Talking about a miscarriage and the complicated feelings that come with it is extremely difficult to do. Which is why Melissa Rauch's essay on her miscarriage in Glamour this week is so moving. The Big Bang Theory actress wrote the post to announce her pregnancy, but she had another message as well. And for anyone who's been through the same, it's a must-read.
Here is the only statement regarding my pregnancy that doesn’t make me feel like a complete fraud: "Melissa is expecting her first child. She is extremely overjoyed, but if she’s being honest, due to the fact that she had a miscarriage the last time she was pregnant, she’s pretty much terrified at the moment that it will happen again. She feels weird even announcing this at all, and would rather wait until her child heads off to college to tell anyone, but she figures she should probably share this news before someone sees her waddling around with her mid-section protruding and announces it first."
Not only is it gut-wrenchingly honest, it also speaks to the insane amount of pressure celebrities are under to live their lives totally in the public eye. Especially with something as traumatic as a miscarriage, it can be overwhelming. Rauch's essay gets right to the heart of that, too.
She bravely confided to Glamour readers that, as she was grieving her loss, every baby announcement felt like a jab or a personal offense. It was endless. She wrote that she would think, "'Why are these shiny, carefree, fertile women so easily able to do what I cannot?' And then I’d immediately feel guilt and shame for harboring that jealousy."
Sound familiar? Rauch writes about the grief and the guilt so clearly that it should be required reading for anyone going though the same thing. Of course, she's also hilarious, so there was some sense of humor to be had throughout her pain. For example, what's with the word miscarriage anyway? Rauch explores the concept:
"Miscarriage" by the way, deserves to be ranked as one of the worst, most blame-inducing medical terms ever. To me, it immediately conjures up an implication that it was the woman’s fault, like she somehow “mishandled the carrying of this baby.” F that so hard, right in its patriarchal nut-sack.
Not that hating on the medical term helps, but she and her husband, Winston Beigel, took to saying that the "baby bailed" instead, which is still incredibly sad, but at least helped to relieve the guilt and the shame Rauch, like so many women, feel. For no reason at all.
According to recent studies, anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, though survey respondents tended to believe that they occurred in less than 6 percent of them. Which means that miscarriages are way more common than most people think.
That doesn't make them less sad or painful, but it's important that women like Rauch continue to share their experiences and let other women know they don't have to go at it all by themselves, hating baby announcements and cursing the English language. Rauch added,
Just to be clear, I’m not saying everyone who publicly announces cheerful news should also report the crummy journey they embarked on before getting to the other side of it. I personally just wanted to express what I’ve experienced in the hopes that it could — in some small way — help someone going through a similar pain. Ideally, the more we talk about this issue, the more we can chip away at the unnecessary stigma around it, with the end result being that those of us struggling with loss and infertility will feel less alone. Perhaps with increased overall awareness, women dealing with these extremely challenging circumstances won’t feel like they’re getting sucker punched in the uterus by well-intentioned people.
Rauch closes her essay with a call to women everywhere dealing with fertility problems or a miscarriage, "You are not alone. And, it is perfectly OK to not be OK right now."
Don't ever forget it.