I have never done an individual episode review before, but I want to share one episode from last week that really touched my heart.
I’ve been listening to The Brain Candy Podcast since it started in 2015, right around the time I started this site. It’s hosted by two MTV reality TV alumnae, Sarah Rice Patterson and Susie Meister Butler. I was a teenager in the late ’90s (I’m actually the same age – I think – as Susie), and I’m a smart cookie, so I totally identify with these witty, thought-provoking, and silly hosts. The show is sometimes serious but always has some funny commentary on pop culture and the news. Think Buzzfeed but less irreverent millennial and more intelligent (sorry irreverent millennials and Buzzfeed).
Episode 215 addressed a serious topic bookended by some classic Brain Candy. The episode started with a freaky story about a rattlesnake in Sarah’s neighborhood, but then Susie and Sarah started talking about how they were hoping to share an exciting surprise with listeners, that Sarah was pregnant, but instead Sarah shared her personal tragedy of experiencing a miscarriage.
Miscarriage affects so many women, yet we still just don’t talk about it. We don’t know what to say. We are afraid of saying the “wrong” thing, and so many of us do. “You’re young, you can try again,” “It wasn’t meant to be,” and “It wasn’t God’s plan” are not typically helpful comments for most women. Sarah talked about being so exhausted from having to talk about it, seem like she was okay, even just acknowledge that it happened – she just wanted to be alone and have time to heal.
Sarah lost her baby at around nine weeks, but didn’t have an ultrasound until twelve weeks, so she said she felt like she had been an unwitting coffin. I first started crying when Sarah talked about how her husband Landon helped talk through her feelings with her, and helped her identify what she was feeling as sorrow. I felt so very deeply for Sarah in that moment.
I cried again hearing Sarah tear up about the few baby things she had gotten for the baby’s room – the baby hangers in particular are an image that sticks with me so much. They’re such a symbol of hope and newness and small – not sad and lonely and empty.
I haven’t experienced a miscarriage, but I was very moved by Sarah’s openness. Susie, as one of her best friends, did an admirable job of talking through what happened with Sarah without getting too emotional herself. I wrote a couple of months ago about how I connect, though it’s often a one-way connection, with the hosts of certain shows; I think it’s a great indicator of a terrific host when a podcast listener, who could be one of many hundreds of thousands of listeners for a particular show, can feel like they are friends with the host. I care about Susie and Sarah. I want them to be happy and well and I enjoy watching their families and adventures on Instagram. I celebrate their success with them and they are so kind and engaged with their community of listeners.
I’m so impressed that Sarah is willing to publicly share her story of loss and sorrow. She shared because she believes women should not feel ashamed and that they have to hide a miscarriage because it’s uncomfortable for other people to hear about it. By talking about it, she unquestionably made other women who’ve experienced this loss feel like they are not alone. Sarah did so much good for the Brain Candy audience.
Unsurprisingly, the ladies didn’t give the listeners a whole episode of sadness, they took plenty of time to discuss Katy Perry’s line of smelly jelly sandals. This made me love the duo even more (if that’s possible). They were totally themselves. These two women were too good for reality TV. They have made so much of their lives – Susie has a PhD in Religious Studies and her thought-provoking writing has been published in Vox and The Huffington Post, among others. Sarah is nearing completion of a master’s program for marriage and family therapy. I admire them so much and recommend their show often (I’ve reviewed it twice).
This episode is a perfect example of how to connect with your audience by being authentic and open and personal, and I highly recommend listening to it. You may shed some tears, but by the time you get to the jelly sandals you’ll be able to take a deep breath and feel the same hope I wish for Sarah in this difficult time.