January 4th, 2015 changed my life forever. I was 10 weeks pregnant when the bleeding started. The next day, I miscarried. Living 1000 miles away from my hometown of Pine Bush, N.Y., away from friends and family alike didn’t make the loss any easier. I only told a handful of them I was pregnant because I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought, once I get my first sonogram picture, I’ll share it with everyone.
But I never got that chance. I never heard a heartbeat.
It’s been three months and 16 days since I left that emergency room in Carbondale, I.L. I sat in my car for 45 minutes and sobbed. I knew death was hard after losing my mother when I was young, but having it be something that was created out of love took it to an entirely different level. This is the first time I’m speaking about what happened to me. Other than a few family members and friends, I was alone in this. It never got easier—loss rarely does.
In the weeks following my miscarriage, I noticed more and more sonogram photos filling up my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Name any other social media site, and I’m sure I could find a sonogram photo on it. Each post I saw felt like that person was twisting the knife a little deeper in my chest. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. But what pressed me more was my desire to ask them to take it down.
Before the age of social media, pregnancy was different. I remember family members who only spread the word that they were expecting among a small circle of people. It was sacred—something that was supposed to be for the people you cared about most in your life.
Now, it seems that pregnancy is something to be advertised among every social media outlet possible. It’s about posting a photo to inform the people who may not be close to you, but are still in your general network of friends. People show their support in the forms of “Likes” or “Shares.” In that respect, it’s efficient and great. But to someone like me, it’s a painful reminder with each and every post that I didn’t have that moment. I never got to see my baby on a sonogram. I never even heard its first heartbeat.
Everyday, I think, “I would’ve been (insert amount here) months pregnant.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m truly happy for every person who gets to experience the beginnings of motherhood. When a friend or family tells me they’re expecting, I’m ecstatic for them. But when someone who’s expecting posts photos of sonograms like they’re going out of style, do they think about how people like myself feel? Do they think about the people who’ve lost a child? Do they think about the people who have been trying for years to have a baby without success?
The answer is no. Most people don’t take that into consideration when posting these photos. They’re happy—why should they worry about something so negative? And after these three, almost four months, I think I’ve found an answer to that.
Social media is a great way to reach out to people. It’s a quick and easy way to tell your friends and family about the big events in your life. People are praised for positive stories. It’s what we all want to hear; stories of happiness; stories of success; stories of new beginnings. But no one wants to hear a complaint from someone who is so deeply saddened by such a positive thing. It’s why I haven’t spoken out about what’s happened to me.
Posting something like miscarriage or infertility isn’t “Facebook worthy material.” It’s something private, something that I would never wish upon anyone, and something most people would never want talk about.
So, why would I share it? Because something needs to be said for the people like me. I’m tired of hiding my past because I feel like social media muddles true feelings and empathy. A “Like” or a “Share” won’t change what happened to me. But someone who comes to me and tells me in person how sorry they are, is what really matters and what should be the social norm.
So in the future, when you’re thinking about posting that photo of your sonogram, think about the people like me who are suffering in silence because they don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade and please give the old fashioned way a try.
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