I so totally did this.
It’s been an interesting, slightly emotional week for me around the Internets. I wrote a piece for Redbook about Michelle Duggar’s recent miscarriage of her 20th baby and while the Redbook/Shine readers didn’t have much to say about it, my post about it for The Huffington Post got a little nuts. I’m constantly amazed at both the beauty and the ugly that comes out in Internet comment forums. But I stand by it and I hope that people will find it helpful. I’ve included the post here with links to the various comments below. (Be warned: don’t read any of the comments on the other sites if this is at all a sensitive issue for you. That’s why I’m republishing it here – so you can get the info and still feel safe to share your story if you wish.) There’s a lot of stuff here today, feel free to skim until something catches your interest.
Fitness (non-controversial) stuff first:
5 Ways to Find a Great Running Route Anywhere. If you’ve ever been on vacation and wanted to find a run that wouldn’t get you run over by taxis nor axe-murdered on some deserted country road then you’ll love this list.
I Tried It: Using a Cleanse for Weight Loss. Check out Gym Buddy Jeni’s story on Shape.com about using the Shakeology 3-day cleanse!
ADHD or Overachiever: Women and the Epidemic of Adderall Abuse. After my post here on Adderall being used to fuel our superwoman complex, I got to interview a national expert (and recovered Adderall addict) Brad Lamm on the topic. Most interesting part for me was this quote from him: “Every generation has an amphetamine crisis. And it is driven by women.” I’m not sure I agree with that but it has made for a lot of interesting conversations in my head this week.
10 New Fat Blasting Tabata Workouts to Try. Pretty much covered this in my separate post here but wanted to add Thor Falk’s advice from the comment section. The gist is that whatever you choose to do, you need to be able to do it at a cardio intensity capable of 170% of your VO2 max (which is to say, really freaking hard). He observed that most people won’t get that intensity from squatting and handstand push-ups and he makes a great point. If you do ATG (a$$ to the ground) squats like I demo’d and added a jump at the top I think you could really drive your heart rate up but I think he’s right about the handstand push-ups. They’re tough but they’re not cardio. In his words: “The key for cardio endurance training is to use your big muscle groups so that your cardio vascular system becomes the binding constraint” and not muscle failure. He also worried that the box jumps were an injury waiting to happen and while I’ve never had any issues with falling or tripping doing them I can see how it could happen. Sooo….8.5 new Tabata moves to try? I swear I have the smartest readers ever!
Now parenting stuff.
Murphy’s 8 Laws of Parenting. I thought this one was hilarious. I am apparently the only one.
You’ve heard about the controversy surrounding TLC’s show “All-American Muslims”? I covered it for Redbook but Gym Buddy Krista, who is Muslim, had a fascinating response I wanted to include here: “The whole controversy started with that fringe Christian group FFA in Florid. It is in their best interest to continue to portray the fastest growing religion in America, and the world, as scary and abnormal. The “powers that be”, however, have a different motivation. I believe theirs is control. A society in fear is a controllable society. It behooves them to keep the public on edge, and right now, Muslims are to vice of choice. It hasn’t always been the Muslims and it likely won’t always be. But for now, it is what it is.”
‘Tis the Season for Spoiled Kids (and my surprising tip to undo the damage). Hint: it involves simultaneous puking and diarrhea. What? I just write what I know…
MizFit posted an interesting question on her Facebook asking her readers the proper protocol for attending elementary school concerts – specifically, is it okay to leave after your child’s part is done? I thought that made for an interesting Great Mom Debate and took the discussion over to Shine which was going great until their new site maintenance erased all the comments (whaaa?).
What Not To Say To a Woman Who’s Had a Miscarriage
Earlier today Michelle Duggar had to make the difficult announcement that she had miscarried their 20th baby. No matter how you feel about the number of kids she has, having to announce your loss to your kids, your family and the entire country has to be immensely difficult. While I haven’t had 20 kids – not even close! – I have had a couple of miscarriages and a stillbirth. I don’t intend to speak for all women who have suffered a prenatal loss but in the midst of all the beautiful, supportive things people said to me, there were a few things that really bothered me. And the worst part was that the speaker usually meant them in a kind way. So in the effort to save another mom a little pain, here are my 10 things not to say to a woman who has just miscarried a baby:
1. “It’s God’s will.” I’m religious but even I found this a bit pretentious. Who are you to know what God’s will is? And if the woman is not religious this is even more unhelpful.
2. “It probably had genetic problems, you should feel lucky it didn’t survive.” Not all of us consider a child who is disabled to be a curse. And even so, especially with early miscarriages the cause is often unknown. Speculating about why it happened doesn’t help.
3. “I told you you shouldn’t have kept running/ate sushi/uncrossed your legs on the bus!” Anything that blames the mother is cruel. And anything that starts with “I told you so” is rude.
4. “You must be devastated!” This is a tricky one. Depending on many factors surrounding the pregnancy a woman may or may not feel sad about the miscarriage. For some women, like Michelle Duggar, the pain is acute but I’ve known plenty others who felt no real attachment to the baby that early on and were made to feel guilty that they weren’t sad. A better approach is to ask “How are you feeling about this?” and then listen.
5. “Let me know if I can help.” This is sweet but it is too vague. Most likely she won’t let you know because it will feel like an imposition. Suggest something you would feel comfortable doing like “May I bring you dinner tomorrow night?” or “Could I take you out to Starbucks for a little break?”
6. “You should be over this by now.” The loss of any child can potentially be devastating for years to come. There is no set time frame for grieving. If you feel like she is “stuck” in the process or has a mental illness then there are kinder ways to help her get help.
7. “Well it’s not like you were that far along…” When you lose a baby, you lose all the hopes and dreams you had for that child, no matter how far along you are. I’ve lost a baby in each trimester and each one was devastating to me in its own right. In addition to the mental pain, there can be physical complications as well. I ended up with a perforated uterus and the worst infection of my life after losing a baby that most people didn’t even know I was carrying.
8. “You can always have more kids.” This may be true but there are so many factors in fertility, unless you are her OBGYN then you don’t know enough to say this. And even if it is the case, for many women one baby does not replace another.
9. “Time heals all wounds.” Eventually perhaps. But saying this to someone at the height of their grief minimizes all the struggles they are having right now, in this time.
10. “You shouldn’t have a funeral/name the baby/keep talking about it.” Grieving is such an individual process. For me, it helped to name all my babies – alive and dead. Some families plant a tree, hold a candle ceremony, donate to a charity or even hold a full funeral, like the Duggars said they will be doing. Whatever helps them grieve and heal is appropriate. If it makes you uncomfortable you don’t need to participate.
(Side note: TMZ has posted pictures of the deceased 19-weeks-gestated baby. I totally applaud the Duggars for taking pics. I kinda want to punch TMZ for using them in such a sensationlistic manner.)
Has anyone ever said anything really awful to you in the midst of a personal tragedy? What have you found most helpful? Least? What most affected you this week on the Internet?