In case you missed it, Representative Wendy Ullman (D-PA) has recently made the following statement in regards to early miscarriage: “I think we all understand the concept of the loss of a fetus, but we’re also talking about a woman who comes into a facility and is having cramps and – not to be, not to be concrete – an early miscarriage is just some mess on a napkin.”
An Open Letter to Representative Wendy Ullman
I am beyond disturbed and utterly disgraced by your recent remarks where you claimed that “an early miscarriage is just some mess on a napkin.” You attempted to justify your words ahead of time by saying “not to be, not to be concrete” in your attempts to describe your cold, heartless, misrepresented idea of what a miscarriage is like.
Have you had a miscarriage, Representative? Have you loved a baby that prematurely left your womb? Have you held the hand of a woman simultaneously screaming in the agony of her loss and in the physiological pain it takes to discharge an early pregnancy? Have you been in those rooms or do you sit in your lofty position, pushing your opinion about a group of women onto all women?
I hope that you have never had the unfortunate opportunity of being the woman to look down between her legs, only seeing her young fetus. The baby she loved from the moment the stick read “Pregnant.” Have you had to look at that once-living child that lay there beside you, and had the audacity to call them “just some mess on a napkin?”
What you call just some mess was somebody’s legacy. It is their hopes and dreams. It is a longing desire to fill the rooms of their home. It is a Pinterested nursery that now will sit barren like their womb.
To you it is a mess.
To someone else it is their son or daughter.
It is not just some mess. It is a loss.
What you see as just some mess on a napkin, many will grieve for a lifetime.
What you see as just some mess on a napkin, some will see the child that they have been working years to conceive.
What you see as just some mess on napkin may be the source of someone’s anxiety and depression for years to come.
What you see as just some mess on a napkin has extreme meaning for someone else.
What you call just some mess on a napkin is a sloppy attempt to stand up for the women who want a choice while disgracing the women who never got chance.
We all have moments in our life where we regret what we have said. I hope you hold this comment with the deepest of regret and will do yourself a favor and educate yourself. I am not asking you to educate yourself in the medical experience of miscarriage but on the experiences of the women who have to go through such a traumatic experience.
My own reproductive story has four, what you would call, messy napkins in it. My husband and I have grieved the loss of our four children. I have seen the products of conception. I have felt them leak out of me and felt my body surge as it prematurely labored. I have seen our four babies lay heartbeat-less on an ultrasound screen where weeks prior their heartbeat was strong and full of life.
I have been forced to create meaning around these losses and I have done so by honoring all of the babies who have been lost. Representative, I hope that you would find dignity in the stories of women and that you would listen to the stories of the children that they longed to have. I hope that you would wrestle with your own heart in the coldness of the sentiment and find it in you to honor their stories as well. It is women and their choices you want to honor, but what about the once hopeful women on both sides of the party line that only experienced the sting of death.
I grieve for your own heart and wish that you would look into pregnancy loss as the traumatic and devastating experience that it is. On behalf of the women of the United States as well as the state you are trying to represent, I hope that you would find it in you to show your sisters a sliver of human dignity and some level of compassion and honor the sisterhood of these grieving women.
I hope that nobody ever minimizes your life and its impact in this world as you are minimizing the life of these deceased children. Children who have greatly impacted so many who wanted them, hoped for them, longed for them and still grieve over them.
You, who are fighting for the rights of a group of women, are missing the fact the women with “just some mess on a napkin” are women that have had no choice over whether or not they got to carry their baby to term. Just because you want women to have a choice, doesn’t mean you get to disgrace the babies who didn’t have one, and you don’t get to insult the choice of the women who honor the life of their baby.
Cathie Quillet, LMFT
Founder of The Missing Peace Project
Infertility and Pregnancy Loss Therapist
Mom to Four Miscarried Babies