Dear Michelle Duggar,

I don’t know you at all. I just know that whenever you get pregnant, the internet has A LOT OF OPINIONS about your pregnancy. My own dark reproductive history has conditioned me not to have opinions about anyone else’s reproductive situation. So, whenever you got pregnant, I just found myself scrolling past the endless tweets, facebook statuses, and blog posts about your latest blessing.

Although, I’ll admit, I did periodically feel a pang of jealousy. But I feel that whenever anyone gets pregnant, regardless of who they are or how many children they have.

But today? A tidbit caught my attention. It seems you miscarried. And suddenly, just like whenever anyone I know miscarries, I can’t resist the urge to contact you.

A miscarriage is a terribly sad thing. I’ve had my share as I had the pleasure of being diagnosed as a Spontaneous Aborter. The names sounds more fun than it actually is. Turns out, spontaneity is not fun when it comes to losing pregnancies. Trips to get ice cream? YES! New sweaters? YES! Cheesy movie night? BRING IT ON. But spontaneous pregnancy loss? Sucks all sorts of donkey balls.

So I’ve become quite invested in the emotional well-being of friends and family who might suffer the same tragedy. And while you are neither friend or family, I did want to put my condolences out into the universe in hopes that the positive energy they generate make their way to you during this sad time.

I know you are religious, but I know nothing more than that. I’m assuming your faith is going be where you turn right now, and if that works for you then I’m very happy for you. If you still find yourself at a loss, let me share with you a piece that brought me a lot of, well, peace.

This is the link I send friends who have suffered a miscarriage. It is about mourning that loss, and how we don’t have a great standard in our society for dealing with such a loss.

There’s little acknowledgment in Western culture of miscarriage, no ritual to cleanse the grief. My own religion, Judaism, despite its meticulous attention to the details of daily life, has traditionally been silent on pregnancy loss — on most matters of pregnancy and childbirth, in fact. (At the urging of female rabbis, the Conservative movement in which I grew up has, for the first time, included prayers to mark miscarriage and some abortions in its most recent rabbis’ manual.) Christianity, too, has largely overlooked miscarriage.

Words don’t really help, but the author describes the loss I felt in such a way that I felt I wasn’t alone. And I hope you can find that somewhere in your life. Maybe you’ll be fine with people telling you it, “Happens for a reason.” I was not. As a matter of fact, that kinda sent me into rage blackouts. Maybe your faith will give you that reason. But if none of these things work for you, just know that it’s okay to be sad. It’s not “just” a miscarriage. Allow yourself time to be sad. And angry, if you’re like me.

And know that something that helped me was probably something you’ve grown to hate in your notoriety: The internet. I found tons of friends inside the box writing about their losses and they put words to what I was feeling and gave me hope that I could make it through the pain. I’ll be forever grateful for those faceless voices.

Anyway…you’ll probably never see this. But I couldn’t let this escape my recognition as I know the pain all too well.

Peace to you and your family.

15 Comments

  • kris

    As someone who suffered their 6th miscarriage on Thanksgiving, I feel very sorry for Michelle, especially going through it with so many criticisms against her. I really do feel for her, because no matter if its your first child or your 20th, miscarriage SUCKS!!

    • zoot

      Kris – well please accept my words to be directed to you as well. They never get easier, do they? Hang in there.

  • Laura

    wonderfully written! Having had my fair share of pregnancy losses as well I can’t help but feel a stab of pain when I hear someone, anyone has suffered such a loss.

  • Katie McCollum

    You are such an amazing writer. I hope that this somehow finds it’s way to her, to offer her some works of comfort and peace.

  • Rachael

    I feel so lucky that I never experienced a miscarriage. I have consciously considered it because it is something that SO many women experience, and it is not acknowledged. This is beautiful, and I know it will help lots of women to read what you’ve written.

  • Dawn

    I have a note on my calendar and continue to carry it forward every year of the anticipated birthday of twins I lost a long time ago. The pain never completely goes away, it just dulls with time. My heart goes out to all who have lived through this because it IS thought of as “just a miscarriage”. Kim, your article is beautifully written and obviously from the heart. I hope it touches many women who have been in this horrible situation.

  • Heather

    That’s sad 🙁 Even sadder, a lot of people will use the loss to judge her and hate on her. While I can’t imagine doing what that family has done with their reproductive choices, I know that their hearts must be hurting badly right now and for that I keep them in my prayers.

  • Broad

    Good for you for writing this post, Kim. I read the news yesterday about the Duggar Family’s loss, and the comments were hideous. “Maybe you should take this as a sign that it’s time to stop,” or “That’s what you get for trying to have 20 kids,” or “It’s not like it would have mattered anyway, her oldest kids raise her babies for her.” It was really disgusting to see how heartless people could be in the face of someone elses horrible loss like that. The internet is an amazing thing most of the time but I hate that it gives the face of anonymity a much stronger power. People will do an say things that they would never normally do and say just because they’re masked by a keyboard and a monitor. It’s disgusting. No matter what our personal beliefs and preferences may be from either a religious standpoint, or a moral standpoint or otherwise, we have no right to criticize another human being for the loss of a pregnancy when the loss is completely out of our control. (My comparison would be someone who lost a pregnancy due to drug use or something – those women deserve an earful.) I cannot imagine the pain and the sorrow the Duggar family must be experiencing – and she has not yet delivered her stillborn baby. It will get worse before it gets better. My heart goes out to them because not only are they forced to suffer the loss of a child, but they’re doing it in the scruitiny of the public eye.

    May they find peace together through everything they’re about to endure.

    Well written, Kim. Well written indeed.

  • angie

    I love this. So well written and thoughtful. I have never had a miscarriage so I can not truly relate. I do have children and cannot even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child to miscarriage.

    I like the Duggars and enjoy seeing how they handle their children. I appreciate the patience and love both Jim Bob and Michelle have toward their children and their fellow man. The things being said online when the news broke were nothing short of appalling. So many awful and disgusting things were said and it just amazed me. I shouldn’t be surprised as I have seen it all before, but somehow, ignorant people still make my jaw drop. I commented in a couple of different places because I just couldn’t let all that ugliness just stand with no one to add a word of compassion. I just kept wondering if these same people would say the same horrible things to their sister/best friend/cousin in the same situation. I think not.

    I hope the Duggars find the strength and peace they need at this time.

    Thanks for putting something good out there almost every day, Kim. You are truly a breath of fresh air each day.

  • Lisa

    I am not a fan of the Duggars by any means, but I was heartbroken to hear about this. I can’t imagine going for a doctor’s appointment — and not just any appointment, but the big! fun! exciting! ultrasound! appointment — and learning that my baby had no heartbeat. Miscarriage is heartbreaking in any situation, but for some reason, hearing how she found out really hit me hard.

    I think this brings up an interesting weak point in our country/society. We hear a LOT of people saying that life begins at conception, but we really fail when it comes to acknowledging loss. That statement probably sounds more politically charged than I intend. Just an observation.

  • Cindy

    I feel so bad for them, no matter what number child it was. 7 years ago, we went through almost the exact same thing. Went in for the big ultrasound (even brought our mom’s with us!) and there was no heartbeat. Found out a few days later that the baby had tied a knot in her cord. I just wanted to say that this is so beautiful and well written. But part of me hopes that they stay off of the internet for fear they will see all of the hideous comments on some of the stories. It’s amazing how evil people can be.

  • Christa

    After 6 years of ttc and a miscarriage via a forced abortion with a semi-ectopic post IVF, I was blown away. Now, with 5 year old twins, I frequently come across women (and have at least one good friend) who have miscarriage after miscarriage. There just are not words. And, a lost child never leaves you, ever. For anyone who does not believe life begins at conception (and I am a free choicer!!!) walk a mile in the shoes of a woman who has lost a pregnancy.