Archive for the ‘miscarriage’ Category

I am close to someone who had her first baby through IVF and who is attempting a second baby and all I can say is… I see that what you go through is excruciating and all my love to those battling along.

These are beautiful demystifying links on IVF.

This from Dan Majesky.

And then we wait.

You’re warned against taking pregnancy tests because they measure hormone levels, and after taking all sorts of weird shit all month, you can trigger a false positive. So you wait. And there will be spotting. Is it spotting, or is her period starting? You don’t know. So you wait. And you wait.

And you wait.

And sometimes her period comes, and you start over. Step one.

And sometimes it doesn’t come. But the second line doesn’t appear, or the plus, or the whatever these tests do.

So you wait. And it’s negative, but you hope, and you see your friends getting pregnant, and you get a little sad. But you get mad at yourself because you want to feel happy for other people, and that’s not fair to them. And then the 17-year-old across the street gets pregnant, and you get a little sadder. And your cousins get pregnant, and you get a little sadder.

And you see people scream at their kids, and beat them in Kroger, and you just want to die because you would give anything to have a child throwing a tantrum in the cereal aisle.

You don’t want to hate people. You don’t. I think babies are beautiful. I think kids are awesome, but you can’t help the jealousy. The envy. The resentment. It really creeps up on you. And you search for positive things. And you talk on end about your capital-O Options.

And then you see people on the internet post screeds about how dare anyone assume that they would want to have kids because not having kids is the best – which is fine, have at it or don’t have at it, I really don’t care – but we want to be procreating, and we want what you could have, but are choosing not to use.

And we want to tell you, but people don’t talk about it. Because you don’t want to talk about it.

Because you spend all day thinking about it, managing it. Trying not to cry. Trying to not turn into HI and Ed from Raising Arizona, stealing babies in the night.

And this over at Essential Baby from Macy Rodeffer.

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For all that, though, my son’s first year was the best of my life. I learned that while travel with a baby isn’t easy, it’s doable. We took him to Malaysia, where I was speaking at a conference, when he was 6 months old, and then on a reporting trip to Panama a few months later. Both of these were countries we’d been to before; seeing them again with our son made travel feel new. He made staying home feel new, too. When I was with him, the habitual churning of my mind eased. Instead of arguing with strangers on Twitter, I spent hours in neighborhood parks I’d barely noticed before, my attention resting on my burbling, improbably exuberant little boy. Ultimately, even my work life improved: The crisis motherhood brought on led me to refocus on more satisfying long-form writing. Something Louis C.K. said recently was true for me: “I realized that a lot of the things that my kid was taking away from me, she was freeing me of.”

From Michelle Goldberg’s lovely “I was a proud non-breeder: then I changed my mind” in New York Post.

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Holy hell, this is wonderful, wonderful writing but Ariel Levy’s story of the premature birth of her baby and its subsequent death is obviously also really.. incredibly heartbreaking.

But the truth is, the ten or twenty minutes I was somebody’s mother were black magic. There is no adventure I would trade them for; there is no place I would rather have seen. Sometimes, when I think about it, I still feel a dark hurt from some primal part of myself, and if I’m alone in my apartment when this happens I will hear myself making sounds that I never made before I went to Mongolia. I realize that I have turned back into a wounded witch, wailing in the forest, undone.

Most of the time it seems sort of O.K., though, natural. Nature. Mother Nature. She is free to do whatever she chooses.

Miscarriage, still birth, babies dying.. such important parts to include in the story of motherhood, which is why I have included the story of my own miscarriage on this blog.

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I have never had an abortion. Through a combination of dumb luck, (mostly) good efforts and respectful partners, I managed to avoid getting pregnant until the time when I wanted to have babies. But if it hadn’t worked out that way, and I had my share of pregnancy scares over the years, I would have had an abortion. And now that I’ve finished having babies, if I get pregnant again I would almost definitely have an abortion. So, absolutely, abortion is a motherhood issue and I not only fully support reproductive choice but I fully support those women who have chosen abortion.

Having children reinforced my pro-choice beliefs rather than weakening them. But there is something noticeably confronting about being happily pregnant and calling your own little clump of cells a ‘baby’ (and grieving it accordingly when one is lost to miscarriage), after spending years as a pro-choice activist working with the language of the abortion debate. This article, “So what if abortion ends life?” from Mary Elizabeth Williams (whose writing I am really starting to love) in Salon is about moving the abortion rights campaign away from arguing the semantics around early life and highlighting that the real issue always has been and always will be that a woman’s life is worth more.

It seems absurd to suggest that the only thing that makes us fully human is the short ride out of some lady’s vagina. That distinction may apply neatly legally, but philosophically, surely we can do better. Instead, we let right-wingers perpetuate the sentimental fiction that no one with a heart — and certainly no one who’s experienced the wondrous miracle of family life — can possibly resist tiny fingers and tiny toes growing inside a woman’s body. We give a platform to the notion that, as Christina Locke opined in a recent New York Times Op-Ed, “motherhood had slyly changed us. We went from basking in the rights that feminism had afforded us to silently pledging never to exercise them. Nice mommies don’t talk about abortion.”

Don’t they? The majority of women who have abortions – and one in three American women will – are already mothers. And I can say anecdotally that I’m a mom who loved the lives she incubated from the moment she peed on those sticks, and is also now well over 40 and in an experimental drug trial. If by some random fluke I learned today I was pregnant, you bet your ass I’d have an abortion. I’d have the World’s Greatest Abortion.

My belief that life begins at conception is mine to cling to. And if you believe that it begins at birth, or somewhere around the second trimester, or when the kid finally goes to college, that’s a conversation we can have, one that I hope would be respectful and empathetic and fearless. We can’t have it if those of us who believe that human life exists in utero are afraid we’re somehow going to flub it for the cause. In an Op-Ed on “Why I’m Pro-Choice” in the Michigan Daily this week, Emma Maniere stated, quite perfectly, that “Some argue that abortion takes lives, but I know that abortion saves lives, too.” She understands that it saves lives not just in the most medically literal way, but in the roads that women who have choice then get to go down, in the possibilities for them and for their families. And I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.

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In the first study of its kind, to be published on Tuesday, researchers from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) identified 413 criminal and civil cases across 44 states involving the arrests, detentions and equivalent deprivations of pregnant women’s liberty between 1973 and 2005. NAWP said that it is aware of a further 250 cases since 2005. Both figures are likely to be underestimates, it said.

The report, which will appear in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, found that women were denied a wide range of basic human rights, including the right to life, liberty, equal protection and due process of law “based solely on their pregnancy status”.

It found a wide range of cases in which pregnant women were arrested and detained not only if they ended a pregnancy or expressed an intention to end a pregnancy, but also after suffering unintentional pregnancy loss.

Reasons number one to 413 why motherhood is a feminist issue, from an article written by Karen McVeigh in The Guardian.

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Writing an article about you masturbating is probably the only way to get through an experience like this. Greg Pollock’s article in Salon on providing a sperm sample for fertility treatment is seriously charming. (All my love to couples going through infertility. Having seen it up close with people I love I understand that it’s an incredibly difficult road and my god, you deserve all the good things).

I had spoken to the receptionist a few times over the phone. She was really, really nice. I imagine you develop soothing phone mannerisms when your job is scheduling people to confront a bio-existential crisis. This made me feel bad, because she was a very sweet young woman whose first experience of the day was talking to a JO guy about the rules for jacking off in her JO room.

She asked if I’d read the instructions, which I had, and which had prevented a JO the day before (I needed to be two to five days abstinent). I also needed to have clean hands. I had showered right before the appointment; my hands felt clean. But they had also touched a bunch of crap in my crappy Saturn full of ancient coffee cups and they were about to get at my dick. I didn’t want to burden her with further information about how gross I am, so I said yes, I had followed the instructions.

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Can you write advice columns, one of the editors asked me. Yes, I lied. And here we are, my advice on how to announce your pregnancy is now my latest article up at Daily Life.

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So, Jay-Z’s song, Glory about the birth of his daughter is incredibly sweet – all that fatherly pride, and falling in love with a brand new baby, and that profound sense of awe and responsibility that suddenly enters your life – but the bit that really gets me is seeing a song written by a father about miscarriage and the pain of trying and hoping again

The most amazing feeling I feel,
Words can’t describe what I’m feeling for real
Baby, I paint the sky blue,
My greatest creation was you
You, you, glory

False alarms and false starts
All made better by the sound of your heart
All the pain of the last time
I prayed so hard it was the last time
Your mama said you danced for her
Did you wiggle your hands for her?
Glory, Glory, Glory

Sorry, Everything that I prayed for
God’s gift I wish I woulda prayed more
God makes no mistakes, I made a few
Rough sled in here and there but I made it through
I wreak havoc on the world
Get ready for part two
A younger, smarter, faster me
So a pinch of Hov, a whole glass of B

Glory, yeah

The most amazing feeling I feel,
Words can’t describe what I’m feeling for real
Baby, I paint the sky blue,
My greatest creation was you

Your grand pop died of liquor failure
Then he died of liver failure
Deep down he was a good man
God damn I can’t deliver failure
Bad ass little Hov,
Two years old shopping on Saville Row
Wicked ass little Bey, hard not to spoil you rotten, looking like little me
The most beautiful-est thing in this world,
Is Daddy’s little girl.
You don’t yet know what swag is

But you was made in Paris and mama woke up the next day and shot her album package
Last time the miscarriage was so tragic,
We was afraid you disappeared but nah baby, you magic
So there you have it, shit happens
Just make sure the plane you on is bigger than your carry-on baggage
Everybody goes through stuff
Life is a gift, love
Open it up
You’re a child of destiny
You’re the child of my destiny
You’re my child with the child from destiny’s child
That’s a hell of recipe
Glory, glory, glory sorry

Glory, uh, yeah

The most amazing feeling I feel,
Words can’t describe what I’m feeling for real
Baby, I paint the sky blue,
My greatest creation was you

We need to talk about miscarriage, infertility, abortion and still birth more.

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My son Cormac was born blue and floppy. He was rushed away from me by pediatricians to be revived. It was a life-goes-still kind of moment. Maybe if I hadn’t experienced a miscarriage right before his conception I would have been more confident. Fortunately he was returned to me shortly afterwards, alive and colouring. I was told not to expect him to be well enough to breastfeed for a while but I saw him gnawing on his little fists and I thought why not try to, and so I put him to my breast and when he attached .. oh, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

Haunting as his birth has been for me, it was resolved in minutes. It is excruciatingly painful for those parents for whom it isn’t resolved so quickly or happily. Since Cormac was born two of my friends have lost their babies.


This article about Jessica Valenti’s introduction to motherhood with a premature baby and how traumatic that has been for her is one of the best pieces she has ever written. Feminism is truth-telling, and not being able to fall in love with your baby instantly is a very important truth to tell.

Given all of this – the trauma and fear – I know that my inability to immediately feel love for Layla isn’t really my fault, just a natural response to a very unnatural situation. When your entrance into parenthood isn’t marked with flowers and congratulations, but a deadly disease and a baby that is 2lb of sagging skin hanging from fragile bones, your brain simply doesn’t let the possibility of a happy ending enter the picture. Better not get attached, it tells you. This does not look promising.I was so detached during the first months of my daughter’s life, that even after she came home from the hospital, I referred to her only as “the baby”. It was only when a friend asked over lunch why I didn’t call her by her name that I realised what I was doing.

I know logically that I love my daughter. In a video my husband took while Layla was still in the NICU, I’m holding her on my naked chest (something the NICU nurses call “kangaroo care”) breathing deeply and slowly, whispering to her. When he asked later what I was whispering, I tell him it was “strong lungs, strong lungs”.

And this over at Feministe is a beautiful, heart-breaking read, too. It was written in response to Valenti’s piece.

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Some blog recommendations from me. So first, some happy funny stuff!

Lesbian Dad’s son wearing a “future feminist” t-shirt: To Die For Cute.

And Lesbian Dad on toilet training:

For months, nay, years, I would whimper quietly as I pulled the package of organic, free-range, fairly unbiodegradable diapers from the grocery store cart and placed it up onto the checkout counter. The larger the size on the diaper — 3, then 4, then 5, and then, finally and most humiliatingly, the dread 6 (and for you diaper-ignorami, they just don’t get any bigger than 6: next stop, Depend® undergarments) — the more pitious my sotto voce whimpering. It got to the point where the clerks simply could not meet my eyes. I didn’t blame them.  The beloved and I swap grocery store runs weekly with our co-housing in-laws, and whenever I would write in the word “diapers” on the list for them, I would follow it with a little sad face. :( We didn’t talk about it.

Now, some sad stuff. (Hmm check out my not so brilliant segue).

The silence of miscarriage, over at The f word:

It was just after New Year 2010 that I finally got my much wanted positive pregnancy test. We had been trying for almost a year and were both overjoyed. Unfortunately, the joy was to last only a few weeks. I now know that this is something that many women will go through, and yet it is still rarely spoken about.

And I wrote about my own miscarriage here:

I should tell you about the miscarriage I had because it is relevant to this pregnancy. But I still can’t write about it properly. So I’ll just say this. It happened right before this pregnancy, it happened right at the end of the first trimester and it took two weeks to complete. Two weeks of hanging in there, the baby might be ok, no it’s not, actually it might be ok, actually it definitely is not. There were lot and lots of tears. And blood. It was awful.


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