Ashley Fritz, 30, anxiously awaited the release of Swift's 10th studio album. As Fritz, who lives in Michigan, listened intently to the lyrics and melody of each song, she was taken aback by Track 16, "Bigger Than The Whole Sky," which immediately reminded her of her 2020 miscarriage.
"The first verse could have been about any loss, so I didn't even think about the pregnancy," Fritz told TODAY Parents. Then, she added, she heard the chorus:
"Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
You were bigger than the whole sky
You were more than just a short time
And I’ve got a lot to pine about
I’ve got a lot to live without
I’m never gonna meet
What could've been, would've been
What should've been you
What could've been, would've been you.""Bigger than the whole sky," by taylor swift
"The line, 'I'll say the words I don't believe' made me think of the times I told myself, 'Oh no, I'll be OK — time will heal this and I'll get over this,' knowing that I won't," Fritz added. "At that point I was on the kitchen floor crying."
Fritz is not alone. After Swift's "Midnights" was released, many listeners shared how the song spoke to their personal experience with pregnancy loss.
"I had a miscarriage in June. I'm not over it. I'm not OK," one fan tweeted. "I haven't been able to put it into words but this song has done it for me. Of course it's subjective but that (is) what it means to me."
Dr. Jessi Gold, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, said that "music has a way of making us feel seen and understood" and can help someone confront a loss they've been avoiding.
"Simply knowing we are not alone can help us start healing," Gold told TODAY Parents. "It might even trigger a memory unexpectedly — something that you buried and didn't know affects you — and that's OK."
I finally get to listen to something that allows me to just cry and feel the emotions and maybe let it go for a little bit.
ashley fritz, taylor swift fan
Fritz has been trying to find the words to explain the grief of her pregnancy loss. She found out she was pregnant on May 26, 2020, and while it was not a planned pregnancy she said she was "so excited."
"I got a baby book and the vitamins. I was ready," Fritz explained.
At her first ultrasound, the technician could not locate a heartbeat and noted that her pregnancy hormone levels were extremely low. A few weeks later, another ultrasound confirmed that the pregnancy was not progressing.
"They told me it was an 'inevitable miscarriage,'" Fritz added. On June 25, Fritz had a D&C procedure to remove the remains of her pregnancy after she had started miscarrying.
"I have a box in my room with the pregnancy test and the first few pages of the baby book," she shared. "I still take them out and mourn. I've written my own things about my experience and the release of pain, but I have never come across anything that has expressed how I felt until I listened to 'Bigger Than the Whole Sky.' I finally get to listen to something that allows me to just cry and feel the emotions and maybe let it go for a little bit."
A reported 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in a miscarriage, although that number is thought to be higher as many miscarriages occur before a person knows they're pregnant.
A 2015 study found that people mistakenly believe that miscarriage is rare or caused by stress, and those myths lead to stigma, judgment and guilt.
Caitlyn Haugen, 28, immediately thought about the loss of her second pregnancy in July when she listened to "Bigger Than The Whole Sky."
"We had just started the process of trying for our second child," Haugen, who has a 2-year-old son, told TODAY Parents. "It was my first pregnancy loss, and it was just really difficult. From a parent's perspective, I already know how much I love my son and that sense of loss — of losing a sibling for him and just the love I knew I'd feel for another child — was devastating."
It's been such a gift to be able to really just feel it and not shy away from how sad the loss was.
Haugen said that she was "amazed at how literally, word for word" the song applied to how she felt about her loss, adding that she "can't remember a song that so closely identified the experience of pregnancy loss for me."
"It's been such a gift to be able to really just feel it and not shy away from how sad the loss was," Haugen added. "It helped me wrap my mind around everything that I've been feeling and trying to put into words. This will always serve as a reminder and a tribute, in a way, to the baby that we lost."
In addition to the song itself, Haugen said that watching others react and share their own stories of pregnancy loss served as a much-needed reminder that she is not alone.
"It was such a reminder that it's a shared experience," Haugen said. "There are other people you can lean on and speak with."
Gold says that collective experience is important to the healing and grieving process.
I'm just grateful to her for putting my experience into words that are so beautiful.
"Seeing the spectrum of experiences shows there is not just one way to grieve or process," she explained. "Storytelling is key for people knowing that not just mental health issues or grief exists ... but that it is not one size fits all."
Swift is currently touring the United States in a highly anticipated concert series, The Eras Tour.
Fritz says she doesn't need to know why Swift wrote the song to know that it will have a profound impact on her life as she continues to heal from her miscarriage.
"This song is my absolute favorite thing that Taylor has ever done," Fritz said, holding back tears. "Even if it's not about what I've interpreted, because of my interpretation it's the most powerful song I've ever heard. I'm just grateful to her for putting my experience into words that are so beautiful and that I can just listen to and experience any time I need to."