#IHadAMiscarriage: Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Share Your Pregnancy News
It’s 2017. It’s the height of the information age. Most of us carry tiny computers (aka smartphones) around in our pockets, barely unplugging to go to sleep at night. Even the savviest among us can find out almost anything we want to know in less than 10 minutes using Google and a little creativity. Why, then, does so much false information and mythology still persist?
Particularly when it comes to reproductive topics — from run-of-the-mill menstrual health to conception to pregnancy — there is a lot of misinformation, and a tendency to hold onto old wives’ tales, too.
That’s definitely true when it comes to miscarriages and deciding when — or when not — to announce one’s pregnancy. Tradition holds that women wait until after their first trimester because they are less likely to miscarry at that point. Other reasons for deciding to wait include warding off unwanted advice for as long as possible, and fear of professional repercussions.
All of those are valid concerns; however, the flip side of keeping your pregnancy a secret is that if something goes wrong — if you do have a miscarriage — you suffer mostly in silence. Maybe a few close friends and family members know — your partner knows — but you likely have to go through the process of grieving and mourning the loss of your child alone. There’s no outpouring of support or condolences for the life that most people in your life didn’t know about. Add to that the social stigma, leaving many women to contend with feelings of shame and embarrassment on top of their grief.
Dr. Jessica Zucker set out to change that a few years ago. Zucker, who experienced a second-trimester miscarriage in 2012, launched #IHadAMiscarriage in 2014, hoping to end the silence and isolation that mire miscarriages.
“It’s so embedded in our culture to not talk about grief and avoid it at all costs; it’s saying you should stay silent about your joy because if it becomes grief you shouldn’t share it. Share your news if you want to. Enjoy the joy; but know we need to feel supported whether it’s in the joy or if you find out you’re having a miscarriage,” she told Refinery29.
Zucker expands the project each year on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, Oct. 15. So far it includes an Instagram account and hashtag to share stories, a line of greeting cards about miscarriages, T-shirts, and pins.
This year, Zucker wanted to offer something free: a line of downloadable posters with illustrator Kimothy Joy.
According to Zucker’s website, “In 2017, the campaign zeroed in on the normative cultural standard that advises women to wait to share pregnancy news until they are ‘out of the woods’ after the first trimester. For those who have experienced later losses, we know too well that there isn’t a predictable timeframe with regard to loss. This construct essentially translates into ‘don’t share your good news in case it becomes bad news so that you won’t have to share the bad news.’ Furthering the silence and isolation that shrouds pregnancy and infant loss, it’s time to rethink the way we embrace all birth outcomes and the grief that may accompany it.”
What do you think? Should we continue to abide by the first-trimester rule? Is it time to foster conversation and embrace a more open, less isolated attitude toward pregnancy loss? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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