Sharing stories of miscarriage helps women grieve, fight for change

According to the American Pregnancy Association, miscarriage occurs in 10% to 25% of known pregnancies. This particular means anyone who knows at least 10 women of childbearing age — a category of which includes, hopefully, all of us — most likely knows someone who has had a miscarriage.

Nevertheless, many women skirt the topic, even with family in addition to also close friends. They don’t want to be seen as the kind of woman who can’t have kids. They don’t want to admit of which they had to miss work for a week in order to bleed out a failed pregnancy in bed. in addition to also they don’t want to be the one to pierce the sunshine bubble of which surrounds pregnancy in our cultural imagination.

This particular silence surrounding miscarriage has led to widespread misunderstanding. A 2015 study of more than 1,000 American adults found of which more than half of participants said they believe miscarriage is usually uncommon, in addition to also nearly a quarter said they believe of which lifestyle choices are the most common cause of miscarriage. In fact, the majority of them are caused by genetic problems within the embryo. Twenty-eight percent of the participants who had experienced pregnancy loss said they felt some shame as a result, in addition to also roughly 40% reported feelings of guilt in addition to also loneliness.

Although efforts to strip miscarriage of its stigma go back decades, the movement has gotten a significant boost in recent years by social media. Women, in addition to also occasionally men, are increasingly turning to their online networks to disclose the details of the miscarriages. Feeds are populated with posts about how the item feels to miscarry in addition to also why talking about the item matters.
Some of these posts have come by celebrities like Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, nevertheless many are by ordinary women whose candor in addition to also vulnerability has led to tens of thousands of likes in addition to also shares. Facebook groups such as Miscarriage Mamas in addition to also Miscarriage in addition to also Pregnancy Loss, both of which have about 100,000 members, are places where women seek medical advice in addition to also suggestions on how to handle personal relationships affected by their miscarriages.
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This particular unprecedented atmosphere of candidness is usually helping women grieve their losses in addition to also, for some, pushing them to fight for structural adjustments to the way miscarriage is usually handled by workplaces in addition to also the medical system.

“Posts about pregnancy loss are often motivated by seeing various other people’s posts,” said Nazanin Andalibi, a social computing researcher in addition to also lead author of a brand-new study on how miscarriage is usually being discussed on social media. “When they see various other people talk about [miscarriage], the item makes them feel like there is usually less stigma in addition to also of which, if they post something too, they can expect to get some positive support.”

Andalibi said the women she interviewed hoped their stories might help forge a narrative around miscarriage in a culture relatively absent of them. For some, This particular is usually about how to process their feelings.

When Emily Fauver, a 26-year-old in Shreveport, Louisiana, miscarried in fall 2016, she felt very alone.

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“I decided to call my sister in addition to also aunt in addition to also tell them about the item, only to find out of which they had been through the item,” Fauver said.

Inspired by This particular revelation, she decided to share her miscarriage story on Facebook a few months later. “I remember being afraid to cry. I didn’t feel as if I deserved to cry because ‘I wasn’t of which far along,’ in addition to also ‘This particular happens all the time.’ I remember holding back the tears with every ounce of my being in addition to also not being able to look my husband within the face because I knew his pain might break me,” she wrote. The post at This particular point has 31,000 likes in addition to also nearly 40,000 shares.

“Writing of which post genuinely opened my eyes in addition to also helped me understand of which the way I am feeling is usually normal,” Fauver said.

Others, Andalibi said, talk about miscarriage in order to bring about societal change.

When Janie Faville, a 28-year-old in Kansas City, Missouri, miscarried early last year, she experienced — in addition to a host of various other emotions — sticker shock. Shortly after, she went on Facebook in addition to also shared her hospital bill for $1,369.57, writing, “Because people don’t talk about the item, I will. This particular is usually how much a miscarriage costs with Great insurance. This particular is usually why we need Planned Parenthood.” Faville shared the post with the Facebook group Pantsuit Nation, where the item received 10,000 likes.
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“I was shocked when I got the bill. How did I not know of which something This particular common is usually This particular much of a financial barrier for women?” Faville explained. She said she sees social media as powerful tool, “my generation’s edition of consciousness raising” — nevertheless don’t call her a slacktivist. She’s fighting for change offline as well in addition to also is usually pushing her employer to include pregnancy loss in its bereavement policy.
Jessica Zucker, psychologist in addition to also maternal mental health advocate in addition to also originator of the hashtag campaign #Ihadamiscarriage, said social media can help women figure out how to tell their miscarriage stories in person.

“within the aftermath of a miscarriage, many of us struggle with what to say in addition to also what to do,” Zucker said. “Many avoid talking about the item because they don’t want to scare various other women. nevertheless if we don’t talk about the item, then [various other women] are totally unprepared. We need to find ways to support pregnant women, no matter the outcome.”

This particular push toward transparency can also serve a political function, said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. When women tell their miscarriage stories, they help dismantle the notion of which women are to blame when something goes wrong using a pregnancy.

“There is usually the illusion of which pregnancy is usually a promise, rather than a possibility, in addition to also This particular mythology feeds into the politicization of pregnancy,” Paltrow said.

According to Paltrow, in countries where abortion is usually criminalized, many women who experience miscarriage are reported to the police in addition to also end up in jail. Though This particular happens far less frequently within the United States, there are instances here in which miscarriages have led to arrests or worse. Should personhood laws — which seek to classify embryos in addition to also fetuses as “persons” in addition to also grant them legal protections — pass, Paltrow expects of which the item will happen far more often.
Another positive outcome of the virtual miscarriage conversation is usually the fact of which the item gives women the chance to learn about the physical in addition to also psychological realities of miscarriage before they have one. Many women enter miscarriage unprepared, said Linda Layne, author of “Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss in America,” largely because doctors rarely discuss the circumstances of miscarriage until after they happen in addition to also because women rarely hear stories by their friends. For example, many are unaware of which women can go into labor during a miscarriage, even early ones. They also aren’t sure how to properly handle the remains.

“This particular is usually just a matter of a doctor saying, in advance, ‘This particular happens a lot; here is usually what to expect; here is usually how to prepare, in addition to also here is usually what the item might mean.’ This particular might help reduce the trauma, before they start bleeding all over the place,” Layne said.

Though the item’s still not common for women to hear This particular by their doctors, they are, increasingly, hearing the item by one another — online. Post by post, tweet by tweet, they are reversing centuries of stigma surrounding pregnancy loss, providing one another with both coping tools in addition to also the opportunity for some relief.

Elissa Strauss writes about the politics in addition to also culture of parenthood.

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