It takes a real man to rap about a miscarriage.
Women, clothes, cars and money?
That's the easy stuff.
Loss, fear, vulnerability and love?
Not so much.
There's a line in Jay-Z's beautiful new song "Glory," that he dedicated to his newborn daughter, Blue Ivy, that changed the way I look at him.
I mean, I was already a fan, but there is something about the way he revealed something so painful -- even in the midst of his joy -- that made me respect him even more.
"False alarms and false starts /All made better by the sound of your heart / All the pain of the last time / I prayed so hard it was the last time," he opens.
USA Today said Jay's telling of he and Beyonce's loss in "Glory" ventured into "TMI territory" but I disagree.
I think what he did was brave -- and rare.
In hip hop culture to put yourself out there about anything of importance to you carries with it some degree of risk: the risk of being labeled soft, of losing street cred and respect among your fans. The opposite of swagger.
So for an MC -- a man -- as notoriously private as Shawn Carter -- to rap about his devastation on that track, in my mind, made him a little bit of a hero.
And, while it may not have been his intention, sharing his humanity in this way with the world helped to create a space for other people to do the same.
Other people like me.
I suffered through my own miscarriage last year.
Aside from a few close friends, I didn't tell very many people about it. As you can imagine, it's just not the sort of thing you bring up at dinner parties.
Sometimes I wish it were.
If the reality of miscarriages were discussed more openly -- given how often they occur -- I might not have been as surprised as I was when it happened to me.
If you've been blessed to never have experienced a miscarriage, just know: losing a baby -- at any stage of its development -- is very, very hard.
It is a loss that changes you.
It is a loss that makes you question everything you know about life, and death and fairness.
Nobody tells you in the midst of your euphoria -- the excitement you feel the moment you see two little pink lines appear on a stick -- not to get attached. That you could lose your baby -- particularly if this is your first time conceiving, or if you're over a certain age.
No. When you first realize you're pregnant you skip right over those nine months of pregnancy in your mind, and go directly to thoughts of child care, ballet lessons and the first day of school.
The last thing you're expecting is for your baby not to survive. The last thing you are expecting is for her to go away as suddenly as she came, with you left to carry on with life as if your little miracle had never happened.
Fortunately, having a supportive family makes any hardship bearable.
Having great friends to lean on is also a gift.
And, apparently, so is music.
It's funny how something as random as a rap song can remind you that God makes no mistakes, that your time will come, and not to give up hope.