Do you think miscarriage is funny? Do you joke about it? Do you make flip remarks about women who lose babies or the act of losing a pregnancy? If not, then maybe I wasn’t the only one whose jaw hit the floor when I heard this sentence on prime time television earlier tonight.
“Makes me grateful for the miscarriages.”
Those were the words said matter of factly by Viola Davis tonight during an episode of ABC’s How to get away with Murder. These words were tossed around in passing, facetiously even, and it made my stomach turn. Until tonight, I liked the show. I looked forward to it every week.
Maybe it’s because it’s November or because I read this post today by parents who are still suffering from the stillbirth of their baby girl Ruby, or maybe it’s just because it was one of the most insensitive things I’ve ever heard uttered on primetime television but I feel like I could vomit. I cringed as the words were being said. As someone who has actually
suffered survived (barely) a miscarriage, I can assure you that I have never been grateful for the one. I mourn that loss every day. When it happened, I wanted to die too. I would never joke about miscarriage, no more than I would joke about someone’s mom dying or having cancer. There are some things that just aren’t funny in any context.
Obviously, these are not Viola Davis’ own words. There are writers who write scripts. I would venture to guess that the writer is not a woman. I don’t think a woman would ever think to write such an insensitive thing. Honestly, I don’t know how the hell that line made it into the script at all when a woman, Shonda Rhimes, creating it and the star of the show being a female. With a little investigating, my hunch was confirmed, the episode was written by a man. It was in such poor taste that I am truly offended, I am shocked and repulsed and that is saying something because not much shocks or offends me.
Any woman who has ever suffered a miscarriage, could assure you that no woman would ever consider herself “grateful for the miscarriages” much less say those cringe worthy words out loud. Maybe I’m a little more sensitive to this because I’ve been through it. It’s personal for me. It’s more than just a line to be read. Words have weight and that sentence is crushing. The words came unexpectedly and blind-sighted me. I was not expecting to be reminded of one of the worst days of my life in such a flippant way.
I’m still flabbergasted, an hour later, still picking my jaw up off the ground; that’s why I’m writing this post. I am so disappointed. I feel like I was hit over the head. I was watching the show, like I do every Thursday and there out of nowhere, I get over the head with that terrible, no good, very bad sentence. People, your fans are watching and words hurt. No one wants to be enjoying their weekly drama only to be triggered and/or reminded of one of the most hurtful experiences a parent can go through. Loss and miscarriage is not something that should be taken lightly. It may have just be a line in a script to you but to me, and many like me, it was a blatant disregard for the trauma and tragedy we experienced. It may have meant nothing to you to say it, but it meant everything to us to hear it because when you lose a pregnancy, it feels like you’ve lost everything in that moment.