Elizabeth (greyautumnrain) wrote,

Too Smart For NPR

On Monday the 7th I got a call from my doula. The local NPR station was planning to do a piece about miscarriage and she wanted to know if it was OK if she gave the producer my contact information. I said yes.

The next day the producer called me. We had a conversation, and she was really trying to be nice and do her job, but it was a bit frustrating. She kept wanting to talk about how I felt, and of course I was trying to tell her about what it meant that I saw a fetal heartbeat of only 47 beats per minute, which was central to how I felt about the whole thing and how much it sucked that I was literally watching my baby die on the ultrasound that day, but whenever I brought up anything vaguely technical I just lost the producer.

The producer moved on to the subsequent pregnancy because this piece was apparently supposed to be about people who'd had a miscarriage and then gone on to have a successful pregnancy. She asked me questions about what sorts of things I did differently in the next pregnancy, "like not step on cracks." I talked about not taking over the counter medication, eating right, and not counting on a take-home baby until I had the amnio results. I was losing the producer again. Was I worried about that pregnancy? Well yes, especially since my hCG levels had been higher than I was expecting on the blood tests. "What's hCG," she asked. My automatic response was "human chorionic gonadotropin." That's where I lost her for good. She tried not to burn her bridges with me, but she asked me if I knew anyone else in the community... After asking permission I passed along the contact information of a coworker's wife who has had multiple miscarriages and who I figured would be more user-friendly for the NPR folks. She ended up going in to the studio on thursday and the piece will probably air on their mid-day show sometime this week.

The more I think about this experience the more I feel that in this case NPR was clearly being part of the problem. Yes, raising awareness about miscarriage is a good thing, but the producer's leading questions about superstitious things I might have done subsequent to my miscarriage really bugged me. It's all well and good paying lip-service to how bad gender stereotypes are, but if you continue to play into them you're not helping. Clearly they were expecting me to be all traumatized and superstitions, not rational and empowered. I think the key thing that confirms this to me is that the producer never asked if I knew what caused my miscarriage, and shouldn't that inform how I dealt with the subsequent pregnancy? I guess it's just as well she didn't, if she had problems with hCG she probably would have had real issues with "probably aneuploidy."

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