There is No Place In The Industry For Miscarriage

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I got in the car after leaving the ER. My husband strapped in our 2 year old behind me in the minivan (which I lovingly call the Millennium Falcon). I got out my phone and began texting the many people in our life that I was no longer pregnant and that Ryan and I are doing fine and everyone else is healthy. I called my Mom, you can’t text your Mom that sort of thing.

I remember it vividly. I miscarried during my second pregnancy about a few months ago. In comparison to many, I had a gentle miscarriage. Very painful and longer than I had imagined, but I am able to see the good in it all now. Though the individual people were nice, the hospital did nothing but treat me poorly and give me wrong information. Luckily, I had a midwife to call. My midwife – from my first birth – Elizabeth Bauchner from Graceful Birthing (a beautiful birthing center in Silverlake), walked me through the rest of the miscarriage process (it takes days) and helped me through everything I needed in order to heal. This wasn’t my baby to be, this is natural, healthy, and very common. And Ryan and I handled it together.

Chee Chee The Monkey,” Oil on Canvas, by @JennicaRenee – Hanging in the nursery

Chee Chee The Monkey,” Oil on Canvas, by @JennicaRenee – Hanging in the nursery

A few days later I had an audition, I wore all black. How do I hide my still pregnancy hormone filled body? I plump up when I get pregnant, like crazy plump- I’m not the pretty model preggo type. I looked very pregnant almost instantly. I had a taped audition a few days after that. I wore all black. I booked a role and had a wardrobe fitting on a studio lot and had to change clothing in the room with the wardrobe designer and her partner, I would normally feel fine but was uncomfortable being without my clothes in front of them this time- When asked, I couldn’t give her an accurate clothing size. I explained that I have no idea what size I am today, I wear a lot of yoga pants these days. I guess I wear an 8-10 in pants and a size 4-6 up top now? I had to explain that I was recently pregnant and still in flux, getting smaller everyday, but not by much. I didn’t want to tell anyone in this work environment, but I needed to explain why I didn’t know anything. The wardrobe ladies gave their sincere condolences and were very forgiving and sweet with me the rest of the time we were trying on clothes. Things like this don’t come up in other jobs.

@JennicaRenee on the set of #ParkersAnchor last looks before filming – PC: Autumn McCoy

@JennicaRenee on the set of #ParkersAnchor last looks before filming – PC: Autumn McCoy

I called my Agents and told them to take me off the pregnant list. I told a few other colleagues too. I am concerned about booking the work I will need to keep up my insurance as I am not in ‘working shape’ and having to wait another cycle (or 2) in order to try and get pregnant again means I’ll have been without work for an entire year with a newborn and still not be in ‘working shape’ to keep qualifying for health insurance- we’ll figure it out, but I shouldn’t have to worry about this. After a miscarriage, I shouldn’t be worried that I’m too ‘thick’ to book acting work and I shouldn’t feel like I want to get back into shape right away. I don’t want to jog every morning and eat like a paleo obsessed bird. I want a glass of wine midday & a freaking piece of toast and then take a nap with my toddler. I want to curl up and cry sometimes, just because. I want to give into my still messed up hormonal swings while staying positive and healthy enough to heal, but none of that will really get me back into shape. At least not quickly.

Every single person I texted that night in March on the way home from the hospital had immediately texted back that they themselves or their loved one had also had a miscarriage. They are not only very common and normal, but I am lucky enough to live in a time where people can talk about how they have had multiple miscarriages and there is no shame. This is a lovely time in history, the age of technology and information has given us a community to engage in such discussion as well as start chipping away at the stigma of keeping quiet in ‘mixed company.’ The generation before me had told me over and over to keep female matters to female company only. I disagree about what is considered ‘female matters.’ I am glad my husband and I can talk openly and our male friends were very informed and amazingly supportive- not in a scared nervous way, they had genuinely been touched by miscarriage and knew what it meant all around. The men and women were one in the same in this progressive feminist metropolis. I have been very supported and loved through this experience.

(@JennicaRenee Instagram

@JennicaRenee Instagram

But I am still nervous about my career. I am still nervous that as a producer I do not represent myself well, nor do I want to do much work at the moment anyway. As an actor, I am embarrassed by my body knowing that I do not fit in the ‘fit/thin’ actor or ‘pregnant’ or ‘just had a baby’ place… I’m somewhere in between and feel somewhere in between. These are not the things to be thinking about. Am I that shallow or paranoid? Am I doing this to myself? No, I am healing. It takes time. I am aware that there still isn’t a place in the industry for procreating women and I am in the cracks of that category at the moment.

@JennicaRenee in bathtub with 2 year old son. Instagram

@JennicaRenee in bathtub with 2 year old son. Instagram

I am getting better through art. I am an artist all around. I am writing, I am creating, I am thinking of ways to bleed this experience into my writing and create MEN and WOMEN characters that are touched by this and live on without shame, deep depression, or making it the point of the piece. I am inspired to put this up on the screen where it can be as mainstream and regular as people giving birth or dying in film. For more than 50% of the population (women), the Mayo Clinic’s website says that 10-20% of all ‘known pregnancies result in miscarriage- the number is even higher due because many happen before the woman is able to know she is pregnant. That means it is very very common. I am inspired to make sure the generation after me knows that you can announce your pregnancy anytime, you don’t have to ‘wait a significant amount of time’ because every time you miscarry- and you or someone you know will- you will have many people at your side and you will not be alone. It is ok if people in your life know you are pregnant right away, it is not a burden to carry your truth with them- no matter what that truth is. Let people celebrate with you and let them mourn with you. I was not alone, but I am super activist-y and progressive in my pursuit of feminine normalcy. I told my closest friends the week I found out. As should you, if you want. I loved telling people. And I was healed through the process of telling people I am no longer pregnant. And this is normal. I am normal. And that is a good thing.

MITB 1-6

 

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Jennica Schwartzman

About Jennica Schwartzman

Jennica Schwartzman is an actress/writer/producer that loves tackling a project from idea to distribution. She works alongside her husband and business partner, Ryan Schwartzman, also known for his legendary movie-night cuddles. Ryan & Jennica have been invited to speak on “Micro-Budget Filmmaking” for the International Family Film Festival road scholars program (several years running) and at Offshoot Film Festival (2014), they have been invited to speak on industry panels, and Jennica has been published in the Producer’s Guild Magazine “Produced By.” The Schwartzmans work on passion projects in their small office in Hollywood. They have collected TOP awards from Big Bear Lake Int’l Film Fest, Eureka Springs Indie Fest, Film Fest Twain Harte, Worldfest Houston, Offshoot Film Festival, The Int’l Family Film Fest, & the highest honor from The Dove Foundation. Ryan & Jennica have a toddler, who doesn’t quite understand what they do but seems very supportive. @JennicaRenee @PurposePictures