Thank You, Mark and Priscilla, for Sharing About Pregnancy Loss

by Anna Almendrala via HuffPost

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are finally pregnant with a healthy baby after three miscarriages, and the way they announced their joy — by acknowledging the pain it took to get there — gave hope to me and millions of other women who have experienced pregnancy loss. It also helped me decide once and for all to go public about my own miscarriage and to look back at notes I had written to myself back in April when the loss was still fresh.

Back then, I was writing an article in which the researcher, a miscarriage scientist named Dr. Zev Williams, explained how damaging myths around miscarriages can be. Most notable was the assumption that losing a pregnancy was somehow somebody’s fault. This idea of culpability, in turn, is a huge part of why women are advised not to announce their pregnancies before 12 weeks.
“Implicit in keeping an early pregnancy secret,” he’d written to me, “is the notion that if there is a miscarriage, you wouldn’t want anyone to know.”
When I interviewed him, I had just miscarried at around eight weeks. After a joyous day seeing the heartbeat flicker on the ultrasound in early April, we returned for a check-up to find our little one still shrimp-like, slumped against the wall of its placenta.

“Because your embryo made it to the heart beat stage, we know it tried really, really hard to live,” my doctor said. My chest swelled and I felt like a proud mother. I squeezed my husband’s hand and saved my tears for the elevator.

On the drive home I started shooting off emails immediately: to my editor, the handful of co-workers I had told, a circle of close girlfriends. We called our parents and told them the sad news. Siblings got text messages. And so it went throughout the days that followed; I’d be sitting in a daze on the couch and suddenly remember that more people needed telling. “You told John! Now you have to tell him about the miscarriage,” or “Justin knew!”

“God-fucking-dammit,” my husband would say, gritting his teeth as he tapped out more emails. Simon, who is naturally an anxious and cautious person, had fretted every time I told someone new about the pregnancy. And now that our worst fears had come true, he was more than a little resentful of the burden of telling so many people about the miscarriage. I felt ashamed. I didn’t think I could have prevented the loss, but I knew I had broken the rules and made things worse for us.

“This is why you don’t tell people,” I repeated to myself in my prim, self-punishing way. “Next time, you’ll know better.”

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