NBC’s This Is Us will always succeed at these two things: 1) being eerily relatable and 2) making everyone cry. And last week’s episode was no exception.
The show certainly doesn’t shy away from the hard things. In fact, I think they’ve purposefully covered nearly every universal struggle, sorrow, joy, and victory since the first episode aired. The Pearson family has faced all of the common things a family will deal with in the span of its existence — cancer, pregnancy loss, death of a parent, adoption, marriage, divorce, affairs, etc.
And now, another pregnancy loss, a generation later when Kate, played by Chrissy Metz, looses her first pregnancy. From the start, Kate hesitated to share the news with the rest of the Pearson clan, knowing it would be a high-risk. Despite the uncertainty, she eventually chose to celebrate the life growing inside of her.
However, soon after telling family, Kate tragically miscarries, leaving her unsure of what it looks like to grieve, especially when it comes to including others in the process.
Kate attempts to bypass the grief by jumping back into normal life, which leads to a disagreement between her and her fiancé, Toby. While Toby views miscarriage as something a man and woman experience together, Kate views it as more of a solitary experience for the woman, since it happened to her body.
However, it takes some advice from a woman who has gone before her to soften her heart in the grieving process. Her mother, Rebecca, lost one of her triplets decades before and uses her experience with this loss to support and guide Kate through this difficult time. While the two have had a tumultuous relationship, it’s Rebecca who truly helps Kate grieve and see the loss from Toby’s perspective.
Of course, it’s no mistake they bring this issue up twice. 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage in her lifetime, making it one of the most common and universal sorrows known to mankind.
Here at Storks we receive so many stories about miscarriage. A common theme in these stories is that women experience feelings of isolation. They feel like nobody else has experienced this loss, because, well, women often don’t talk about it. Silence surrounding miscarriage is a cyclical problem and it’s important to let your grieving friends know that you’ve been there too.
Because miscarriage is such a common experience, it comes up frequently in popular culture—whether that’s real life celebrity news or fictional scenarios. But what’s always interesting to note is how miscarriage is treated. More often than not, it’s treated how it should be treated, as the loss of a human life.
Take for example, this interview with Entertainment Weekly where Metz discusses what it was like to be Kate during this traumatic experience. She says that she was just trying “to have empathy for Kate, and this beautiful piece of joy that Toby and her had and then it was taken from her. I just tried to stay authentic in the heartache and also the process of grief because everybody processes grief differently.”
Of course, this treatment of human life in the womb diverges greatly from the treatment of life in the womb when it comes to abortion. From Hollywood come some of Planned Parenthood’s most fervent supporters and many shows and movies celebrate abortion as a woman’s right.
While we should celebrate shows that choose to tackle the issue of miscarriage, we should also have our eyes peeled for the inconsistencies in our culture when it comes to life in the womb.
More importantly, share your story—whether it’s about miscarriage, unplanned pregnancy, adoption, or abortion. The more we share our stories that celebrate life, the more our culture will begin to see kids as a gift.