I Won't Be Watching 'This Is Us' Tonight, And This Is Why

by Jillian Benfield
Originally Published: 
Jillian Benfield

It was supposed to be my and my husband’s “No TV Tuesday” — a day we set aside to connect in the midst of this chaotic phase of parenting three really small children. But holiday planning got the best of us. We would do “No TV Wednesday” and watch one of our favorite shows at its scheduled time for a change.

It wasn’t the episode this week that got us; it was the preview for next week’s. That 30-second or less clip that brought big, ugly tears to our eyes. We learned this week that Kate lost the baby, but seeing a quick glimpse of her and her husband’s reaction to it after the fact was too real.

We had a miscarriage 14 months ago. Like Kate and Toby’s loss, ours was the easy kind — the kind that happens early in pregnancy. The kind you know can happen, the reason you hold off telling anyone the news at first because it’s common.

But there was nothing easy about it.

I classify those days as the loneliest in our lives. It felt as if we should not have felt that the miscarriage was that big of a deal; that the loss wasn’t that great. I know people who have lost their babies days before their due dates — that was real pain. This was almost expected.

So we spent the weekend of the procedure to remove our baby’s remains, taking turns quietly crying.

When the tears kept coming, I suggested we deal with it once and for all. Genetic testing had revealed she was a girl. So we sat down and made a list of names and gave her one after her great-great grandmother. It was perhaps the most gut-wrenching night of our lives. We talked about what we thought she looked like in heaven. I pictured her with shiny brown hair like her dad’s and dimples like her sister’s. We imagined her with our own family members up there. We dreamed about what it would be like meeting her one day.

We felt it all. Then we felt some more.

I thought it was done. We got pregnant quickly after that night. Our son is the most beautiful little human I’ve ever laid eyes on. How can I be sad over her when he wouldn’t be here, if she was? It’s all too much to think about. Too complicated for my heart. Our hearts.

Jillian Benfield

I thought we had dealt with losing her the night we gave her a name. And then that 30-second clip opened up the floodgates. We held each other the way we did that night. We said things that made me realize this bit of grief will always be a little too close to the surface.

We’ve been through a lot in the last year. Our son’s health got complicated. We almost lost him too. I went to bed last night with the look on my face I haven’t seen in the mirror in a while — my nose so swollen that it gives validity to that eighth-grade bully who called me Ms. Piggy, my eyes so red, that it makes my irises appear to be an eerie shade of blue — a sight I’m sure would frighten my kids.

I’m so tired of seeing that face staring back at me.

So I just can’t do this week’s episode. Creators, I appreciate you bringing some needed realness to television. Really, thank you, but some things in life are too damn hard to relive.

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