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James Van Der Beek shares powerful message about miscarriages

And why we need to use our words carefully.

James Van Der Beek shares powerful message about miscarriages

He's a father of five young children, but he's also a dad who has suffered the pain of pregnancy loss, and now, James Van Der Beek is asking the world to rethink the word "miscarriage."

"'Mis-carriage,' in an insidious way, suggests fault for the mother - as if she dropped something, or failed to 'carry,'" he wrote on Instagram. "From what I've learned, in all but the most obvious, extreme cases, it has nothing to do with anything the mother did or didn't do."

James and his wife, Kimberly, have supported each other through three painful losses and five births and postpartum periods in the last few years.

I've had almost eight and a half years of pregnancy," Kimberly wrote on Instagram.

"I've had five babies and three miscarriages in that time. I've nursed each child for over a year. Sometimes it's exhausting. Sometimes it's heaven."

Equal turns of exhaustion and heaven does seem to us the perfect way to describe those early years of motherhood, but the Van Der Beeks have started a conversation that could lead to another description mothers need: A new way to describe a pain which so often isn't described at all.

Language and loss 

The loss of pregnancy is a pain that often defies language, but one James, as a father and husband, tried his best to put into words for other parents who are suffering what he and Kimberly did.

"It will tear you open like nothing else," he wrote. "It's painful and it's heartbreaking on levels deeper than you may have ever experienced. So don't judge your grief, or try to rationalize your way around it. Let it flow in the waves in which it comes, and allow it its rightful space. And then... once you're able... try to recognize the beauty in how you put yourself back together differently than you were before."

He's right about the pain, and he may also be right about the word "miscarriage."

A new word 

Dictionaries offers several definitions of the word. The first is, of course, "the expulsion of a fetus before it is viable." Others include "failure to attain the just, right, or desired result" or "an unsuccessful outcome of something planned."

The word "failure" should not be associated with pregnancy loss because it is not a failure, not at all. Pregnancy loss is so common, it happens in up to 25% of pregnancies and it is no one's fault.

So the Van Der Beeks are right, we do need a new name for pregnancy loss. We need a word that doesn't imply blame or failure, one that isn't infused with unnecessary shame or guilt. We need a word that makes it clear that this hurts.

Right now, the best word we have is "loss," and if you're feeling that right now, don't be afraid to name the feeling.

Grief, hurt, sadness, and pain (and hope) are all words that we can associate with pregnancy loss instead of the dictionary synonyms like failure. When a pregnancy ends, it's not an "an unsuccessful outcome of something planned" or, as Google's definition suggests, a "foundering, ruin, ruination, collapse, breakdown, [or] thwarting".

It's a common personal tragedy that no one should be afraid to put into words.

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Why right now is the best time for a drivable getaway

Flexible schedules mean more vacation options. 🙌

Looking back now, last winter feels like a lifetime ago. At the time, my husband and I were eagerly planning our summer vacation just as we've done in years past. You know how the next part goes: COVID-19 came into the picture and changed our plans not only for vacationing, but for so much else in life.

In the time since then, we've gained a truly valuable new perspective on what matters—and realized we don't have to look so far to make beautiful memories with our kids. By exploring getaways within driving distance of our home, we've developed a new appreciation for the ability to "pack up the car and go."

Of course, that isn't to say that travel is the carefree adventure it once was. With COVID-19 still a very big part of the equation, we've become much more diligent about planning trips that allow for social distancing and exceed cleanliness standards. That's why we've exclusively turned to Vrbo, which helps us find nearby accommodations that meet our new criteria. Better yet?

Thanks to the money we've saved by skipping air travel and our remote-friendly work schedules, we're able to continue with the trips throughout the fall.

Here are a few more reasons we believe it's a great time for drivable getaways.

Flexible schedules allow us to mix work + play.

After months of lockdown, my family was definitely itching for a change of scenery as the summer began. By looking at drivable destinations with a fresh set of eyes—and some helpful accommodation-finding filters on Vrbo—we were able to find private houses that meet our needs. (Like comfortably fitting our family of five without anyone having to sleep on a pull-out couch!)

With space to spread out and feel like a home away from home, we quickly realized that we didn't need to limit our getaways to the weekends—instead we could take a "Flexcation," a trip that allows us to mix work and play. Thanks to the ability to work remotely and our kids' distance-learning schedule for the fall, we're planning a mid-week trip next month that will allow us to explore a new destination after clocking out for the day.

We’re embracing off-season deals.

With Labor Day no longer marking the end of our vacationing season, we're able to take advantage of nearby getaways that mark down their rates during the off season. For us in the Mountain West, that means visiting ski-town destinations when the leaves are falling rather than the snow. By saving money on that front, we're able to splurge a bit with our accommodations—so you can bet I search for houses that include a private hot tub for soaking in while enjoying the mountain views!

Vacationing is a way to give back.

If we've learned one thing this year, it's that life can change pretty quickly. That's given us a new appreciation for generous cancellation policies and transparent cleaning guidelines when booking trips. By seeing both of these things front and center in Vrbo listings along with reviews from fellow travelers, I feel confident when I hit the "book now" button.

Beyond that, I know that booking a trip through Vrbo isn't only a gift to my family. On the other side of the transaction, there are vacation home owners and property managers who appreciate the income during these uncertain times. What's more, taking getaways allows us to support our local economy—even if it's just by ordering new takeout food to enjoy from our home away from home.

While "looking ahead" doesn't feel as easy as it once did, I am confident that there will be a lot of drivable getaways in our future.

This article was sponsored by Vrbo. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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