that pain must have felt. Their losses are not less than the ones we experience today or will tomorrow. They are a part of the whole. They are part of this connection I feel each time I hear about another miscarriage.
So I want to thank the “Tullys” of the world who came forward before me and talked openly about miscarriage. These trailblazers opened the door for all of us. Their courage was the key to my future strength.
They changed the narrative that ultimately changed my life, and I will be forever thankful for that.