November 25, 2006

Read This Month's Vogue Magazine, Just Be Careful

So I was flipping through my wife's Vogue, trying to help her get out the door by distracting the kid, and so I do an off-the-cuff play-by-play of each page, that is until the kid goes, "Tell me the story again about the women who stop eating and wear leopard skin." I'll never learn.

But then an essay by author Jonathan Burnham Schwartz caught my eye, which promptly filled up with tears. [Let's see Cookie do that.] It was about miscarriages, and the secret emotional rollercoaster he and his wife rode for several years after they decided to try to have a kid:

Though we are a couple who talks things through, after that fist pregnancy and several others equally though variously unsuccessful, we made a decision: We would move our grief and disappointment underground. Other than immediate family members and one or two friends, we would tell no one what was happening, or that we were even trying to have children. Perhaps this was a mistake; honestly, I don't know. But we did not want to be come people that others pitied or worried over. We did not want to lose the lives that we had--lives in which now and then we might go on acting out the role of people who found enjoyment in friends and family, worka nd travel. Above all,w e did not want to expose a pain that we ourselves could hardly bear to look at.
If I was shocked to read a piece like this in Vogue, I wasn't surprised not to find it on their website. But as someone who all but mindlessly bumbled his way into fatherhood, the very existence of challenges, disappointments, and unhappy TTC [trying to conceive] stories catches me off guard. And yet, I think it's a far more common experience than most people ever realize.

If anyone knows of other good, helpful, or insightful accounts of dealing with miscarriage or with the broader TTC process, please add them in the comments. Especially from a dad/dad-to-be's perspective.

Otherwise, if you're going to read the magazine at Barnes & Noble, take a Kleenex.


There are many excellent blogs dealing with these issues. Probably the very best writing I've ever seen on the web (no offense!) was at chez miscarriage, which is down (including all of its archives) at the moment, unfortunately -- written by a DES daughter who experienced multiple miscarriages. But Julie at a little pregnant and Julia at here be hippogriffs are also really good. (I assume there aren't too many folks here who would be upset about reading baby stories on an infertility blog, but both of those women have one child and are suffering from secondary infertility.)

I also read that article while sitting in a waiting room. If I wasn't surrounded by so many people I would've ripped it out of the magazine and took the article home with me. It really was an astonishing piece of writing.

[it's not quite as intense or reflective, but it reminded me of the Daniel Raeburn piece in the NY'er. Very classy waiting room you got there, btw, with new Vogues lying around... -ed.]

"About What Was Lost", a book which will be coming out December 26th, is about recovering from miscarriage and I recommend it.

Almost four years later, I still think the conversation between Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick on Slate is one of the best things I've read about miscarriage. Read all of the entries at:

[wow, no kidding. interesting-sounding book, too. though there's still no/barely any mention of men -ed.]

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