Taylor Swift fans have been abuzz after the release of the singer’s 10th studio album “Midnights.” Although the album was (appropriately) released at 12 p.m., the singer dropped seven bonus tracks Friday morning at 3 a.m., creating a 20-song deluxe version.
As is the case with all of Swift’s new music, each song resonated with different listeners in different ways. A poignant bonus track struck a chord with a certain group of people – those who have experienced pregnancy loss. “Bigger Than The Whole Sky” is a heartbreaking song about mourning someone gone too soon.
Although Swift didn’t specify if the track was about a breakup, death or something else, the lyrics speak deeply to those who have suffered a miscarriage. Countless listeners shared their experiences of loss and their reactions to the song on Twitter.
“When I first listened to the song, I cried more than I have cried in a long time. It pushed to a pain that I had forgotten that I still carried with me”, Rebecca Reida UK-based writer who suffered a miscarriage in 2019, told HuffPost.
“It stopped me cold – I stopped and literally said out loud, this is a miscarriage,” she added. “The lyrics about never knowing someone, about the shortness of time and the enormity of the impact, about how you’ll always wonder what could have been.”
Indeed, many listeners have pointed to specific lyrics which talk about the experience of pregnancy loss, especially in the chorus:
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye / You were bigger than all the sky / You were more than a short time / And I’ve got a lot to yearn for / I’ve got a lot to live without / I never gonna meet / What could have been, would have been / What should have been you / What could have been, would have been you.
“I can see how people interpret the lyrics as pregnancy loss,” said Dr. Jessica Gold, assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “The chorus particularly seems to involve a lost opportunity to know someone and a lot of grief and loss surrounding it, as well as the question of why it happened. These are common feelings and thought processes after pregnancy loss.
For pop culture commentator and “Be There in Five” podcast host Kate Kennedy, the song expresses how seismic her experience of an ectopic pregnancy was.
“It beautifully captures a unique kind of grief – the kind where you love something you’ve never met so much and you wonder how it can be so devastating to lose something you’ve never had,” a- she explained. “It’s hard to explain how profound a loss can be when your awareness of its existence has only lasted a short time.
Kennedy remembered well-meaning people trying to comfort her by saying things like “at least you knew that early” or “how long did you know you were pregnant?”
“You often wonder if they ask to gauge whether your emotional response is proportional to the length of your experience,” she said. “But it’s not that simple, something that’s been part of you for a while can have a profound impact in ways we struggle to quantify, bigger than the whole sky.
Other lyrics in the song suggest an attempt to make sense of a senseless, random loss.
“Has a bird flapped its wings in Asia? / Were you forced because I didn’t pray? »
“I think this song kind of evokes the otherworldliness of losing a pregnancy,” said Danna Bodenheimer, a licensed clinical social worker and founder of the Walnut Psychotherapy Therapy Center in Philadelphia. “What she does is what a lot of people do with trauma: try to make sense of it. ‘What if I had done one thing differently – could everything have been different?’ There are all those lifelong questions that many women and their partners have experienced this kind of loss with, and she sets them to music in a way that captures both simplicity and complexity.
Swift’s music often reflects her life experiences, although she has also written many songs about the travels of loved ones or the stories of strangers. In the case of “Bigger Than The Whole Sky,” some have speculated that he may have been inspired by his longtime friend Claire Winter Kislinger’s pregnancy loss earlier this year.
Whether that’s the case or not, the lyrics are ambiguous enough to allow many fans to hear their own struggles and feel less alone.
“The beauty of music is whatever message the artist intended, we all draw from our own stories to give meaning to the songs,” said Ben Behnen, a psychotherapist in Stillwater, Minnesota. “For me, the general theme of loss, and in particular losing unexpectedly or too soon, is what I heard and felt.”
Brit Barkholtz, another Minnesota-based clinical trauma therapist, thinks the track offers a universal message about grief.
“I see the song as permission to cry out loud,” she said. “While grief may be a private thing by preference, grief is often a private thing because shame, fear, guilt, and all sorts of other things convince us that we need to hide that grief or soften its contours to that it’s more acceptable. And I see this song as taking it out with all of its complexity and messiness and saying, ‘it’s OK to feel like this and be open about it.’
What to know if “Bigger Than All Heaven” Resonates With Your Pregnancy Loss Experience
It’s hard to overstate the importance of such a popular artist releasing a song that resonates with the pregnancy loss community.
“We don’t talk enough about these experiences and how often they occur,” Gold explained. “Having a song that resonates with people the large number of people who have experienced pregnancy loss helps them feel less alone, especially in their emotional reactions and thought processes. It helps to normalize the experience and break the silence about it, because far too often these experiences can feel like they’re not meant to be shared or something to keep quiet.
She stressed the importance for people to understand that miscarriages happen, that they are not alone and that they are allowed to mourn the loss, even if it happened early in their pregnancy.
“Pregnancy loss is so lonely,” Reid said. “This song is like a hand coming out of the ether and holding you, telling you they’ve been there too. I’ve always said whatever you’re going through, Taylor has a song for you. The only time this n wasn’t true is when I lost my baby in 2019. And now it is.
“There is an expression that people who have had a miscarriage are in the worst club with the best members,” she added. “And now this club has an anthem.”
Grieving people often feel a deep desire to connect with others, even with people they don’t know.
“There may not be answers to what you’re going through, but often what we need more than answers is comfort and hope,” Behnen said. “And sometimes hearing a song on the radio or in your playlist that speaks to you deeply is the comfort and hope you need.”
Besides finding comfort in music, there are other helpful ways to cope with pregnancy loss. Gold encouraged people in this situation to talk about it.
“It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling, no matter what timeline you’re feeling,” she said. “There is no right way to grieve or experience a loss. Try not to judge yourself for how you feel or how you feel; just allow yourself to be.
Although a miscarriage can feel isolating, resist the urge to go through the motions on your own.
“If you have friends or family you trust and feel safe with, let them know how you feel,” Behnen advised. “Make an appointment with a therapist. Join a support group. When we are in pain, we need people around us to hear us and support us. Your feelings matter.
He recommended ignoring those who try to tell you how you feel or question how you are going through. Give yourself plenty of space and time to process difficult emotions.
“Sometimes grief can become unbearable, and in that case, it’s okay and good for you to allow yourself to distract yourself from it,” Behnen explained. “But ultimately, it’s also good to gently come back to those feelings and listen to them.”
Although grieving for a miscarriage may feel different than grieving for other types of loss, it still reflects the deep love and hopes a future parent felt for the child they never met.
“Letting yourself feel the pain of loss is also about honoring the great love you had,” Behnen said. “It’s a way to bring the broken pieces of your heart together again. The cracks will always be there, a reminder that you’ve loved so much.
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