I’ve seen the promos for months, my heart racing each time I caught a snippet on television. It’s one of the most highly anticipated new shows. While I struggled to bring myself to watch the premiere of This Is Us, I’m so glad I did. Thank you network execs for shedding light on a topic that so many people experience, yet it’s rarely talked about. Thank you for showing the world the heartbreaking tragedy of losing a child.

I first saw a preview for This Is Us several months ago. It reminded me of my favorite show, Parenthood, so I knew that it was something I would sit down to watch. When the show debuted in September, reality sank in. Part of this plot mirrored my life, a period of time that was filled with so much sadness and heartache. Two of the main characters are a couple expecting triplets. But, the delivery wasn’t perfect and one of their children was stillborn.

My road to becoming a mother was anything but normal, so it’s not a surprise that I was shocked to find a show that so closely followed my devastating reality. In 2013, my husband and I were expecting triplets, our first pregnancy and first children. Unfortunately, our perfect life was shattered when I delivered my babies extremely premature. Two of my children eventually passed away and we were left grieving our losses, while searching deep within us for the strength to help our survivor.

The Skrysak Family

On the night of the premiere, social media went crazy. My Facebook feed was filled with quotes and spoilers about a “shocking twist” and nearly every one of my friends who tuned in shed tears. I wanted to watch, but I couldn’t in fear of the show triggering my grief. It’s been more than three years since the deaths of two of my triplets, and as any parent who has lost a child will tell you, grief can creep up when you least expect it. It may be something I read that reminds me of my children, or seeing other children playing together that makes me long for my trio to be here on earth together. I recorded the show and let it sit in my DVR.

As the days passed by, I kept thinking of this show; the characters and plot simmering in my mind. It wasn’t until nearly two weeks later when I finally broke down and turned on my television. The tissues were next to me as I pressed play and watched This Is Us. Over the next hour, I laughed and cried and wiped away tears. But all said and done, I absolutely loved the show. Not because I’m partial to anything triplet related, but because it felt so real. Each character has depth, giving the viewer a sense of empathy as we get to know each person.

No one truly understands the emotions of losing a child unless you have experienced the loss first-hand, but this show did a beautiful job of painting a picture of the painstaking moment when a family’s life comes crashing down. As I watched the show, I was brought back to the roller coaster of emotions: the sheer excitement of expecting triplets, the fear of complications that can arise from a high risk pregnancy, and the extreme agony when doctors told us that our first triplet was not going to survive. As I watched the couple on television, I felt like I was looking in a mirror. Actors Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore portray a grieving couple in a way that viewers can feel the shock and heartbreak as reality sets in.

Grief isn’t a quick, sharp emotion; it’s something that envelops your heart, becoming a part of you for life. 1 in 4 women will experience a loss, whether it’s miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. This Is Us is breaking barriers as it tackles a topic that is often considered taboo. From the initial loss of a child to the post-partum struggles, thank you NBC for helping others understand what so many of us have unfortunately experienced. 

Feature image via Twitter – Bravotv

Stacey Skrysak

Stacey Skrysak is a local television news anchor in Illinois, but her proudest role is becoming a mom after years of infertility. Stacey is mother to a 22-weeker surviving triplet and two angels. Even though two of her children were only alive for a short time, her triplets have touched thousands of people around the world. Through her blog, Stacey has become a voice for infertility, premature birth and child loss. These days, she sprinkles in the trials and tribulations of raising a daughter, who was once nicknamed “The Diva of the Nicu.”