Gabrielle Union, Miscarriage and Insensitive Words

I DO NOT OWN THIS IMAGE. COURTESY: PEOPLE MAGAZINE

I DO NOT OWN THIS IMAGE. COURTESY: PEOPLE MAGAZINE

First, we must say congratulations to Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade for welcoming a baby girl into this world!

How awesome of her to share her blessing with the world. You may have been like me and didn’t know they were expecting. And, I totally get that. Oftentimes, you are scared to share the news of an impending birth once you have had multiple losses. You are just trying to make it to the finish line.

With the birth of Gracyn, we didn’t start telling our families until I was well over 7 months pregnant. And, I have been told my belly was kind of out there.

Gabrielle had mentioned her struggles with infertility and miscarriage in her book. And, media outlets have reported that the Wades gave birth through surrogacy. There was a point that a doctor presented this option to Marcus and I. So, I can imagine the thought process and the emotions the Wades went through in weighing this option.

But, you know the world we live in. You have 10 seconds of happiness and some one may find something to complain about it. 

Internet conversation began to swirl around and asked why Gabrielle was in a hospital gown, since she didn’t birth the child. I get it, some people may have been honestly confused. I’ll admit I was too at first, because I read the birth was via surrogate.

Then, you realize that the Wades, like anyone else, were encouraged to do skin to skin contact. Whether you are a parent through a natural birth, c-section, adoption and even surrogacy, you are encouraged to do skin to skin contact.

Yet, that did not stop many to chime in hatefully or throw shade for a like or two on social media. My friend and I were discussing the Wades and the nonsensical things that people say and write last week. It got me to thinking about my own journey, and some of the insensitive things that people said to me.

First, let me preface that Gabrielle Union is probably so wrapped up in happiness right now, she could probably care less about anything you and I write lol. And, I  know sometimes the most good-hearted people can mean well. But, I am writing this in hopes the next time we comment behind a screen or even in someone’s face,  we think about how our words may affect people.

These are 5 Statements That I Did Not Find Helpful on my Pregnancy Journey.

I guess you will never have kids.

Like seriously, someone really said this to me. Granted, I feel like this woman was old and senile. However, I really wished she would have worded this differently. After the last word came out of her mouth, I surprisingly clapped back. That is unusual for me, because I am not usually quick on my feet or tongue lol. But, I rebuked those words immediately and just said “We are waiting on God.”

You can adopt.

Here me out. There is nothing wrong at all with adoption or foster care. However, when you say this to a miscarriage mama, you are essentially saying to her, “Your body is not good enough to carry your own child”.  That is what I heard. It also may suggest to a miscarriage mama that you no longer believe or support her having a child naturally.

Miscarriage mamas have alot of self-blame and criticism that they dish out. And, they honestly don’t need to hear or be reminded of how their body is not cooperating.

And, they may be trying to consider adoption on their own. But, let them get there on their own terms and with God’s guidance. Adoption also doesn’t mean a guarantee of bringing a baby home. There are different scenarios to where an adoption may fall through or not on the table (i.e. birth mother changes mind, legal matters, financial obligations).

If you are someone that has not adopted,  I would suggest you find something else to say. Adoption is a great and viable option for anyone, not just mamas of miscarriage.

It’s Not Your Time Yet.

So, this one irked me so bad. As a pastor’s wife, it is sometimes hard knowing that your life can be preached in the pulpit and not necessarily by my husband. I am pretty much an extrovert, however, I am not always good at sharing my deepest thoughts or feelings. And, I don’t feel that I should always have to.

Our struggles with pregnancy have been put out there by some people, who I wished would have asked me about my comfort level first. Yet, I had one person say that it is was not our time yet. In essence, I kinda interpreted that the preacher meant that it was not God’s timing.

Now, this statement did not bother my husband as much. But, it really went through me. Here’s why?  It was said at a public worship service. I couldn’t just shout in the middle of the service, “What are you talking about, sir?” But, I would have much rather have heard this in private.

Secondly, I felt accused of trying to force a baby into this world that was not in God’s will. Now, I know that I didn’t do this. But, I did stop and question myself. This statement was actually pretty hurtful to me. I have gone back and forth about the loss of Mackenzie at 21 weeks in 2016. To this day, I still think about what I could have done differently. Despite my family and medical staff telling me there was nothing I could have done, I still harbor guilt for this baby. And, I would have never wanted to intentionally put myself and especially my husband through multiple miscarriages. I carried a lot of guilt also because I wanted to give my husband a child.  The statement “It’s Not Your Time Yet”, initially didn’t help my guilt and self-doubt.

Y’all are Going to Try, AGAIN? 

After the death of Mackenzie, I initially had some peace and comfort about where she was. I was very much still hurting. But I knew that I wanted to try again, and I had peace about that. However, I mentioned to a few people about our plans. I vividly remember two people saying “Oh no, Shannon” and “Again?”

I get it. They were hurting with me and did not want me to go through this pain again. I was already at pregnancy loss #5 at that point.  We did go on to try again, but I had two miscarriages along the way.  And, there were times that I even questioned what I was doing. So, statements like “y’all are going to try again?” were not helpful to me. But, I’m glad that we didn’t let these words discourage us to the point that we didn’t try for the eighth time.

Lastly, my closest friends will tell you that it is hard for a miscarriage mama to open up and express themselves. If you do get them to open up, that’s a major accomplishment.  So, when you are questioned about a major decision like I was, it can make you less likely to share again.  

Wait Until You Are A Mother.

So, I was around a group of mothers about four or five years ago. The kids were rambunctious and having a good time. One of the moms was getting frustrated though. I said to her jokingly, “Just let them play”. This lady, who knew of my pregnancy losses,  replies “Wait until you are a mother”. Again, I don’t think that this was maliciously intended. However, as you can see, the words still stick with me.

The truth of the matter is, we don’t consider anyone a mother until we see a baby. I know globally the conversation would have to change for us to think differently. But, I saw this post go around once that basically said—as soon as you see those two lines/positive sign on a pregnancy test, you are a mother with a baby on the way.

And, this was true for me. You begin dreaming about your pregnancy and the life of your baby instantly. However, when you lose your baby, you still dream and you still wonder. And, you are still their mother.

IMG_2488.JPG

Believe it or not. I am not angry at anyone that said the words that I mentioned or anything similar. However, I still remember these words to this day. Maybe Gabrielle Union won’t be angry either. Maybe she will read a few comments. I am sure though she has heard some things, that she would like to unhear.

I just want us all (yes, I am including myself) to just choose wisely and carefully the words that we say. A mama who has suffered miscarriage and infertility has a fragile heart, even if they are blessed to conceive. Even the strongest and most extroverted have down moments and bad days.

Stay Saved,

Shannon