In the past 24 hours, a large publication called xojane published my article on what it was like for me to have a miscarriage while we were in Pensacola. When I approached my husband about pitching to xojane about our experience and everything I personally went through, he was very supportive and told me to go for it. We realized that people would come out of the woodwork to be critical of the situation, but knowing that and seeing how they've done it to other people in the past never really prepare you for when it's you. A lot of newer writers have been asking how I've been handling it because this is the first time I've been published on this scale, and if I'll pitch again to a large publication. (And yes, I will continue pitching!) Here's how I've been dealing:
First and foremost, I realized that I don't owe anyone anything. I did choose to explain my viewpoint and some more key details in the comments, but if anyone got rude or made me feel uncomfortable, I walked away. I do not have time in my life for negativity or personal attacks. I have no problem explaining how I feel or what happened to me or even my medical conditions to someone with a genuine interest, but I will not waste time on someone who does not. Thankfully, SO many people have reached out to me in the comments, my email, and even Facebook to share their support and encouragement, and for that I am so thankful - I couldn't have stayed so cool without all of you!
Second, I acknowledge these people commenting are human. We probably even have things in common. Even those few people that made troll-type comments are human! Just keeping that in my mind made everything so much easier to handle. Some of these people didn't realize their comments would be hurtful, and those that did comment with the intent to hurt my feelings probably just need a little more love in their lives, so I either tried to be as kind as possible or didn't engage at all.
Thirdly, a lot of people don't understand the way that Tricare and military healthcare works in general. At the time this happened, the military hospital we had to use with our Tricare Prime insurance was not making many referrals to civilian facilities at all - even at times when they couldn't accommodate your needs. They were doing this so that more patients would utilize Tricare Standard, and to do that, you had to fill out paperwork, which isn't exactly easy to do during the holidays with limited hospital hours. A lot of people don't understand how abysmal care for the military is, and the worst part is that only spouses and children can utilize the Tricare Standard option. I'm lucky enough that I can go and see whatever doctors I want now, but my husband is still stuck in the awful pool of subpar healthcare. Some of the stories out there are so bad that they don't even seem real and others won't believe them unless they were a witness to them! My own husband had to fight for an MRI on his shoulder, and it turns out he tore his labrum and needed surgery! He would still be in pain and his condition possibly even worse if he had not stood up for himself!
Finally, there was a lot to gain by me speaking out. I received closure for myself, and I helped other women feel not so alone. I was able to link to some resources in my article that I hope will bring comfort to other women. But most importantly, it keeps the conversation about subpar maternity care and subpar military healthcare going. Changes need to happen in our country - we shouldn't be at the bottom of the list in maternal deaths and mishaps in military facilities shouldn't be so high! Through my experiences, I was able to lobby for changes at our last duty station so that hopefully, referrals and testing will be easier to come by for all. We need to keep talking about our experiences and reach out to our congressmen and senators to make the appropriate changes! We need the general public to know that our "free" healthcare comes at a dangerous cost!