Comedian Tackles Infertility in Web Series


I’m happy to introduce you to Wendy Litner, a fellow infertility warrior I met through Twitter. She’s also a comedian who’s developing a web series called How to Buy a Baby. The trailer is a hilarious send-up of the more ridiculous aspects of the infertility journey. I love comedy and appreciate Wendy’s ability to infuse a trying situation with humor. My Q&A with Wendy offers insights into her project, the shame that many people experience with infertility, and the latest step on her path to parenthood.

Tegan: How did you get first get the idea to make a web series about infertility?

Wendy: My husband and I have been dealing with infertility for years now and I have been writing about my own personal experience for places like Today’s Parent and Mamamia. While I started out as a personal essay writer, I have been trying to stretch my writing muscles and have become increasingly interested in script writing over the years. I felt like infertility just wasn’t getting enough air in popular culture, despite the statistics suggesting that a large portion of the population has struggled with it. I really loved the idea of being to explore a couple going through infertility. Webseries, while still difficult to make, have become increasingly accessible and popular and I liked the idea of having a larger story told in these smaller vignettes about a marriage under pressure. Also, I am so inspired by people like yourself who have taken their experience with infertility and turned it into something beautiful for other people. I wanted to lend my voice to this as well.

Tegan: I watched the trailer for How to Buy a Baby. It’s really funny and cheeky. Why did you decide to talk about these issues using humor as the lens?

Wendy: I believe there is humour in everything! Sometimes you have to look really, really hard but it’s there. I come from a really funny family who have always handled adversity with humour and I have tried my best to apply this to infertility as well. It doesn’t always work. I am a comedy writer and so I try and tell things in a funny way, even if it’s dark comedy. I was really inspired by Tig Notaro and her Live performance, where she jokes about her breast cancer. She showed so much strength and humour and resiliency and I thought if she could laugh at that, I could laugh at my inability to have children. I have gotten emails from other people struggling with infertility who appreciate being able to laugh at their awful experience and I will feel like somewhat of a fraud. Here I am trying to advocate humour in a way and I am in the fetal position crying over my experience. Through my many (many!) tears though, my ultimate coping mechanism is laughing.

Tegan: What do you hope to accomplish with How to Buy a Baby?

Wendy: I hope to humanize the experience of infertility. I want people who have been in the trenches to know they are not alone, in this child-centric Facebook world of ours that can make an infertile feel so alone. I also hope to raise awareness about what infertility does to a person and what it does to a couple. People who are lucky enough not to have to buy a baby can be very quick to say things like “why don’t you just adopt” and they don’t appreciate how difficult, costly and time consuming that process is. People can be a bit cavalier about their procreative abilities and not realize that they are so very lucky to have had a smooth path to parenthood. I hope people struggling with infertility will feel seen when they watch HTBAB.

Tegan: What kind of reactions have you gotten so far in response to the HTBAB trailer?

Wendy: The response from the infertility community in particular has been so overwhelming! I have gotten the most amazing and encouraging notes from people who have shared this experience and it means the world to me. (I was going through a round of IVF as well while I was working on this and my hormones were out of control – I couldn’t stop crying, I was so touched!). I was nervous about how people would react to the dark humour aspect of it, worrying that people would think I am trying to make light of so much pain when I am trying to do the opposite. I have been so happy that people have embraced it and are excited to see more. We have received funding from the Independent Production Fund here in Canada and are now trying to raise the balance of our funding and find a distribution platform to share the series.

Tegan: Why do you suppose people are still uncomfortable talking about infertility?

Wendy: I feel like there is a sense of shame surrounding infertility. I think we women get embaressed that our bodies weren’t able to do what the bodies of all our friends and families could do. I have felt it myself, this sense of guilt and self-reproach that I must, I must, be doing something wrong and that’s why I can’t get pregnant. My rational self knows this is ridiculous and that I have done everything possible but there is still that tiny part of me that says “maybe I shouldn’t have had that cup of coffee during my IVF cycle.” I am hoping that the more people that share and talk about their experience the most people will be comfortable talking about it.

Tegan: Tell us about your own connections to / experiences with infertility and where you are on your journey to parenthood.

Wendy: After many failed infertility treatments my husband and I are now pursuing adoption. Of course we wanted a baby yesterday, so the waiting and uncertainty is extremely difficult but I am trying my best to look at this new process as an adventure to meet our child. I feel like I have just now become versed in the language of infertility and now we are moving on to a whole new process. While I don’t expect it to be a smooth one, I hope that it will end happy. I can’t wait to be a mother!

The Real Work of Journalists: 7 Ways the Movie Spotlight Got it Right


It’s hard to overstate how much I enjoyed the movie Spotlight. It chronicles the difficult, messy work of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team as they worked to uncover the priest abuse scandal in Boston (and beyond). The dialogue is excellent and it’s well acted. As a long-time journalist, I appreciated the way journalists were portrayed: as hard-working people doing an often thankless job because they care about illuminating the truth. Here are seven examples from the movie Spotlight of how journalists really do their job.

  1. We’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. When one of the characters knocks on a door and a priest opens the door, she quickly gathers her wits and begins asking him questions. She carefully words her queries, but does not avoid the painful topic of abuse.
  2. We track down sources, even if they won’t agree to a meeting. When I worked in a state capitol, other reporters and I often staked out offices, waiting for those we needed to interview to step into the hall so we could begin peppering them with questions. If you have to interview someone, you do all you can (within legal limits) to gain access to that person. That means there can be some boring downtime while you wait, but you have to be ready to go the moment that person emerges into the hallway. There were a couple of instances in the movie where reporters took advantage of the stake out to gain access.
  3. We often don’t see the full story initially. There’s a line in the movie from editor Marty Baron: “Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we spend most of our time stumbling around the dark.” It’s true because we have the difficult task of digging, researching, and uncovering. It’s hard to know the scope of your story at the outset. This was perfectly illustrated in the movie as we saw the scope of the story expand beyond what the reporters thought possible.
  4. We get lots of story pitches, and it’s hard to know which ones to take seriously. When I worked the assignment desk at a large television station in California. I received a call from a pay phone. It was a frustrated homeless woman who told me a story that, if true, was HUGE. I had to make a call as a recent j-school grad: take her seriously or dismiss her. After asking some questions, I told her I was interested in hearing more, but needed her to call back at a specific time the next day. Before we spoke again, I did some digging with some sources I had in city government and on the police force. In the end, I did a ton of leg work and then helped a reporter produce a story. It resulted in a high-ranking city official quitting her job in disgrace. In Spotlight, we discover reporters had some of the pieces of the priest sex abuse story years earlier, but had not taken the leads seriously enough to pursue a story. It happens in newsrooms all the time.
  5. Off-the-record information is useful. When I taught journalism classes, I had students every semester who asked about how to use off-the-record tips. My answer: use it to point you in the right direction. Off-the-record information can help you know who you need to interview, an issue you need to raise in an interview, or a place to find crucial information you need to continue working on your story. That was the case for a reporter in Spotlight. A tip from a lawyer helped him access records that were very important to the story.
  6. Open records are vital. When editor Marty Baron came to the Globe, he arrived from Florida where there were more liberal sunshine laws. He wasted little time going to court to get records unsealed in the priest abuse cases. Open records enable reporters to do a thorough reporting job.
  7. Sometimes it takes an outside voice to make you see things in a different way. When he took the helm at the globe, Marty Baron was an outsider, giving him a fresh perspective on the two priest abuse cases that had come to light, but gained little special coverage. He wasn’t afraid to challenge a massive institution in Boston, and push his staff to set aside their skepticism of him and dig deeper into the story.

What did you think of the movie Spotlight?

Top image via Flickr by William Hook

From DocuDrama to Cheetos: What I Like/Love This Week


Hope your week has been simply grand. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me with lots of snow and celebrating for my recent birthday. Here’s a look at what’s popping my wig these days. Be sure to let me know what’s captured your attention so far this week!

  1. Making a Murderer. Unless you’ve abandoned social media, you’ve probably heard all the buzz about this docudrama series on Netflix. The 10-episode mini-series tells the painfully frustrating story of Steven Avery, a man exonerated for rape and later brought to trial in a separate incident on murder charges. Avery believes the authorities who have a personal grudge against him and resented his exoneration framed him for a murder. The storytelling is measured, understated, and compelling. I’ve been burned out on true crime stories for many years, so the fact that I’m really fascinated by this story speaks highly of how well it’s produced. Even though I have no idea if Avery is guilty or not, this is a gripping program. Like.
  2. Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber. Nadia doesn’t look like a Lutheran pastor. She doesn’t talk like a pastor. In a word, she’s amazing. (Note: I’m not Lutheran.) I first discovered her this fall when she was a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air, my favorite podcast. Give it a listen. If you like what you hear, then you’ll enjoy her new book, Accidental Saints. Love.
  3. Birthday food and drink. I had a caramel cake, blue bubbly, and Cheetos. Tasty love.
  4. Esther Dalseno. esther cropI “met” Esther through Twitter and Instagram, and then read her debut novel, DROWN. As you may know from my previous post on this book, it’s a retelling of The Little Mermaid fairytale. Esther has a new novel poised to come out this year, and she asked me to read it and give an early review. GABRIEL AND THE SWALLOWS is pure magic. I’m so excited for readers to experience Esther’s next book! Double love.



Woman Versus Machines: Cover Reveal for MACHINATIONS


When we were going through infertility, I loved to watch big-budget movies about the unlikely hero or heroine overcoming the odds to beat the bad guys. There’s something about watching a dramatic struggle on the silver screen that gives you the message, even if subconsciously, that if these people can hold on to hope through their quest to save the planet, surely you can keep the faith through your journey to becoming parents. I think that may be one reason I love almost any book or movie that has hope as a central theme, whether it be women’s fiction, literary, romance, sci fi, speculative, or any other genre.

And I think that’s one of the many reasons I love MACHINATIONS, the debut novel from my critique partner, Hayley Stone. I was thrilled to read an early version of her manuscript. She’s such a talented writer! I loved getting to cheer for her as she revised it, pitched it, snagged an agent, and then secured a publishing deal with Hydra/Random House. (Cue the confetti!) Incidentally, Hayley did the same thing for me, reading and critiquing INCONCEIVABLE when it was in its early stages, and then being my cheerleader and sounding board as it moved through the process to publication.

So, it’s my absolute pleasure to unveil the cover of Hayley’s debut novel, MACHINATIONS.

Machinations Final CoverLet’s pause a moment and appreciate the fact that Hayley’s written a compelling sci fi novel that has a young woman at its center (and on its cover), a woman who takes on rogue computers like a boss. The first time I read this book, it reminded me of The Matrix Trilogy, one of my favorite series of sci fi films. But rest assured that MACHINATIONS is its own, fresh, enthralling story about humans battling machines. Finally, for readers like me who like a side of meaningful romance with their high stakes action sequences, this novel delivers on that point as well.

Here’s the official synopsis:

This action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.

Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

Intrigued? I thought you might be. MACHINATIONS arrives June 14th, but you can pre-order the e-book now through Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. And don’t forget to add it on Goodreads.

Hayley StoneHayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as a graphic designer, falls in love with videogame characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento.

Top image via Flickr by Wonderlane

Why Books and Movies about Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Matter

movie theatre

Keep tryingMany of us who have experienced infertility get irritated by some of the story lines we see in movies and books. At their worst, they perpetuate misconceptions and stereotypes such as the idea that most women who experience infertility are over age 35, or that if you adopt, you’ll forget about trying to conceive and–BOOM!–you’ll get pregnant. So here’s the rub: these films and books are supporting the idea that the infertile couple is to blame (you delayed childbearing to focus on your career!) and infertility is not a medical condition, it’s simply a matter of being in the wrong state of mind (you’re too stressed!).

Pop Culture Influences Perception

Television programs, movies, and novels influence the public’s perception of a wide range of issues. The influence of media, particularly broadcast media, is well documented. So, if we, the men and women who are experiencing infertility, want to see changes in how the public views infertility, then we need to support filmmakers, television show producers, and authors who are willing to create content that presents this issue in realistic ways, even in the context of a fictionalized story.

Significant Implications for Real People

Maybe you think this is all too “big picture” to matter. But it does matter. It matters a great deal. Shifting public opinion is the first step toward changing public policies related to infertility. When people who aren’t living with infertility as a part of their daily lives accept that this is a medical condition, they’re more compassionate toward those suffering through it. Compassion is important in gaining broader support for mandating insurance coverage of fertility treatments. According to RESOLVE, the national infertility advocacy organization, only 15 states require insurance companies to offer fertility coverage. And some of those states have loopholes, watering down the mandate. I know firsthand the burden of paying for treatments with little or no help from the insurance company. It only adds more heartache to an emotional situation.

In writing INCONCEIVABLE!, I want to give an in-depth, accurate look at what it’s like for a young couple to be in the throes of infertility. It’s my goal to get people talking about adoption, surrogacy, and other alternatives to birthing children because pregnancy is not the only happy ending option for an infertile couple. Miscarriage is also addressed in my novel, and we need to see more support and resources available to couples (women AND men) who are grieving after pregnancy loss. Quite simply, this is the most compelling case I can make for purchasing INCONCEIVABLE.

Let me know if you think there needs to be more movies and novels that address infertility in ways that reflect real life.

Can’t Go Back Fantasy Cast with Author Marie Meyer


Marie Meyer‘s sequel to ACROSS THE DISTANCE is out today! CAN’T GO BACK is available from all your favorite retailers like Amazon, Amazon UK, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, and Google Play.

To celebrate the release of her new book, I asked her to put together her fantasy cast for CAN’T GO BACK. Warning: beautiful people, a man bun, and a Hemsworth brother ahead!


Griffin1Marie: Leading man, Griffin Daniels, would be played by British model, Jacey Elthalion. Griffin is the lead singer and bassist for the up and coming band, Mine Shaft. To see Griffin’s gorgeous ink displayed on Jacey’s body would be a dream come true! And I may need to be resuscitated afterward!

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Marie: The beautiful and talented Amanda Seyfried would play Griffin’s leading lady/best friend/lover, Jillian Lawson. It’s fun to image how gorgeous Amanda would look sporting Jillian’s rainbow colored hair.

Tegan: I’ve enjoyed Amanda’s acting ever since I first saw her on HBO’s Big Love!

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ErinMarie: Erin is Griffin’s girlfriend at the beginning of the story. She’s a sweet, Southern volleyball player/college student. I’d like to see her played by Tasmin Egerton.

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Marie: Thorin “Thor” Kline is Griffin’s best friend, roommate, band mate, and Mine Shaft’s guitarist. He would be played by the swoon worthy Liam Hemsworth. Keep the scruffy beard, give him a buzz cut, and he’d be the perfect, brooding Thor. (Ha! I just noticed that his brother actually played Thor! Funny!)

Tegan: There’s a photo of Liam Hemsworth I used on my secret Pinterest board as inspiration when I was writing the character of Prince John in INCONCEIVABLE. Clearly, Liam makes the rounds!

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Marie: Adam Long is Griffin’s friend and band mate, and Mine Shaft’s drummer. Colton Haynes is my choice to play hotheaded Adam.

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man bun

Marie: Meet Pauly, another of Griffin’s friends and band mates. Pauly is the keyboardist for Mine Shaft. I envision Pauly being brought to life by Brock O’Hurn. He’s the hottie that pops up on Pinterest, wearing the to-die-for man bun. Pauly is a big, burly, loveable dude who loves his man bun, too!

Tegan: My hubs has a beard… I’m now thinking that I need to request he work on acquiring a man bun to complement it!

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Marie: Stephanie “Nee” Hamilton is a tatted, pierced redheaded spitfire. She’s a badass rocker who joins Mine Shaft for a few months. She also has the super power of keeping the guys in line! She’d be played by singer/rapper Kreayshawn.

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Marie: Ren Daniels, Griffin’s sister, is a fun-loving girl who loves to give Griff a hard time—as all older sisters should to their little brothers! Rachel McAdams is one of my favorite actresses, and I think she’d make the perfect Ren.

Tegan: She’s so adorbs!

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Tegan: Which characters were the most difficult to cast and why?

Marie: My hero, Griffin, was the hardest to cast. Taking on the painstaking task of looking at hundreds of smoldering hot guys, I could never find one person who embodied Griffin totally. One guy’s hair would be perfect, and another guy’s body, the eyes of another, and so on. You see the conundrum. To me, no real person can live up to the character I created. But, when I stumbled upon Jacey Ethalion, I could absolutely see him as Griffin.

Tegan: You’ve given us a peek at your amazing fantasy cast. Do you have any preferences for who you’d want working behind the scenes to bring your book to the big screen?

Marie: Cinematographer- John Mathieson. He was the cinematographer on some of my favorite movies (Phantom of the Opera and X-Men: First Class). He’s also credited with the new movie, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. that I’m dying to see!

Director- Elizabeth Banks. I love Elizabeth Banks as an actress, she is so versatile—able to play such a wide array of characters. But, I was enamored with her directorial debut, helming Pitch Perfect 2. I’m such a huge fan of the first Pitch Perfect that I had reservations about the second, but Ms. Banks did a fantastic job!  It would be an honor to have her direct my fantasy movie adaptation of CAN’T GO

Score Composer- John Williams. The score to Jurassic Park is my absolute favorite movie score of all time. Sometimes, I even play it to stir my muse as I’m writing. It’s sweeping, moving, and gorgeous. I’m sure Mr. Williams would capture all the right emotions in the score for CAN’T GO BACK!

Tegan: Tell us what you’d wear to walk the red carpet at the premiere of CAN’T GO BACK.

sandra dressMarie: I’d wear a floor-length, off the shoulder, navy blue Alexander McQueen design. It’s fitting that Sandra Bullock wore this dress to the Oscar’s too, I have been told many times that I look like her.

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Tegan: What would be the best part about seeing your book adapted for the big screen?

Marie: The best part of seeing CAN’T GO BACK adapted for the big screen would be seeing my characters come to life. Right now, they live in my head (and the heads of my readers), but to hear them speak, see them interact with one another; for the actors to breathe life into them, that would be so incredibly magical!

And it would be really cool to hear some of the lines and passages I wrote in the booming surround sound of a theater! Oh, and to hear Griffin sing… my heart would totally stop beating!

Thank you so much, Tegan! This was a lot of fun! Maybe one day, I’ll get to live this dream!

Marie MeyerMarie Meyer was a Language Arts teacher for fourteen years. She spends her days in the classroom and her nights writing heartfelt new adult romances that will leave readers clamoring for more. She is a member of RWA and the St. Louis Writers Guild. Marie’s short fiction won honorable mentions from the St. Louis Writers Guild in 2010 and 2011. She is a proud mommy and enjoys helping her oldest daughter train for the Special Olympics, making up silly stories with her youngest daughter, and binging on weeks of DVR’d television shows with her husband.

Talking about Miscarriage: Filmmaker Tackles Taboo Topic

Ann HeadshotAnn Zamudio is the Producer and Director of Don’t Talk About the Baby, a documentary that explores the taboos, pain, and trauma of miscarriage. Finanical support for this project comes, in part, from WIFV, but there’s also a Kickstarter campaign underway. The crew consists of several award-winning filmmakers, including a Sundance award-winning director who is serving as an adviser.

Ann graciously answered questions about her film, the sensitive subject matter it covers, and the personal reasons that make this project a labor of love.

Tegan: What makes you so passionate about breaking the taboo surrounding miscarriage?

Ann: There is a specific moment that I remember with remarkable clarity when I lost my first pregnancy. It had been about a week since my D&C and I was having lunch with an old co-worker. She asked how I was dealing with the morning sickness, and I told her quietly that I’d actually had a miscarriage.

She gave me a big hug and said, “Oh Ann, I’m sorry honey. I lost my first one, too, but I had my three kids later.” We continued with our lunch, but in that moment I was stunned.

Just two weeks earlier, she’d beamed and congratulated me when I announced my pregnancy so early. We’d talked about baby names and laughed about how much I would eat. Why was I just hearing about this now?

Why did I feel like I’d just been initiated into a secret club? It took us a year of trying very hard to get pregnant with our second baby, and during that time you could say I was obsessed with trying to conceive. Each month I got angrier and more depressed over my complete lack of control over the whole situation. I became very active in online support groups and vocal in my real life.

I decided that my loss wouldn’t be a secret.

What happened surprised me. When I would share my story with people, they’d break down into whispers and share theirs with me. I saw there was a very real and powerful need for people to tell their stories, even if their loss had happened years ago, and even if it hadn’t happened to them directly.

Brothers and husbands and sisters and friends would share the losses of their loved ones with me, and try to understand what that person was going through. There was such a strong desire to understand the idea of pregnancy loss, and learn to relate to their loved ones in a more honest and compassionate way.

I realized that education and telling stories is the only way that we’re going to eradicate this terrible taboo that surrounds pregnancy loss. Too many women are ashamed when they lose a baby. Too many men don’t feel permitted to grieve openly.

As a filmmaker, I decided that I had to do something about this. I had to try to give a voice to all these stories that need to be told.

This project is how I’ve turned my experience into something good. My dedication to raising pregnancy loss awareness is how I choose to honor my first child.

Tegan: I applaud you for turning your pain into something that will surely help so many people, and for honoring your first child in this way. As far as the topic itself, why do you think it’s taboo?

Ann: There are so many reasons, and we want to explore all of them with this film!

The most prominent reason is a level of discomfort when talking about grief and unpleasant things. A lot of people simply don’t know what to say when someone says that they’ve lost a pregnancy.

Some people say truly awful things while intending to be helpful, and then some people say nothing at all. Sometimes it seems like you can’t win, so I think a lot of people choose to just ignore the situation altogether. That’s one place that I think education will really shed some needed light.

Our project is going to help people learn what to say and when to say it, and how they can support the people in their lives when they’re going through a loss.

Another reason that I think can’t be ignored is our culture’s discomfort with sex. It wasn’t too long ago that it wasn’t seemly to even announce a pregnancy, which was the physical manifestation of the big dirty “S” word. I think it would be unreasonable to assume those attitudes haven’t spilled over into pregnancy loss.

Could it also be that this has just been the way it’s been done for generations and generations? Maybe. Our mothers and grandmothers didn’t view pregnancy loss the same way that we do now that infant mortality rates have so steeply declined.

Could it be a lack of support in our communities that discourages women to talk about it? Probably. Why would a woman feel empowered to tell her story and talk about her loss if the people around her are telling her to be quiet?

There are so many reasons that this issue has become a taboo, so many years of silence that contribute to this problem. I believe that it’s only by exploring them all that we’ll be able to move forward.

DTAB still1Tegan: You’ve already spoken to a lot of women who have had miscarriages. When I experienced my pregnancy loss, one of the toughest parts was having no “official” way to recognize the loss. There are no funerals, no religious ceremonies. I’m curious how the women you’ve interviewed marked or recognized the loss?

Ann: That’s a really interesting and important part of a pregnancy loss—the way you choose to recognize the loss. One of the therapists that I’ve spoken with, and whom we plan to interview for the film, spoke to me about the importance of ritual in our lives and how that extends to loss.

So many parts of our lives are dictated by ritual, and yet there isn’t usually a ceremony or ritual available to a family when they lose a pregnancy. This is often a critical part of emotionally healing after a loss, and it’s something I think more people should be aware of and feel entitled to do.

One woman told us about her depression after two consecutive miscarriages, and what a cathartic experience it was to hold a funeral service for them at her church. She felt that it gave her a large measure of closure.

Another woman wrote into our website to share a peach tree that she and her husband planted after their loss. They make it a point to visit that tree with their children and keep their baby’s memory alive.

Many women choose to wear a charm or piece of jewelry to remember their baby. Some choose to plant a tree or a flower bed. Some choose to write and express themselves artistically.

I think the really important takeaway here is that rituals are very important and shouldn’t be skipped or ignored. Each family should take the time to consider how they’d like to memorialize their baby and observe whatever rituals they think are appropriate for them to find a measure of closure.

Tegan: In what ways do medical professionals who interact with a woman during and immediately after a miscarriage impact the woman’s experience?

Ann: I’ve found that the attitude of medical professionals can have a profound and lasting impact on a woman who loses a pregnancy.

My memories are still quite clear of the doctors and specialists who helped me during my loss. The looks of warmth and compassion from my OB, the nurse who held my hand during my ultrasound, the technician who made me feel guilty for bleeding on the floor, and the anesthesiologist who kept saying the word “miscarriage” to me, even when she saw it was upsetting me.

All of these things are forever linked to my memories of that pregnancy. What’s the quote, people won’t remember what you say to them, but they’ll remember how you made them feel? Women remember when you make them feel ashamed or small or silly or unimportant. They remember when you treat their loss like an inconvenience before a coffee break.

I hope that this documentary will serve as an educational tool for the medical professionals in this field, and help to encourage compassion. There are many, many good and kind doctors who help families going through loss every day. But there are also many who need to improve their bedside manner, and start treating pregnancy loss like a traditional loss in the family.

Tegan: Does your film explore the pain men experience when their partner has a miscarriage?

Ann: Absolutely! I am passionate about encouraging men to add their voices to the project, and hope to feature many male voices in the film. I think the male perspective is drastically underrepresented in talks about pregnancy loss, and that needs to change.

Our culture has a big problem with how we raise our boys, and pressuring them to subdue their emotions. This absolutely affects how we view men in the pregnancy loss realm. The man typically feels like he needs to be strong for his partner, and deal with anything he might be feeling on his own.

Men typically aren’t asked how they’re doing after a loss, and it’s assumed that they haven’t been affected. It’s also a very common complaint from women who say they don’t think their husband cares about the baby they lost. They feel disconnected, and like they’re grieving alone.

It’s a very real problem, and it’s one that’s only going to be addressed by including men in the conversation and giving them permission to grieve.

DTAB still2Tegan: You’re halfway into your Kickstarter campaign. How will you use the funds you raise?

Ann: We’ve set our goal at $30,000 because that’s what we need to start shooting. We have several interviews with doctors, scholars and authors confirmed and this is the amount we need to travel to film those interviews. We’ve also got several of the family interviews arranged and we’re anxious to get started recording and sharing those stories.

The funds will go towards rental and purchase of equipment, travel, hiring crew and outreach efforts.

Missy: After the documentary is released, what do you hope it accomplishes?

Ann: I hope that this film will serve as a comfort to men and women suffering a loss and let them know that they’re not alone. It should let them know that what happened to them isn’t their fault, and what they’re feeling is felt by many others. A respite from isolation in the midst of grief can be a very powerful thing.

I also hope that this film is something a woman can send to her friends or family and say, “Watch this, and learn what it’s like to go through this.” I want it to be a tool for fostering empathy and building supportive networks in communities.

DTAB still3Most importantly, I want people to walk away from this project feeling empowered to tell their stories freely and openly The only way we’re going to normalize loss and take the taboo away is by talking about it, and letting people know that it’s not rare. It happens to more people than we think, and it affects people we love.

My hope for this documentary is that it starts conversations, and changes how we talk about loss.

I want to thank Ann for sharing her passion for this topic and telling us about this film. In the spirit of encouraging people to share their stories of pregnancy loss, feel free to leave your story in the comment section. Sharing is a part of the journey toward healing.