Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
Actress Melissa Rauch has penned an emotional essay for Glamour announcing a wonderful piece of news: she's pregnant. She and her husband, screenwriter Winston Rauch, are expecting their first child this fall. But the Big Bang Theory star, due in the fall, doesn't spend the lengthy piece basking in her happy development. Instead, the actress has taken the opportunity to get extremely real about debilitating heartbreak of miscarriage — one that she, and so many women, have gone through.
Rauch first explains the important reason why she decided to share her story. While struggling with fertility issues and the aftermath of her miscarriage "every joyful, expectant baby announcement felt like a tiny stab in the heart," Rauch writes. "It’s not that I wasn’t happy for these people, but I 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." She continues, "So when I thought about having to share the news about expecting this baby, all I could think about was another woman mourning over her loss as I did... It felt a bit disingenuous to not also share the struggle it took for me to get here."
The 37-year-old calls her miscarriage "one of the most profound sorrows I have ever felt in my life," which "kickstarted a primal depression that lingered in me" — including severe grief and the physiological effects of the hormonal drop-off. "I was constantly wishing that the feeling of being desperately lonely in my own body would dissipate." (In a humorous passage, she blasts the term "miscarriage" altogether: "[It] 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.")
What Rauch realized is that because this kind of loss is not openly talked about nearly as much as it should be, "there really is no template for how to process these emotions." She adds, "You’re not necessarily going to a funeral or taking time off from work to mourn, but that doesn’t change the fact that something precious has been unexpectedly taken from your life."
Rauch didn't know how to handle the intense feelings of grief, depression, guilt, and shame that came with her loss. "I knew in my heart there wasn’t anything I could have done to prevent what happened, but that didn’t stop me from the futile exercise of mentally replaying every day of the pregnancy up until that point over and over again, wondering if there was something I did that could’ve caused the miscarriage." And that's exactly why the actress chose to open up about her struggle: so that every woman knows, "You are not alone. And, it is perfectly OK to not be OK right now."
And she leaves us all with this excellent advice: "My hope is that if we as a society become more aware of how common fertility struggles are, perhaps we won’t be so cavalier in questioning females about what's on their baby agenda... before any of us ask a woman about popping out a baby, let’s think to ourselves: We don’t know what she’s going through, what her body is capable of, or what she personally desires. Whether a woman wants to have children or not, if she wants to share that information, she will." As Rauch just did so poignantly.
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