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Rapping, Singing and Talking About Miscarriage

A Jezebel blogger writes, “Jay-Z’s Mention of Beyoncé’s Miscarriage Is Actually Groundbreaking.”

“…it’s incredibly rare that a male celebrity does that…. all too often, when it comes to celebrities and miscarriage, the public doesn’t get any acknowledgment of the incident… In the context of hip-hop — known for its braggadocio and exaggeration — Jay-Z’s very public disclosure of a very difficult, very private matter makes a huge statement: Women aren’t the only ones affected by miscarriage, and the very act of discussing it (‘Last time, the miscarriage was so tragic/ We was afraid you would disappear/But nah, baby, you magic’).”

I agree that it’s groundbreaking for a male celebrity rapper to openly talk about pregnancy loss and it’s good for us all to see mega-stars talk about such earthly, human things. (But to be cynical for a second, it’s savvy to reveal civilian vulnerabilities, especially in the light of harsh allegations of disrespectful diva behavior at Lenox Hill hospital.)

But the post got me thinking. While this is a bold and meaningful disclosure for Jay-Z, I feel like miscarriage has become more of an open topic over the last few years. Maybe this is because more celebrities have opened up?  Or maybe it’s because more mothers are blogging?  I don’t know. There’s still a ways to go but it seems less taboo than it was when I first got pregnant in 2003.

I wanted to know more about musicians and miscarriage so I looked into it and here’s what I found:

Celine Dion was open about her miscarriages on Oprah a few years back. Pop singer Lilly Allen famously miscarried twice, including a stillbirth in 2010. In the mid-1990s, at the height of her fame, Tori Amos wrote several songs about her miscarriage. In fact, one of her albums is sometimes referred to as the “miscarriage album.” Interestingly, singing about the pain of loss was easier for Amos than talking about it: “People had a very hard time talking to me about  what had happened. And I had a hard time talking about it. But the songs seemed to have such an easy time talking to me. And I began to feel the  freedom of the music.”

But check this out: As recently as 2006, a song by country singer George Canyon,  called, “My Name” was actually BANNED from certain American radio stations because it’s lyrics were about miscarriage. “It’s kinda weird”, said the singer, since the lyrics written for a friend who had miscarried are sensitively written.
I also discovered this list of songs directly or indirectly about pregnancy loss.  I’ll close with this, though, it’s an excerpt from a long list of famous women who have (famously) miscarried. It comes from the blog In Their Honor. This list is quite long which makes sense since miscarriage occurs in as many as one in five pregnancies.

 

Lilly Allen (miscarriage 2008; stillbirth 2010)
British singer and talk show host

Kirstie Alley (1990)
Actress, Jenny Craig spokeswoman; ‘Miscarriage made me fat’

Tori Amos (multiple)
Singer, activist

Pamela Anderson (1995)
Actress, pinup

Michele Bachmann (miscarriage)
Politician

Courteney Cox (2001)
Actress

Diana, Princess of Wales (miscarriage, early 1980s–between William and Harry)
Icon, would-be Queen

Celine Dion (2009)
Singer

Linda Evangelista (1999 stillbirth)
Supermodel

Kathie Lee Gifford (1992)
Talk show host

Nicole Kidman (2001)
Actress, model

Lisa Ling (2010)
Television personality

Bette Midler (1987)
Singer, actress

Demi Moore (1987)
Actress

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death)
First Lady, editor, icon

Yoko Ono (multiple)
Artist, muse

Pink (a.k.a. P!nk)
Singer

Jane Pratt (still twins, 2005)
Magazine editor, Jane

Gilda Radner (multiple)
Comedienne

Molly Ringwald (‘late-term’ miscarriage)
‘Brat Pack’ actress

Joan Rivers (multiple)
Comedienne

Brooke Shields (multiple)
Supermodel, actress, adversary of Tom Cruise

Justine Simmons (daughter, right after birth)
Wife of Reverend Run (Run-DMC)

Danielle Steel (multiple)
Romance novelist

Sharon Stone (multiple)
Actress

Emma Thompson (1997)
Actress

Tracey Ullman (multiple)
Comedienne

Meredith Viera (multiple)
Television personality

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