If I didn't already love Curtis Wiklund and his charming black-and-white sketches of his family life, I would certainly be a fan now thanks to his most recent illustration of him and his wife embracing after a miscarriage. Aside from the fact that I am hard-pressed to think of anything quite as romantic as a man who memorializes his love for his wife in drawings, I'm absolutely floored at his honest portrayal of the pain of losing a pregnancy -- a pain that I know. Honestly, it's encouraging to hear men open up about a subject that's often considered taboo.
The staggering statistics are that 10 to 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, which means that it's not the incredibly rare event that it's often made out to be. Chances are that you, or the woman you're sitting next to, or even your mother-in-law have miscarried a child, and yet on the rare occasion that miscarriage is talked about, it's done in whispered confessions, often after a few too many glasses of rosé. Let's take a cue from Curtis and change the narrative by opening up about miscarriage.
This was the day we found out we miscarried. It's strange to share because it's such a quiet thing. Most don't talk about it. I just didn't know what else to do, but draw on that day. It more accurately journaled how I felt than anything I could write. I hope by sharing it, those others out there who are quietly hurting, some far worse than we are, are comforted knowing at least, that you are not alone.
If we can #shoutourabortions, shouldn't we also be able to #shoutourmiscarriage?
I had a miscarriage two years before my oldest child was born. For most of my life, I didn't think I wanted children. I'd been pregnant years earlier and had chosen to terminate because my life of comedy, cocktails, and cocaine wasn't exactly an ideal environment in which to raise a child.
When I discovered that I was unexpectedly pregnant in the fall of 2011, I was happily married, pushing 35, and facing the very real possibility that the comedy career I'd been chasing for almost a decade probably wasn't going to pan out. This should've had me jumping for joy with my positive pregnancy test in hand, but in reality it found me sobbing on the floor of my bathroom about my life being over. When I told my hubs that my diaphragm had failed, his first reaction was to say that he was rather proud of his swimmers for being smart enough to dodge the rubber barrier.
His second reaction was that he wanted a kid -- this kid -- and it was now or never. Ultimatum much? In fairness, he is 13 years older than I am, so I can understand how a man would prefer to father children prior to becoming a member of the AARP, but at the time I was pissed. I didn't want to give up my career (such as it was) to gestate and take care of a child, but I also didn't think it was fair to deprive my spouse of the experience of fatherhood simply because I wasn't 100 percent on board the kid train. So I reluctantly traded in daiquiris for diapers and tentatively dipped a toe in the waters of pregnancy (translation: I downloaded an app that likens your unborn child to produce).
Three days before my initial nine-week ultrasound, I started bleeding. We're not talking a little spotting here, we're talking The Shining–level gore, and as I stood in my bathroom staring at the end of the pregnancy I hadn't even wanted, I'd never felt so empty or heartbroken. It wasn't until my options were taken away and the choice to have a child was no longer on the table that I realized how much I fervently desired the experience of becoming a parent.
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I cried (a lot) when we went in for the ultrasound that confirmed that I had, indeed, miscarried. There are few experiences more humiliating than sobbing in front of a stranger while not wearing pants. But the worst part was after the ultrasound, when I had to carry an envelope of black-and-white images of my empty uterus up to my OB's office and sit there amongst the crop of hugely pregnant women all aglow with their ability to create life. I confess that I did drown my sorrows in several before-5PM cocktails that day, because sometimes the only cure for a broken heart and a broken uterus is vodka.
Five years later, and I'm so incredibly grateful that I had that horrible, no good, very bad experience. Not because it didn't suck mightily -- it did -- but because it opened my eyes to the fact that I did, very much, want to be a mom. If my birth control hadn't failed, I can almost guarantee that I would not have a child (let alone two) right now. I would have continued to live life as a childfree adult, not realizing what I was missing.
Are there days that my kids drive me insane and I want nothing more than a clean house and 10 hours of sleep like I had before they came along? Abso-freaking-lutely. But I love those little troublemakers with unparalleled fierceness, and I can't imagine life without their bright, shining lights ... which is why I just might send a thank-you card to my uterus for that whole miscarriage thing.
Image via curtiswiklund/Instagram