Bereavement => Losing a Child => Miscarriage, Stillborn and Infant Loss => Topic started by: Lost Soul on November 22, 2019, 08:51:45 PM

Title: Would you talk about your miscarriage on social media?
Post by: Lost Soul on November 22, 2019, 08:51:45 PM

Would you talk about your miscarriage on social media?
Rebecca Holman
18 August 2015 • 7:00am

I’ve never really understood how pregnant women manage to keep the news that they are, in fact, knocked up, a secret up until the 12 week mark.  I can’t even keep quiet about the fact that I’ve had a smear test, so if there was something that momentous going on with my body, I’d struggle to keep it to myself. Although I’m pretty sure the klaxon would go off pretty loudly the minute I started drinking soda water in the pub.  That said, I do get it. Why tempt fate by choosing to talk about a pregnancy when you don’t know what the outcome will be?

Sadly, one in four doesn’t make it to the 12-week mark. But then what?

If you miscarry before telling friends and colleagues, do you just keep your head down and stay quiet about the whole thing?

For many, this does seem to be the case how else do you account for the fact that miscarriage is such a rarely discussed topic, given how regularly it occurs?
That could be about to change.

Earlier this month, YouTube vloggers Sam and Nia Rader went viral when Sam made a video of him 'shocking' his wife by telling her she was pregnant  (he’d fished some of her wee out of the toilet with a pipette without her knowing and put it on a pregnancy test yeah, me neither).  A few days letter, a second video of the tearful couple telling the world that Nia had then lost the baby garnered over four million views.  Public responses have ranged from sympathy to incredulity about the whole thing.  But what it has achieved is to put miscarriage back on the agenda and shine a spotlight on the number of bloggers, vloggers and social media users who are now openly discussing topics around fertility.  Take Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who, earlier this month, announced that his wife Priscilla was pregnant, having previously suffered three miscarriages.  ‘It’s a lonely experience.  We hope that sharing our experience will give more people the same hope we felt and will help more people feel comfortable sharing their stories,’ he wrote.

Zuckerberg’s decision to speak out prompted debate around how we talk about miscarriage or don’t. Indeed, we probably discuss Irritable Bowel Syndrome more (which affects one in five people).

• Mark Zuckerberg Facebook admission: 7 myths about miscarriage busted

• Miscarriage: It's time for this secret club of women to break the taboo

Ruth Bender Atik, national director of the Miscarriage Association believes that the rise of vlogging around miscarriage can only be a good thing.  “I think there are huge positives in the development of blogging and vlogging on the topic of miscarriage,” she tells me.

“The first is that it’s ordinary people talking not that Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t sharing genuine feelings, but it’s often easier to identify with someone who could easily be a friend or relative”.

Emma, 30, agrees. When she went through her first miscarriage at nine weeks, she was shocked.  “I didn't realise that these things happened to healthy women who were ready for a family hearing about it more in the media could have prepared me or made me aware of just how common it was,” she says.

For Emma, her first miscarriage (she went on to have a second at 13 weeks) was a ‘lonely’ experience but would Sam and Nia Rader’s public display of emotion have helped her in any way, had she seen it on YouTube?

She admits that she can relate to the couple’s emotions but thinks “some moments should be privately shared with family and close friends and not posted publically."

• 'Mum said it was for the best'. Why young women need miscarriage support fast

Lillia*, 33, takes a different view.  After her second miscarriage (at her 12-week scan she discovered that she had lost the baby at eight weeks), she decided to post about it on Facebook.  “When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I then started to miscarry two days later, so no-one knew,” she explains. “So when I found I was pregnant again, I kept it to myself.  But [after the second miscarriage] I was devastated. I decided I couldn’t cope with pretending I was fine this time, so I posted what had happened to me on Facebook.  It was hard, as I am quite private. But I’ve received amazing support, and messages and huge emotional help. Telling all my friends was the right thing to do. I think, if I am ever lucky enough to be pregnant again, I will tell people early, so they are ready to support me if the worst happens.”

But, Lillia does feel that our widespread reticence to discuss miscarriage has put people off discussing it with her, despite her public declaration.  “I still need to talk, and that is where the taboo needs to be broken down we need to feel like it’s ok to share our darkest thoughts and emotions and confusion with our friends. It’s taken me three weeks to feel I want to talk about it, but I think some of my friends are still wary about bringing it up because it’s seen as such a sensitive topic”.

• Sex, wine or stress? How I mistakenly blamed myself for my miscarriage

Psychologist Ben Voyer agrees that the opportunity for women to share their experiences of miscarriage can be invaluable.  “For many, it also helps with accepting that they are not responsible for what happened. Since you are sharing online with a large community, you receive responses from people who had similar experiences. This is very comforting.”

But are a couple of YouTube clips and a Facebook status really enough to revolutionise the discussion around miscarriage?

Is that all it takes to break a taboo down these days?

“The internet has changed the way we perceive and share information,” says Voyer. “The first person to blog is one that will shift the boundaries and become some sort of an ‘official’ spokesperson online. Then people jump in. Interestingly, it doesn’t mean the taboo will be lifted, and it could be something temporary, before people go back to being quieter on the topic.”

While Zuckerberg’s announcement prompted discussion, it also drew derision one sample comment on Facebook: ‘Thanks for sharing that incredibly personal information with your 10m closest friends, losers.’

And the Raders have been accused of leveraging their miscarriage for profit (when they’re not being accused of setting up the whole thing, which seems like a particularly cynical stance to take, even by modern standards).  More conversation and honesty around miscarriage can only be a good thing and anything that raises awareness of the issue is a positive.  But even in this increasingly public world, watching the Rader’s video still made me feel uncomfortable as though I was spying on something I shouldn’t.  Grief is an intently personal thing, and to be there with a stranger right at the moment when their worst nightmare is playing out around them, feels deeply intrusive to me.  So while I hope YouTube vloggers will help us talk about miscarriage more, I wouldn’t want it to become an online trend? That feels a bit too cynical to me.

*Name has been changed