I've had two miscarriages over the last five years: one at 16 weeks and another at five weeks. Writing about my loss has helped me heal even though I know I will never be whole. But just because I've written about it doesn't mean I like talking about my miscarriages — not outside of my therapist's office, at least — not even with my closest friends.
It's bad enough that with every gynecologist appointment, I have to admit it. I think that's perhaps worse; talking about something so personal and painful in such a clinical way. As if my pregnancies were pimples that needed to be removed.
Because saying the words out loud hurt. So I try not to say them.
But a few weeks ago, I was at the nail salon and I felt forced to say it.
A salon is the kind of place where random women engage in chit chat about work, family and children. It's strange, really, how much women are willing to share in such a place without exchanging names.
I started talking to the woman sitting next to me, the way women often do. And during our conversation she asked, "how many kids do you have?"
I hate that question. Whenever asked that question, I think about the babies I lost. That question is a reminder. Within seconds, that question makes me confront all the feelings that I try so hard to push down.
But I always smile and say, "Just one."
Immediately it prompted the follow-up question: "Don't you want try for another?"
I think that I hate that question even more.
Without even thinking I said, "Well, I've had two miscarriages so it's not for lack of trying."
Trying to conceive in this digital age where day after day, everyone in your news feed is expecting can feel like hell. Having friends, family and strangers question this entire process makes it all feel worse.
I tried to laugh it off, to deflect my own feelings and to protect hers. I didn't say it to make her feel bad. And I certainly didn't want the lady to feel sorry for me. But, in my own way, I wanted to let her know that her question isn't appropriate. Truth be told and manners gone amok, it's really none of her damn business.
This isn't my mother's generation when miscarriages and infertility are kept secret. More and more celebrities are speaking out about their personal heartbreak over miscarriage and infertility.
Just recently, newly pregnant Chrissy Teigen shared her infertility struggles with Tyra Banks on the FABLife. She admitted to hating how much people inquire about when she and her husband, John Legend, would have children. "I would say, honestly, [that] John and I were having trouble. We would have had kids five, six years ago if it had happened, but my gosh, it's been a process."
And people, especially women, should know that and be sensitive to it. According to the American Pregnancy Association, "studies reveal that anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage." And the CDC reports that 6.7 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 have an "impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term."
Having a miscarriage made me more sensitive to other women's feeling about children. Being pregnant and then losing a baby — at any point during the pregnancy — is heartbreaking. Trying to conceive in this digital age where day after day, everyone in your news feed is expecting can feel like hell. Having friends, family and strangers question this entire process makes it all feel worse. I know the questions I don't want to be asked so I don't ask them of others.
I don't ask couples when they're going to have a baby. I don't ask women without children if they want any. And I don't ask women with one child if they want another. Because having a baby isn't as easy as picking up candy from Target.