Bethany C. Meyers on Grieving an Early Pregnancy Loss, Body Neutrality and Connecting With a Partner Through a Fertility Journey
Bethany C. Meyers always imagined she’d get pregnant immediately.
“I was very much like ‘we’re going to do it once and we’re going to be pregnant. And that’s it,” says Meyers, who is the founder of the be.come project, an inclusive, body-neutral fitness platform.
But Meyers and their partner, actor Nico Tortorella, were shocked when it didn’t unfold that way.
“We tried for about two years to get pregnant before we conceived. It was definitely a very unexpected thing for both my partner and [me],” says Meyers. “We’d dreamt about having children, we’ve known each other for 17 years now, and a big part of our relationship and friendship over the years was creating a family. And it’s something we’ve always held really sacred in our relationship, and something that felt very special, and something that would always happen: Even if we didn’t end up together, we would have a kid together. It was a big part of who we were and why we decided to get married.”
The first time Meyers got their period after the couple began trying to conceive, it was shocking.
“I would’ve bet all my money that we were going to get pregnant right away. It felt like a really big wake-up call early on,” she says. They tried for six months, a marker that coincided with Meyers turning 35. With those two milestones in mind, Meyers decided it was time to seek out medical help.
Meyers and Tortorella found a fertility clinic, underwent testing, and, after their second round of IUI, conceived.
“I was like, ‘finally I can be done with this sh*t. I don’t ever want to talk about infertility again, I’m done, get me out of here’....and then we lost the baby. We had a miscarriage very early on.”
Grieving that loss was complicated by the culture of not giving people space to mourn those losses — and though Meyers never wanted to move on to IVF, that felt like the right option.
But Meyers was in for another surprise. They underwent an egg retrieval, but before the eggs could be fertilized, their medical team put Meyers and Tortorella on a two-month pause.
“It was in that first month that I got pregnant without any medical intervention, which was so crazy and a little bit annoying,” says Meyers. “I think when you’ve been trying for a while it’s this story ‘and then they just stopped trying and they got pregnant’...and you’re like ‘oh my god, shut the f*ck up’. When I tell this story it’s so important for me to note that we didn’t stop trying. This idea that those two months I was carefree…my partner was working two hours away so I was driving back and forth in traffic, still peeing on my ovulation sticks every day, still trying to time everything.”
Now, as Meyers approaches the end of her pregnancy, they’re opening up about what she’s learned through this process, how it has affected her relationship to body neutrality, the way she and Tortorella came together, and more.
Early Pregnancy Loss
On grieving an ‘early loss’
“I don’t think we’re given near enough space to grieve an early loss. I think that’s tied into why you’re not supposed to tell people before 12 weeks. Which, you know, if that’s what you want to do, then great. That’s fine. Everybody gets the option to tell people when they want. But I noticed that in telling people before 12 weeks, which I did both times, maybe I made other people uncomfortable [or] I felt the need to be like ‘maybe it’s early but I want to tell you this’. And I feel like so much of that is [because] if there’s loss, then we don’t want to like, bother everyone. I do think that’s woven into it. I know trying for a long time and finally getting the positive pregnancy test is like this thing you’ve been waiting for…the idea of miscarriage didn’t even cross my mind. Then once it happened, when I got pregnant again, I was on pins and needles. Every ultrasound was full PTSD.”
How that loss changed her outlook
“It helped me surrender in a new way where I was like ‘even when I get pregnant, I cannot control when the baby chooses to come to Earthside’. There was something really comforting about that because I think I was trying to steer the wheel the whole time. I always say this, but there’s such a fine line between surrendering and giving up, and this was my surrender point. I was in it and doing everything I could, but it was out of my hands.”
Infertility, loss, and pregnancy’s effect on her journey of body neutrality, a practice that centers not necessarily on loving your body, but on accepting it.
“Over the past three years, my body has been in flux. Watching my body go through so many changes very much challenged past history of eating disorders, past history of body dysmorphia, and feelings surrounding body neutrality. It was such a great reminder that the body-neutral journey and the practice are exactly that — it’s a practice and it’s a journey and it’s not this endpoint [where] you wake up one day and you’re like ‘I’m body neutral now’. It’s an ebb and flow, it’s something that we slide in and out of.”
On learning the value of community
“What really helped me through that early pregnancy loss was finding the Rescripted community. That was really when I let myself be more of a part of the community. Hearing other people talk about it….it was just so supportive. That’s when I really felt like there aren’t things we should keep secret. You can really get yourself out of that hole if you find community.”
From IUI to IVF
How Meyers knew it was time to move from IUI to IVF
“Mine was so time-dependent because I want multiple children and I’m [turning] 37 this year. I wish that age wasn’t such a factor in it, but when you’re trying for a couple of years and you’re mid-thirties, you know, it does start to play a part. I actually remember talking with someone who is very, very versed in this field, and she was talking to me about IUI vs. IVF. She was like ‘you know, it may be better just to go with IVF because it sets you up and you have embryos if you’re stressed about time…just chances-wise, purely looking at numbers’. I was so offended by that because I really didn’t want to do IVF…And I didn’t want to go so much of a medical route, or maybe it made me feel like I had failed. I don’t know if I've fully unpacked all of that yet. Then I did IUI and when we lost the baby I was just like ‘I don’t want to go through that again’.”
How miscarriage affects the body
“This is the other thing no one talks about — it doesn’t matter if you lost the baby early. It takes a toll on your body. However you choose to end that pregnancy, you usually have to choose something. I didn’t just start bleeding and I waited till I was like 12 weeks because I wanted to pass it on my own, but that didn’t happen. At some point, I was like ‘I can’t wait anymore’. The D&C was very, very hard on my body. That’s a piece people don’t talk about nearly enough.”
Through this process, Meyers began to identify more with their own femininity
“I’ve tried on a lot of different labels and names but I think at the end of the day gender fluid has always been true to myself. And I was really surprised throughout the fertility process [and pregnancy] how connected I felt with both she/her pronouns, but also just my own femininity. To be completely honest, that felt a bit scary. It felt scary in the same way as when I started to explore my masculine identity — I was like ‘oh, this is different’...I’ve really been embracing, I just call it ‘the softening’. There’s such a softening happening. And it’s beautiful. I’m open to all pronouns, but I have been connecting with she/her pronouns again.”
On becoming (even) closer with her longtime partner as they navigate the family-building process together
“It’s brought us so much closer, and it’s weird because I’ve always felt like we’re super close, but it’s just expanded to the next level. And I don’t even know exactly…I’m trying to pinpoint in what ways. Our communication is much better. The amount of care and compassion we have for each other through all this, the teamwork…I wish I had better words to describe it but I don’t. It’s just different. Maybe it’s just that we’re creating a family…we worked so hard for something and fought through a lot of hard times that’s making it all feel so worth it and so special. Everything about this time feels so special.”
For more on Bethany Meyers' fertility journey, listen to her episode of the Dear (In)Fertility podcast here.
Zara Hanawalt is a freelance journalist and mom of twins. She's written for outlets like Parents, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Motherly, and many others. In her (admittedly limited!) free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, trying new restaurants, and traveling with her family.