+
More

This mom is sharing her story of pregnancy loss so others won't struggle alone.

When it comes to miscarriage we kind of have it all wrong.

Rachel Lewis has had five miscarriages.

They were painful and heartbreaking for her and her family. On top of the intense grief and inner turmoil she was feeling, Rachel was met with a mixture of awkwardness and expectation to move on — and to do so quickly. There can also be an assumption that miscarriage is someone's fault. Rachel found herself scouring her own behavior to find a reason why it happened.

"We blame ourselves because we need to blame something," Rachel explains. "It was our body's one job to make a baby and keep it safe."


Rachel, pregnant with her daughter Ellie. Photo by Sarah Thompson.

Miscarriage holds a stigma in our culture, but many of the things women attribute miscarriage to are old wives' tales.

That jog you took? A stressful day at work? Not going to cause a miscarriage, says Dr. Zev Williams, director of the Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Irrational as it seems now, Rachel thought not drinking enough water led to her miscarriage.

“Historically, medical professionals have played a role in perpetuating society’s hush-hush treatment of miscarriage,” says Williams. He doesn’t even like to use the term "miscarriage" because of the blame it places on the mother. “It implies not carrying properly," he says. "The woman did nothing wrong.”

When women become pregnant, they are often told not to tell anyone for three months. "The implication behind that is you want to avoid talking about a miscarriage if you have one,” Williams says.

Rachel and her husband Ryan's announcement for their much hoped for "rainbow baby" — their third daughter, Ellie. Photo via Rachel Lewis.

But gun-shy behavior around miscarriage is odd because it is the most common complication associated with pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

High incidents of miscarriage in early pregnancy isn’t actually a bad thing either. It’s a body doing its job.

In those first few weeks of pregnancy, the body evaluates the embryo to determine if it is viable; if it is not, the body will naturally abort the pregnancy. The vast majority of miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormality, and according to Williams, there is absolutely nothing a mother or even a doctor, can do to prevent a chromosomally unviable pregnancy.

To put it simply: With miscarriage, your body is not failing and neither are you.

Rachel and her husband Ryan, pregnant with their oldest daughter, prior to any losses. Photo via Rachel Lewis.

But we are failing in our hesitancy to discuss it.

Why is it so awkward to openly talk about miscarriage at work? Why are we told to keep our pregnancies private until we're "sure"they will go to full-term? Why isn’t miscarriage a more prominent part of sex education and health courses? Perhaps if we, as a society, were more educated in the prevalence and often unpreventable nature of miscarriage, we would be better able to cope with miscarriages and provide better support systems to women who are going through them.

Rachel at the OB-GYN office. She had just had an ultrasound where they suspected trouble and an ectopic pregnancy. She says, "I took this picture to remember what heartbreak looked like." Photo via Rachel Lewis.

“My routine OB-GYN care in no way prepared me for the mental onslaught of grief, anxiety, depression and numbness that accompanied my pregnancy losses,” Rachel says. Her miscarriages were early, within the first eight weeks, and she felt that her doctor didn’t take her needs seriously given that miscarriages are so common early on.

"Miscarriage can be scary, overwhelming, and heartbreaking — not to mention extremely painful," she elaborates. "Knowing that our OB sees this all the time does not save us from experiencing all the rawness of the pain and grief.”

Rachel now spends her time writing about her experience with miscarriage in the hopes that she can provide comfort to anyone struggling in silence.

Photo by Sarah Thompson.

Rachel wants to bring the universal experience of miscarriage out of hiding. "Sure, we've broken the taboo about discussing birth control and preventing pregnancies. But admitting that we've endured a loss is still difficult. Secrecy and shame shroud this event, starving both women and men of the support they desperately need."

Rachel is bravely taking the step to start the conversation. We should all follow her lead.

Rachel and her husband Ryan along with their daughters Maddy, Leyla, and Ellie. Photo via Rachel Lewis.

True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less

Chris Hemsworth and daughter.

This article originally appeared on 08.27.18


In addition to being the star of Marvel franchise "Thor," actor Chris Hemsworth is also a father-of-three? And it turns out, he's pretty much the coolest dad ever.

In a clip from a 2015 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Hemsworth shared an interesting conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter India.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Cuban immigrant’s reaction to getting his first American paycheck has gone viral

Before coming to the U.S. last year, Diaz made $12 a month as a computer science teacher in Cuba.

The Cuban and American flags.

An Instagram post featuring Yoel Diaz, a recent Cuban immigrant, is going viral because it shows a powerful example of something many of us in America take for granted. The freedom to earn a paycheck for a day of honest labor.

In the video, Diaz is ecstatic after he opens his first paycheck after getting a job as a seasonal worker for UPS. CBS reports that before coming to the U.S. last year, Diaz made $12 a month as a computer science teacher in Cuba.

"This is my first hourly paycheck that I feel every hour counted," he told CBS News. "That every hour of work has importance in my life and that I know I can work hard for something. I can't compare that emotion with anything. Because I never had that in my country."

The new job was a big change from life in Cuba where he had trouble filling his refrigerator. He told CBS News that sometimes he only had two items: "Water, water, water, five, ten eggs, water."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Someone asked strangers online to share life's essential lessons. Here are the 17 best.

There's a bit of advice here for everyone—from financial wisdom to mental health tips.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Failure is a great teacher.

It’s true that life never gets easier, and we only get continuously better at our lives. Childhood’s lessons are simple—this is how you color in the lines, 2 + 2 = 4, brush your teeth twice a day, etc. As we get older, lessons keep coming, and though they might still remain simple in their message, truly understanding them can be difficult. Often we learn the hard way.

The good news is, the “hard way” is indeed a great teacher. Learning the hard way often involves struggle, mistakes and failure. While these feelings are undeniably uncomfortable, being patient and persistent enough to move through them often leaves us not only wiser in having gained the lesson, but more confident, assured and emotionally resilient. If that’s not growth, I don’t know what is.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Woman reunites with her family 51 years after being kidnapped

Melissa Highsmith never even knew her real family was searching for her.

The family celebrate their reunion following a decades long search

In 1971, Melissa Highsmith was kidnapped from her home in Fort Worth, Texas. Her disappearance has been one of the oldest missing person cases in America. Now, she gets to celebrate a long-awaited reunion with her family in what she calls a “Christmas miracle.”

As ABC affiliate WFAA reported, Melissa’s mother, Alta (who now goes by Alta Apantenco) had put out an ad for a babysitter to watch over her then 21-month-old while she was at work. A white gloved, well-dressed woman going by the name of Ruth Johnson responded to the call, but she was no babysitter. After Johnson picked up baby Melissa from Apantenco’s roommate, the two were never seen again.

As any parents would do in this situation, the Highsmiths worked tirelessly to find their little girl, involving the Fort Worth police and even the FBI. Sadly, it was all to no avail. The only glimmer of hope remaining was that there was no evidence of harm, so maybe, just maybe, their Melissa was being well taken care of. And for 51 years, the family held onto that possibility.

Keep ReadingShow less