This week I happened to catch a bit of the Lifetime Movie Wendy Williams: The Movie. I have no feelings, strong or otherwise, about Wendy Williams, and I am neither a fan nor a detractor. I had seen a few clips of her show and of course the infamous Halloween episode. That being said, it took me this long to even serendipitously catch some of her autobiographical story.
I would admit that I only became interested in the story when I learned that Wendy Williams is a fellow survivor of pregnancy loss, in fact, two miscarriages and a stillbirth. Whatever I may have thought about Wendy, as a loss mother myself, I understood that she was a survivor beneath the larger-than-life persona. Her story of loss was heartbreaking, and I am sure it took incredible strength to choose to share it. Eventually, Wendy would give birth to her son, but not before one of the most realistic moments I have ever seen on television would play out.
In one scene Wendy was talking to her doctor and with tears in her eyes, she asked “Why do my babies keep dying?” I was immediately transported back to 2014 when I asked my new OBGYN the same question. Like Wendy, I had three dead babies and no answers.
“Why do my babies keep dying?”
For mothers with recurrent miscarriages, this is one of the most difficult questions and unfortunately, not every one of us gets an answer. In fact, I am willing to guess that most of us do not.
Why do my babies keep dying?
The question tells such a huge story. It contains all the pain and desperation of loss but it also tells of the sacrifice of loss moms. There is no concern for ourselves in that question but a need to know what is happening to our precious babies.
Why do my babies keep dying?
A question that may seem unfair to ask of any fellow human but one that helps keeps those in the medical field researching and improving the quality of care for pregnant women and their babies.
Wendy’s doctor explained her diagnosis (Graves Disease) and treatment plan, just like my OBGYN did for me with my diagnosis of Antiphospholipid Syndrome. With tears streaming down her face, Wendy thanked him for explaining and listed all the ways she had blamed herself. Sound familiar? Before receiving my diagnosis, I blamed myself too. But my doctor helped me understand my diagnosis and we worked out a treatment plan that included medicine, diet, and bed rest.
It did not erase the pain of the loss but it helped me feel less alone. Other women experienced the same thing that I did. There was a name, an explanation, and a plan for what I had gone through.
I want you to know that I understand. This isn’t the way it happens for most of us here in the pregnancy after loss community. Oftentimes there are no answers, even after recurrent losses and no specific advice on what to do this time. For most of us, we are navigating this terrain blindly. And that is an act of complete bravery. It is why the pregnancy after loss community is made up of some of the strongest women I know. And it is why we have to commit to supporting each other even more.
I still do not know very much about Wendy Williams, but I am glad that I saw some of her life story. I truly believe that when we share our stories, we strengthen our community. When we share our stories, we help other women create connections. Maybe her story or your story can help another woman pay attention to her own body and ask important questions at her next doctor’s appointment. And if sharing our story can help one family, isn’t that so worth it?