Recently I ran the following twitter:

“I’m in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there’s a fucked-up 3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin.”

Why the uproar over this twitter?

Not only have bloggers written whole posts about the disgustingness of it, but 70 people unfollowed me, and people actually came to my blog and wrote complaints about the twitter on random, unrelated posts.

So, to all of you who think the twitter was outrageous, think about this:

Most miscarriages happen at work. Twenty-five percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Seventy-five percent of women who are of child-bearing age are working. Most miscarriages run their course over weeks. Even if you are someone who wanted the baby and are devastated by the loss, you’re not going to sit in bed for weeks. You are going to pick up your life and get back to it, which includes going back to work.

This means that there are thousands of miscarriages in progress, at work, on any given day. That we don’t acknowledge this is absurd. That it is such a common occurrence and no one thinks it’s okay to talk about is terrible for women.

Throughout history, the way women have gained control of the female experience is to talk about what is happening, and what it’s like. We see that women’s lives are more enjoyable, more full, and women are more able to summon resilience when women talk openly about their lives.

To all of you who said a miscarriage is gross: Are you unaware that the same blood you expel from a miscarriage is what you expel during menstruation? Are you aware that many people are having sex during menstruation and getting it on the sheets? Are you aware that many women actually like period sex? Wait. Here is a link I love, at, telling men that women like it so much that men need to be aware of this preference.

To all of you who are aghast that I let myself get pregnant: having sex is playing with odds. There are no 100% sure methods of birth control. I am 42 years old. The likelihood of someone my age getting pregnant even with fertility treatment is less than 5%. The likelihood that a pregnancy in someone my age ends in a miscarriage is almost 75%. This means that even if I had done nothing for birth control it would have been as effective as a 25-year-old using a condom. So everyone who is complaining that I’m an idiot for getting pregnant should go buy a calculator.

To all of you who said I should not be happy about having a miscarriage: You are the ones short on empathy. Any woman who is pregnant but wishes she weren’t would of course be grateful when she has a miscarriage. Yes, there are many women who want the baby and have a miscarriage. I was one of them. I cried for days. I get it.

But if you have ever had an abortion, which I have, you would know that a miscarriage is preferable to an abortion. Even the Pope would agree with that.

And what is up with the fact that just one, single person commented about how Wisconsin has a three-week waiting period for abortions? It is absolutely outrageous how difficult it was going to be for me to get an abortion, and it’s outrageous that no one is outraged.

Wisconsin is one of twelve states that have 24-hour waiting periods. This puts a huge burden on an overworked system. These are also the states where there are few ways to get an abortion. For example, in Wisconsin, the only place to get abortion that is covered by insurance is at a Planned Parenthood clinic. There are 3 of them in all of Wisconsin. In Chicago, you can get an abortion at Planned Parenthood with less than 24 hours notice. In Wisconsin, there is a week and a half wait to get the first meeting and a week and half wait to get the abortion.

A digression: I’m linking to Planned Parenthood so everyone can make a donation. This organization is enabling women to have the right to abortion. Planned Parenthood seems to be the only effective, community-level force against states that are attempting to legislate the choice into oblivion.

To all of you who think this has nothing to do with work:

I think what really upsets people is the topic. We are not used to talking about the female experience, and especially not in the context of work. But so what? We can start now. The female experience is part of work. What we talk about when we talk about work defines how we integrate work into our lives. If work is going to support our lives, then we need to talk about how our lives interact with work. We need to be honest about the interaction if we hope to be honest about our work.

772 replies
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  1. Ken
    Ken says:

    You should be concerned and tested for the AIDS virus and other sexually transmitted diseases. Consider visit the hospital to see people who are in their last days of life on this earth, as a result of the virus. You attempted to toss out math percentages, I challenge you to look up the odds of getting AIDS from unprotected sex. That same 5 percent will kill you. Your topic should have been “Bad Decisions Usually Lead To Bad Results.” You seem to almost be blaming others for your bad decisions and risky behavior. Would you also blame the doctors for not curing you of AIDS?

    • Anthony
      Anthony says:

      In her defence, she appeared to be in a monogamous sexual relationship. If they had both been celibate for at least six months before sleeping with each other and had been tested after that six months before being intimate, then the chances of her catching AIDS are very slim.

  2. bitchphd
    bitchphd says:

    God bless you for having the basic human decency to tell the truth.

    And to everyone who thinks they have the right to tell strangers how they should feel–really? You really think that’s your damn business? Get your own goddamn blog and leave women like Ms. Trunk the hell alone.

  3. John Wilder
    John Wilder says:

    I will never donate money to Planned Parenthood.

    Unintended pregnancies can be problematic. One of the solutions should not be to kill an innocent child. In our Bill of Rights, the very first one is the right to life.
    People need to take responsibility for their actions.
    In this land, there is a $10,000 fine for destroying a bald eagle egg and a 5 year jail sentence, but women demand the right to kill unborn children. This is schizophrenic logic based soley on feelings. If a woman wants a child and I hit her with my car, and she loses the baby, I will be prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter. In other words we put women in the place of God determining when the baby is a baby and when it isn’t.

    If you don’t want it, then your CHOICE IS TO GIVE IT UP FOR ADOPTION!

    • Naomi
      Naomi says:

      Hey smartass, the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is the Declaration of Independence. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights, of which you referred to, is the freedom to press, assembly, speech, and religion. Get your shit straight. And who says that “baby” isn’t getting in the way of that pursuit of happiness? Accidents happen. There is no heartbeat for almost the first 2 months. A woman can know at 3 weeks if she’s pregnant, and terminate it then: its still a conglomerate of cells at that point.
      Adoption? Do you see everyone going out and adopting babies? NO. Putting it up for adoption just puts ANOTHER kid into the foster system. You’re an ass.

    • Whatbluedot
      Whatbluedot says:

      Wow. Reread your Constitution. The First Amendment says squat about life. You’re thinking of the Declaration of Independence, which is not a government document, and certainly not a document written by or under the government established by the Constitution.


    • Caitlin
      Caitlin says:

      @Joh Wilder Bald eagles are an endangered species. Humans most certainly are not. There’s no jail sentence for breaking a chicken egg so your example is entirely spurious.

  4. Julie
    Julie says:

    I’m outraged by WI’s and other states abortion laws. You are utterly correct that women gain power and confidence by talking about gender issues. The people who wigged out about discussing a miscarriage are behaving like children. And, honestly, shouldn’t they be accustomed to you sharing/over-sharing on your blog and twitter feed?! It’s part of the reason why they’re all reading!

  5. Cheesesbabe
    Cheesesbabe says:

    I think your perspective adds to this mix, but I do wonder, can you offer debate without ad hominem attacks?

  6. The Critic
    The Critic says:

    It surprises me that there are people who think they can tell others where it is or isn’t appropriate for someone to express themselves. Oh, it shouldn’t be on Twitter, oh it shouldn’t be in your blog, oh, etc. etc.

    Everyone complaining: YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ IT.

    Read that again: YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ IT.

    If you don’t like it, don’t read it. That’s all there is to it. Your rights, in regard to what Penelope or anyone else in the entire world says or writes, extend as far as your ears alone. That’s as far as you have any control and that’s as far as you’re allowed to go.

  7. Chelle
    Chelle says:

    Man, I don’t even understand this at all. If I were you, I’d call my doctor and schedule to get my tubes tied asap. Birth control problems solved.

  8. nicole
    nicole says:

    donated to planned parenthood today.

    sorry you’re having to go through this. even sorrier about all the vitriol spilling forth in the comments.

  9. ding
    ding says:

    First, I thought the forthright *honesty* in both your tweet and this post was spot on. (and I’m following you on Twitter.)

    Second, the *freaking nerve* of some of these comments. What are the ridiculous rules of feminine behavior that’re on display here? Where is the empathy, at least? Jesus Christ, hearing the judgment from other women toward another woman who just had a miscarriage makes it so very very very difficult to keep calling myself feminist.

    You critics and shamers deserve your freaking oppression.

  10. Lori
    Lori says:

    I’d been counting down the six days the Farmer requested alone to think alone, wondering what could be the outcome of the relationship/commute/compromise issues discussed on 9/17. Now I see that a crucial part of the story was omitted then. I hope you are healing well. And am still anxiously awaiting the next installment about the relationship.

  11. Stella
    Stella says:


    Why are women’s experiences taboo? Women’s experiences are HUMAN EXPERIENCES.

    Thank you for doing what you can to fight the shaming of women who dare to be human.

  12. bilbo
    bilbo says:

    Being a man, it’s nice to get this kind of information.
    I think you are doing both sexes a big favor here.

    Basically when people get told reality and they say “Oh, no, that’s disgusting, that’s unprofessional, that’s… whatever their damn excuse” and want to revolt, it’s a sign of ignorance and intolerance to education. Basically you imparted information, which a number of people were unaware of, and now a number of people want to censor that information. Well as a reader and citizen of the US, I say to them, “Shut the hell up”. For one you are trampling to close to one of our Constitutional amendments for my taste. [Yes, I exaggerated and swung the pendulum really far]

    Anyway, I’m just disgusted with the lack of education in the United States and the attitude of being proud of it (my digression). It’s led to a number of continuing social and economic problems. (Take Wisconsin law as an example)

    Penelope, as long as you impart knowledge and accurate information to me, I’ll keep reading.

    • Anthony
      Anthony says:

      My problem isn’t that she wrote about the topic. It’s that she wrote about the topic to justify her own stupidity in making the tweet in the manner she did. Talking about miscarriages at work is a highly appropriate topic, one that deserves to be discussed. Women’s reproductive issues in the workplace deserve to be discussed. Using such issues as a smokescreen to justify one’s own stupidity in making a controversial post is disgusting.

      Believe me, I used to be a teacher. I’m highly sympathetic to your disgust at the pride we take in ignorance. I even left the profession in large part because no one cares anymore about education. Unfortunately, this article wasn’t about informing so much as justifying a poorly worded tweet made at an inappropriate time.

  13. Sonya
    Sonya says:

    The funny thing is that I did not read your tweet as cavalier. I read it as though you were stating a fact. Something you were going through and it was not like you enjoyed it. You did not say “what fun!!!”. But, better time to miscarry than when you don’t want a child? I would prefer this to miscarrying when I did want one. And, for the religious zealots out there, why do we have to be wallowing in sorrow for a miscarriage of an unwanted pregnancy? God apparently wanted it to happened right- because it happened after all with out medical intervention, and God knows best! Let us be happy with what God chose! Or this argument only convenient when its for something you feel like supporting?

    On a side note, it always seems to me that anti-choice people are also always against anything that will help the environment, against social assistance and wellfare, and usually pro-gun, pro-death penalty, and pro-war (or I guess pro-Bush). I can never understand why the people who most want there to be more and more people on this planet never consider the quality of life those people will lead. They are always quibbling about the right to life, but I guess the right to a good life isn’t really important. Just make sure they are born- then who cares what happens to them!

  14. Orange
    Orange says:

    I once worked with a woman who was newly married and so excited about her pregnancy that she let people know about it right away. She miscarried a couple weeks later and the boss passed the news to people so we wouldn’t make any ill-advised “So, have you picked out a baby name yet?” or “Looks like you’re starting to show a little” remarks. Many of us were too reserved to go up to her and say “I’m so sorry,” not wanting to intrude on her grief – but we also knew what was going on so we could give her space and not add to her stress.

    Many of the blogs I follow are by women and have mostly female followings, so it amuses me to see men pouting here that they’re not being catered to by this blog. The internet has plenty of other places where they’ll feel right at home! Crikey.

  15. tryptamine
    tryptamine says:

    The only “idiots” here are the ones who are trying to police your emotions by calling your tweet “too callous”, “flippant”, etc.

    Thanks for this. It drives me crazy how much we women are not supposed to talk about our everyday lives because it’s considered “too personal” – like me knowing stuff (thanks to ALL OF SOCIETY TALKING ABOUT IT CONSTANTLY) like that guys get boners at random times isn’t “too personal”?

  16. margosita
    margosita says:

    For this post, I’m gonna START following you on Twitter. And say: Thank you for sharing this and for saying, without shame or hesitation, that the stuff of women’s lives is always important and worthy of discussion, “comfort” be damned.

  17. Deb
    Deb says:

    Thank you for your openness. You are absolutely right; there are still many “female” things that people refuse to acknowledge and think are inappropriate in a work context. Things are much better than in the days when cancer couldn’t be talked about b/c it might involve (gasp!) breasts, but we still haven’t come far enough. The fact is that most adult men have had enough serious relationships with women that they should be able to deal with any such discussion. (And yes, I’m including gay men who have had platonic relationships with close female friends). If Lance can talk about testicular cancer, and we can have ED ads during every TV program, we can deal with comments about miscarriages. I guess most people don’t realize that the pill essentially routinely causes miscarriages at the cellular level. And no, it isn’t sad, if the pregnancy was unwanted and not very far along; most miscarriages occur because something went wrong with the development of the fetus, to the point where it couldn’t survive. Nature intervenes. And yes, a miscarriage where the pregnancy was longed for is tragic. And both occur in the workplace.
    Good for you Penelope. I’m not particularly in favor of abortion, in the sense that I’m not sure I would have one myself — but people who try to impose their belief systems on others, and paternalistic legislation both make me a whole lot sicker than someone mentioning something related to bodily fluids.

  18. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    Thank you for talking about this so openly and honestly. Anyone who deems your posts about this topic as ‘disgusting’ should try to find a little maturity.

  19. Marisa
    Marisa says:

    Are you sure this is as gender-related as you’re making it out to be? Not sure what bothered other folks about it, but for me it was just too much information.

    You certainly have a right to say whatever you want on twitter, but others have every right to unfollow you if they think you’re revealing too much personal information that doesn’t interest them.

    There are certainly plenty of folks who are having issues with what you tweeted because it related so blatantly to abortion. But this post doesn’t even seem to consider the idea that you were sharing personal information in a way that others find to be too intimate for their liking. That’s certainly the case for me. The tweet was off-putting to me largely because it was just TMI.

    I would have been just as put off if you had tweeted that you were sitting in the board room and suffering a hemorrhoid attack. Or, had you been a man, I would have been equally put off if you had tweeted that you had just come home from getting a vasectomy– just not interested in that much information about your personal health.

    • Serenity
      Serenity says:

      Marisa, you are anti-women playing god with unborn children yet you are anti god playing god with unborn children?

      If God wants to save a life, he’ll save it.

      If God lets a woman choose what to do with HER child, he lets her.

      If God wants to let a baby that was created from a rape or incestuous or any other unwanted pregnancy be destroyed, he lets it.

      Its not up to you to tell God what he wants or should do.

      there are thousands of rapes going on right now. Stop them, I implore you.

      You are not God. You do not know what God wants, or thinks, or has in mind. You are not anything close to godly. If you were, you would see his hand working.

      Shut your mouth and stop presuming that because you are religious you know ANYTHING AT ALL about the true will of God. Or anything at all about anything at all.

      Fetuses can’t feel. They have no nerves or brain to feel them you idiot. And giving an abortion painkiller is like swabbing a persons arm before a lethal injection. It’s pointless.

      I’d shut my mouth if I were you about God. You know nothing about him or her or any divine entity at all.

  20. John Wilder
    John Wilder says:

    . Law. to kill by an act constituting murder.
    5. to kill or slaughter inhumanely or barbarously.

    I was deeply offended at Sonya’s comments presumably to my comment about the right choice is to give the baby up for adoption. She referred to anti-choicers presumably me as an insult and put down. I have provided the dictionary definition of murder. As one who has years experience working in the medical field, I can tell you that abortion is death by inhumane and barbarous methods. They rip the baby apart limb from limb. Then the scrub nurse has to reassemble the baby and count the parts because if they missed anything, then the woman can die from septicemia.

    I proudly call myself ANTI-CHOICE ON NUMEROUS ISSUES. I am ANTI-CHOICE to NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Assn) look it up. I am ANTi-CHOICE on rape and incest. I will stop anyone who is raping you. I am ANTI-CHOICE ON PEDOPHILIA. I am ANTI-CHOICE ON ROBBERY. I am ANTI-CHOICE ABOUT LETTING WOMEN PLAY GOD WITH UNBORN CHILDREN.

    Would you tolerate putting an unwanted puppy down by ripping him apart limb from limb with no anesthetic? Even convicted murderers who get the death penalty are killed humanely. There is NOTHING MORE HIDEOUS THAN KILLING AN INNOCENT UNBORN CHILD BY DISMEMBERING AND NOT EVEN BOTHER TO USE ANY ANESTHETIC. Yet you bleeding heart liberals demand the right to commit this hideous crime.


    • Anthony
      Anthony says:

      Sir, then I presume that should I ever need one, that I can count on you give me one of your kidneys. If you don’t, I will die, and it will be your fault.

      This is about the level of argument you bring. Pregnancies take a serious toll on the female body. In the course of a pregnancy, a woman’s abdominal muscles can be torn. She can go through temporary diabetes. Calcium will be leached from her bones, potentially leading to osteoporoses later in life. In some cases, damage to the uterus will occur making the woman infertile. I have two aunts that can no longer have children because of complications during the pregnancies. One of them had to have a hysterectomy. Then there is the process of child birth itself, which causes damage to the vagina, can damage the clitoris and other sexually related nerves, can damage the pelvis, and can still have life threaten complications for even a healthy woman.

      It is simply inconvenient to be pregnant. We do not force people to donate blood, yet a woman should have to risk all of this. Given all of this, should I have any problems, I expect you to donate a kidney.

      • David
        David says:

        Thank you Anthony and Sonya!

        John I dare you to take a year off from your cush job and go work as a social worker in an adoption agency catering to young children (who are not babies) – We’ll see at the end of the year if your “bleeding heart” conservative views for unborn babies can still function after you see the abuse of thousands of unwanted children…who probably should have been aborted because their parents were deadbeats. You do a lot of shouting, but you choose to remain ignorant about other problems.

        Sonya’s quote:
        They are always quibbling about the right to life, but I guess the right to a good life isn’t really important. Just make sure they are born- then who cares what happens to them!

        My sediments exactly…

  21. Geekgirlsrule
    Geekgirlsrule says:

    So many of the “it isn’t appropriate to talk about this” comments remind of me of comments I got when I started blogging about being a rape survivor. “Why would you want people to know that? It’s personal!” Yeah, and isolating. No one should have to deal with that crap alone, and it’s stupid that we expect people to do just that.

    I’m glad you took a bullet (metaphorically speaking) so at least some women took heart that they weren’t the only ones dealing with miscarriages in non-approved ways.

    Also, the commenters who said they were upset because you were grateful for your miscarriage when they mourned theirs, remind me of the people who got pissed off at me when I got sterilized. Trust me, if I could have donated the “Womb of Doom” to them, I would have. But I couldn’t, and I sure as shit wasn’t about to bear children just so someone could feel a little better about not being able to. Granted, this was the same person who also yelled at a happily pregnant friend for being insensitive as well.

  22. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    I always donate to Planned Parenthood because they are the only viable alternative for many women seeking abortions and/or birth control.

  23. bacm
    bacm says:

    OMG! Penelope you are my hero. Your discussion of the female experience is so refreshing and honest. I completely agree with you, women should not have to suffer through miscarriages and abortions and silence.
    I had an abortion in college and one of the most difficult parts was to have to mourn the loss in silence and pretend as if nothing had occurred. I never regret my decision but I do regret the fact that so many women refuse to admit the reality about abortion which in turns lets people continue to belive that it doesnt affect anyone in their family or social circle.It is the secrecy that surrounds these experiences that allows the political discourse to result in policy that denies women their reproductive rights.
    I am also appalled at how the state of Wisconsin restricts a woman’s right to a procedure that was made LEGAL over thirty years ago.

    Thanks PT.

  24. Will at Virtualjobcoach
    Will at Virtualjobcoach says:

    To all the anti-choice folks out there, here is a post I nicked from the NYT. If you know the author please send it to me as I think it is one of the better pieces I have read recently on the debate:

    “When the anti-choice people take some affirmative responsibility for the lives that they insist must come into being, then it will be easier to respect their position. – – – As it stands now, however, there are proportionally MORE abortions when anti-choice Republicans are in power than when pro-choice Democrats are. Why? Because the – €˜liberal Democrats' provide more intelligent support for birth control and information; more effective practical support for pregnant teens, unwed mothers, and young children; more acceptance of non-traditional homes that can still result in wonderful families. – – €“ So if you are really concerned about those "little guys" who are you going to support? The folks that say the right words but let more of them die, or the ones that actually keep more of them alive? I'm sure God can understand the complexity and contradictions, even if you can't.”

    • econobiker
      econobiker says:

      For years I have been asking those on the anti-choice side “how many children have they adopted?” They need to put their money where their mouths are and adopt special needs and older children prior to protesting someone else’s moral choice.

      When there are no children waiting to be adopted then I think they will be able to protest abortion 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…but until then shut up and live the ~word~ you proport to follow.

  25. Magnetic Crow
    Magnetic Crow says:

    +follow on twitter, +follow your blog (thanks to Amanda Marcotte).
    Happy to find another Aspie feminist! :)
    (Though SERIOUSLY disgusted that people are so quick to use Asperger’s as an excuse to tell you that’s there something “wrong with you” or that you’re “not seeing the situation clearly”, or “being callous”. It’s Austism, not brain trauma, people).

  26. Jessie
    Jessie says:

    I agree with Brad, P. You’re math is a little off especially when you consider people trying fertility treatments have a lessened (often near 0) chance of getting pregnant to begin with, they aren’t on the same statistical playing field as normal, healthy, adult women. Either way, when I read your tweet I was more in the mind of, “jesus fucking christ. too much information.” but frankly that’s why I follow your blog, fully knowing that at any point and time you can say something and step over my comfort line, but hey, that’s the risk I take. That being said, in general I am getting a little tired of all the SUPER SUPER personal facebook/twitter/myspace updates about personal injuries, family deaths (practically live blogging them as they happen), divorce updates etc. I really wonder what all these social networking sites will have turned into in 10 years…

  27. Dee
    Dee says:

    @Anthony, your breakdown on this issue, the toll pregnancy takes on a woman’s body, is the best argument I’ve seen.

    Because ti’s so true, how can a fetus not able to survive on its own have greater rights than the already living woman who could actually die from the pregnancy?

    You can only CHOOSE such a sacrifice to your body and life.

    Thanks for that Anthony.

  28. Sonya
    Sonya says:

    I did not mean anti-choice as a put down. I call it anti-choice because that is what it is- you do not support the right to choose. You support the right to tell other people what to do. It is what it is.
    I am sorry that you have seen children ripped limb from limb. I have not. I don’t know your experiences….
    I would never myself have an abortion unless there were gravely extenuating circumstances. On the other hand, although I am glad you are anti-rape, anti-incest, ant-pedophilia, etc. (as am I). You cannot be there to stop everyone from being raped, rapes happen all the time. You cannot be there to stop incest, etc. You cannot control it, because you are one person. Even entire police forces cannot control it. These things happen. As long as they do, I cannot presume to tell someone what to do. And if I can’t tell one person for one set of circumstances- how can I presume to tell another? We do not live in a perfect world. Pretty far from it. That is a fact. And, terrible things happen all the time, that is a fact too! It is not ok that they happen, but right now somewhere a baby is starving to death, and someone else is driving around in a BMW. They could buy a honda civic and donate the rest of the money to feed hungry children, but they chose not too. I support their right to choose too (because I can’t tell them what to do). Someone is dying right now because they can’t get the surgery that they need, and someone else thought that a 5,000 square foot house was just what they needed. This is reality… it sucks!

    I am not going to argue with you because you have clearly stated your argument, and I have learned over the years that this argument never gets anywhere… I will not change my mind either. Just wanted to clarify. Also, my point was that the same people who say abortion should be illegal don’t seem to support things like cleaning up the environment (as much as they want to tell women what to do- they are afraid of government meddling in the affairs of business). It is an atrocity that people get sick and people die from pollutants because people are unwilling to govern companies…. I can never wrap my mind around the logic there- again I am talking about QUALITY of life.

  29. delia
    delia says:

    let’s remember, when judging penelope for seeming callous, that everyone grieves in their own way. yes, she was relieved, obviously. but emotions are complex, and she may not show all of them to us all the time. for example, she kept the unwanted pregnancy a secret until now. also, she may not grieve right this second, but i’m sure at some point she will, in her own way
    so cut her some slack, she’s not a monster

  30. SLS
    SLS says:

    I am a 24 year old woman and haven’t yet had to experience pregnancy, abortion, or miscarriage, thankfully. I’m so proud of you for talking about your life and rising back up after prudeish people and judgemental ninnies attempted to smack you down for it. Miscarriages are normal, working through one is normal, being relieved you aren’t pregnant is normal. Keep writing and living out loud!

    Love from Texas,

  31. econobiker
    econobiker says:

    There is the Double standard:

    If a guy had twittered: “I am in a board meeting. I have an erection. I am glad I will be seeing my call girl later to relieve it.”

    Penelope would have been all over this about “how wrong he was to say this.”

    Another thing is that she needs to learn about using freaking birth control- not just for the birth control part but because of STD’s.

    Duh- smart woman with stupid choices.

  32. Annette
    Annette says:

    32 years ago I had a stillborn baby. The baby died slowly, inside of me – it took 3 days. No one had an inkling of what was going on.

    I had an emergency C-section. I was put in the wing where other GYN patients were (away from the babies). But I never got to see my baby or hold my baby. I don’t recall a social worker coming to speak to me. It’s like no one wanted to talk about the horrible thing that happened.

    You’re right – women have to talk. We have to upset the status quo. I was in shock back then and didn’t have the wherewithal to open my mouth. I should have insisted on seeing and holding my baby. It is a sadness I will carry with me the rest of my life.

  33. Rhonda
    Rhonda says:

    From another woman very grateful that nature made the choice for her, “Thank-you.”

    I also rolled the dice and ended up pregnant and, while a college student and fighting a mild form of cancer, I was not sure I could even carry a healthy baby to term. Abortion was definitely at the forefront of my mind. When the miscarriage occurred I went on vacation and, in a peaceful sort of way, celebrated.

    Had I gone much further I know I would have had to choose an abortion and no celebration of any sort would have taken place.

  34. Andi
    Andi says:

    Hi Penelope, I’ve never heard of you before Planned Parenthood shared this post on Facebook. I think you’re amazingly brave for sharing this. More women should, maybe if more of us talked about these things they wouldn’t be seen as gross or freaky or whatever.

  35. The Chemist
    The Chemist says:

    “Excuse me while I go make a donation to the National Right to Life.”

    Excuse me while I vomit.

    I have the good sense not to read all the comments posted here. I have better things to do then watch a bunch of morons get indignant at a person’s outlook on their situation or their attitude.

    My aunt had a miscarriage. you know what? She hated the whole ordeal and was very upset over it. It was her right to be upset over it if she felt that way. It’s her life and she Knows what she wants from it. End of story. Now how is this any different?

    If I lost my eyesight I’d be devastated. My aspirations would be crushed. Still, that’s just me, a musician might be less traumatized by the same injury. what right do I have to impose my view of such an injury on him? Then again if he broods over it, I’d still have no business telling him how to feel. Especially if he is a stranger to me. If I don’t like what he is feeling then I avoid him. Feelings (or lack thereof) are not opinions. They’re not up for debate.

    …At least, not if you’re a man.

  36. UWstudent
    UWstudent says:

    When I was in college in Milwaukee it was only a 2 day wait to get in for my first apt then the abortion was the next day, I’m not sure if things have changed over the past 5 years, but honestly it wasn’t that bad when I went. Also, as for insurance coverage it was covered with my insurance but the woman at planned parenthood look at me like I was nuts and said I would have to contact them and get a reimbursement. After classes, finals, working 40 hours a week, and having a life the required days to file slipped through the cracks. I was told after by my regular doctor however, that she would have given the same pills to me at the hospital, and they take insurance upfront, as long as its covered by the insurance company rather than having me reach to them for a reimbursement.
    as for the 24 hour waiting period, not all women that go into clinics are making that choice for themselves, I think that the 24 hour wait is important for women, yeah we work, but for the women that are forced into abortion, this gives them that chance to say something, to show the fear, and get the help they need. Also its a big decision, its not like returning a dress you received for Christmas, takes a little time to assure yourself and talk to your partner make sure its the best choice for everyone and it fits your schedule for the time required off work.

  37. Sonya
    Sonya says:

    One more observation, this country is so intolerant of pregnancy, and raising children. I mean, 6 weeks after you give birth you need to be back at work?? In Canada you get a year. Maybe if our society was more supportive- there would be less abortions or people considering it. Perhaps, instead of attacking people for their choices in dealing with this society we live in, we can make a better place so that people are more apt to make the choices that we deem better. Find a solution, instead of attacking people for dealing with life the way they think is best. Make this country more conducive to having kids/ being able to raise them/ being able to afford to raise them…

    • jennb
      jennb says:

      Sonya… I can’t say enough how much i agree with you. I’m the mother of a toddler and currently pregnant, and it is appalling, absolutely appalling the way pregnancy and subsequent child birth is treated in the business world. On a personal level, everyone is nice and accommadating. On a professional level – i’m terrified for my job. I’m a low-level admin – aka extremely replaceable, and while I work very hard to stand out, I’m afraid of the day that will come when my family demands conflict once too often with my professional life. Turning a blind eye to the reality of a female body and the demands of motherhood does no one any favors. High ranking women in my company face enormous pressure to work long hours to stay ahead, and silently lament the things in their childrens lives they are missing. I have seen too many well-paid high level women struggle under this pressure, and many ultimately break. Instead of shouting about the lives of unborn children and the hardships those barely-alive creatures face, perhaps we ought to turn our attention to the hardships of women and children already here. Having a child is usually a choice, and one could say working women should take that into consideration. But how is it fair or even logical for a woman to choose between her career and her children?

  38. shana
    shana says:

    love the post, but pregnancy isn’t the only concern with unprotected sex. Not to say you didn’t know this, but it wasn’t in your rebuttal at all.

    • econobiker
      econobiker says:

      Someone else said that she is in a relationship when that same question was posted above. That said, I wonder if she and her man got tested when they got into the relationship but prior to being intimate. Or if she got tested regularly when living in the big city?

      I second your thoughts but remember that a silly business-owning, non-minority lady in Wisconsin doesn’t think it can ever happen to herself.

      Cynical- yes. Realistic- also yes.

  39. Jim
    Jim says:

    Wow! Talk about coincidental timing. I just put up a blog today about peepers and how some bloggers get slammed by their readers, over certain comments. It’s unfortunate, Penelope, that some people reacted the way they did. I find that the level of tolerance in America is quickly sliding, as viewed by a Canadian who’s travelled many times south of the border. Call us Canucks boring or whatever, but there’s a greater willingess to accept others’ viewpoints. People need to chill out a little and stop hyperventilating when they read or hear something that clashes with their value system.

    • Nk
      Nk says:

      You have been accidentally pregnant 3 SEPARATE TIMES in your life, and not taken steps to change your birth control behavior?

      I am 100% pro choice–but your refusal to take responsibility for these repeated “accidents” leaves me breathless.

      I’m with Jim et al on this one.

  40. drfantastic
    drfantastic says:

    Never commented on your blog before, but you really hit it out of the park with this post. I’ve had a miscarriage and yes, it is a woman’s issue, a work issue and a “go get a life you self-righteous fucks” issue.

    Keep on fighting the good fight.

  41. Tom
    Tom says:

    Man. Abortion’s a personal issue, but your approach to it is pretty gross. I don’t think most people are upset about your choice, Penelope. I think most people are upset about your attitude toward it and your unborn baby. It shows a tremendous lack of respect, both for you and the baby.

    And, seriously, you’ve been through this before. You didn’t learn then? When WILL you figure out birth control? Get on the pill, have him wear condoms – BOTH at the same time, if you’re obviously so fertile. It just seems that there’s some extreme irresponsibility going on here. In other words, grow the hell up. This isn’t a game, but you are playing with lives.

  42. Whatbluedot
    Whatbluedot says:

    Thank you for the post; thank you for having the courage to talk about it; and thank you both for being willing to take responsibility for your health and life and for being willing to wait to make sure your insurance company would do its job and pay for your medical care.

    You’ve given me a lot to ponder; thanks for that, too.

  43. Ami
    Ami says:

    I don’t understand how people can be upset about a “callous” tone of a tweet regarding anything having to do with said author’s body. Any woman is entitled to have any feelings she wants to about her body and her pregnancies and should express them in any format she wishes. Telling a woman how to feel about her miscarriage, that she should choose her format respectfully, even from the pro-choice folks on here, is deeply disturbing.

    Also I am disturbed by many of the younger women posters chastising her tone, format of expression, and the fact that she wanted a miscarriage. Why is this so provocative?

    Where have all the young feminists gone?

    • Tom
      Tom says:

      Ami, you seem to be under the impression that the abortion happens to the mother. I’m not getting all pro-life here, but it’s a fact: the abortion happens to the fetus. It is a choice the mother makes. She should have at least SOME respect for the life that she created within her. Penelope’s attitude, whether it be her form of grieving or whatever, is callous, gross, disturbing, mean, nasty, and any other negative word that has been used by others on here. There is nothing else about it.

      Penelope could have used her tweet and later post about the subject to be something positive about the experience, to enlighten people, but this is what we get: a mean, gross, disturbing, upsetting rant. If women want respect for the entirety of your “experience” then maybe being more tactful about it might be in order. This approach is only going to turn people away.

      • Heather
        Heather says:

        Tom- don’t you have anything better to do than trolling around a feminist blog looking for a fight?
        You are such a patronizing patriarch, we might just find your picture by the definition in Webster’s.

  44. Heather
    Heather says:

    Thank you for this Penelope!
    And Ami- I am 31- not sure what age group you are looking for- but there is a huge backlash amongst my peers.
    “Feminist” is now a bad name, it is unfortunate.
    The fact that women still can’t talk about their own bodies genuinely and honestly without reproach is the disgusting issue here, not Ms. Penelope’s take on her situation. And as for abortion- Mamma Mia! I am sick to death of my womb being public domain!
    Our bodies, our lives, our choices.

    • Ami
      Ami says:

      yup, I am 27, with 2 school-aged kids and in grad school. I mean lost feminism among college-aged women mostly, most of whom I teach and interact with. There’s really no reconciling the views of folks who think fetus is a an entity of a woman’s physical and spiritual domain and people who think fetus=separate life divorced from the woman it is lodged within. I really don’t see much respect for the voices and choices of living women put out on this blog. Hey, ya know, respect for the living post-birth is a good thing, too. Respect for the pre-born should not come at a direct cost to the level respect paid to the already born.

  45. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Thank you for posting about this. I admire you for opening up a discussion about miscarriage and the workplace. Too often we are asked not to be “people” at work.

    Also, a three week wait is appalling.

    • Tom
      Tom says:

      No one is allowed to be “people” at work. We’re “employees.” Maybe among coworkers that we’re particularly close with we’re allowed to be “people” but with everyone else, we’re just “other employees” and they don’t really give a crap about anything other than that whatever we do doesn’t affect them – and that’s how it should be. Penelope bringing her miscarriage issues to light at work would be akin to a man walking around yelling “oh my prostate!” all day. Do you care? Should you care? Unless that coworker is your friend, no. You leave your issues at home, and those you can’t leave at home, you make them as transparent as possible at work. You are all acting like only women have issues. Everyone has issues. Penelope and her miscarriage is no different than the dude in the cube next to you who’s getting a divorce. No one but friends need to know about these things. Penelope does all of this – ALL of this – because she thrives on the attention.

      • tigtog
        tigtog says:

        Everyone has issues. Penelope and her miscarriage is no different than the dude in the cube next to you who’s getting a divorce.


        No one but friends need to know about these things.

        Could Not Disagree More. The dude going through the divorce is just as entitled to a bit of acknowledgement/understanding that he’s in a hard place and maybe is a bit grumpier/sadder/quieter than usual because of it and that this is OK and he doesn’t have to wear the Office Social Mask in front of everyone just to be a team player.

        Being “professional” should not be about becoming some asocial automaton.

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