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This is Us "Number Two" - My thoughts as a loss mom

Warning: this post contains spoilers!

I’ve held this back to give everyone time to watch last week’s episode of This is Us. Wow – was it powerful. As a 3-time loss mom, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on the episode. The week before, in the last minute of the “Number One” episode, they told us that Kate lost the baby. And I immediately started crying. And I was thankful. Thankful because she was a character in a TV show, not a person in real life. But so extremely thankful that they were going to highlight the topic of miscarriage, and I was anxious to see how they did it. I could not wait for the next episode.

And they did not disappoint. I think the episode, “Number Two”, was powerful, enlightening and much needed. I so appreciate the writers of This is Us highlighting what miscarriage does to a couple, and how it makes you feel. Is everyone’s experience the same? No. I didn’t have a spontaneous physical loss like Kate did. I have never been on my bathroom floor crying because I’m bleeding and in pain. But I have been in an emergency room bed, being told that my pregnancy is ectopic, I’m bleeding internally and will need to have emergency surgery. I have been lying on the exam table in my doctor’s office and been told that my baby’s heart is no longer beating. And I have gotten that call from the doctor confirming that my pregnancy is no longer viable. Pregnancy loss can come in different forms, and we can experience it in different ways, but the emotions are similarly powerful. And I think This is Us did an excellent job at showing those emotions. As hard as it was to watch, it’s so much harder to experience. This is Us showed us the fear of losing the thing you want the most, and the extreme anger and sadness you feel when you realize your worst fear is coming true. They showed us the blame that women put on themselves, questioning what they did to make them lose the baby (the answer is NOTHING). They showed the withdrawal and loneliness. I wanted to crawl into a hole and not talk to a soul, including my husband, after my pregnancy losses. They showed denial and avoidance. Kate pretending like she was perfectly fine. She didn’t want to deal with it. She wanted to go about her normal life and pretend it was just another day. Too often couples do this, and they realized months or even years later that they never dealt with their loss and one day it slaps them in the face – and they’re down. They showed this when Kate saw a child dancing and her proud parents watching her with such joy. This is a very real, very often occurrence for those who have dealt with pregnancy loss. All around you, it seems everyone is pregnant and there are babies everywhere. And you can’t help but think “that should be me. I just lost that.” They showed us the wedge it can drive between a couple. If you let it, it can become a HUGE wedge. I LOVE the advice that Rebecca, Kate’s mom, gave Kate. She said “you need to talk to Toby (her husband). He needs to know your grief.” I received that same advice from my best friend after our second loss. And it was great advice. We often want to be strong for our significant other, but they need to see us cry. They need to know we’re hurting too. It’s hard, because the husband does not physically experience the loss (Kate shows as she screams “this did not happen to you!”) and often they don’t know what to do. But it does happen to them. While not physically, they still experience the loss of a child. Over the last couple of episodes, they showed Kate not wanting to get excited about the pregnancy, and Toby wanting to shout it from the rooftops. I think this is a common occurrence, especially with couples who have had pregnancy loss(es) before. At least one, if not both, of the parents are afraid to get excited. They are afraid to have hope, because they feel like it will hurt that much more if they suffer a loss. And then they showed Kate finally giving in and being excited, and having hope. And ordering baby items. And then that baby bath they ordered comes back to haunt them, as her sweet husband goes searching for it so it doesn’t show up at their house and remind them of their loss. After a loss, there are reminders everywhere. And they showed this. The healthy smoothies she was making to support the pregnancy, the shower curtain on the floor, the ultrasound pictures. And Kate’s mom calling with excitement to find out about her appointment, assuming she had good news to share. They also showed the doubt of whether or not you could go through this journey again, and the fear of experiencing heartbreak all over again. But the thing I’m most thankful for is they showed how much impactful your support system can be. When Kate’s mom showed up at her doorstep, I lost it. Because those people that showed up after our losses, those that were there to experience the extreme pain we were in and help in any way they could, made such a huge difference. Did they take our pain away? No. But they made us realized we were not alone. A loss like this affects those closest to you as well, and the people who truly care will be there to mourn the loss with you, whether they are physically there or not.  

I think the This is Us writers did an amazing job at showing the pain and sadness of a pregnancy loss. The only thing I’m unsure about is the end. While I do think it’s good to move forward, I hope they show that the grief does not just end there. I am a big supporter of having your pity party, and then picking yourself back up. But I know that grief comes in waves and can knock you back down from time to time. And deciding to try again is great, but a new baby does not replace the baby you lost.

Thank you, This is Us, for showing others what I couldn’t even begin to explain myself. Thank you for talking about this taboo topic. Because we needed it. As painful as it was to “relive” on screen, it’s a part of the healing process. And we need more education around pregnancy loss, and how to best support loved ones suffering such a loss.

If you haven’t seen the show, or more specifically this episode, I highly encourage you to watch it (even though by now you know the ending). It’s powerful. And yes, it’s sad. But sometimes we could all use a good cry. It will help you understand the loss that 1 in 4 have experienced. And if you’ve experienced a miscarriage yourself, I hope it gives you hope. I hope it shows you that this will be one of the most painful experiences you will have in your life, but it will not break you. Let the experience grow you as a person, and as a couple. Let it put things into perspective and make you grateful for all that you do have. And know that your pain is very real, and there are people there to support you if you let them.      


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