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Shame on Sharing

Shame on Sharing

Shame on Sharing

Written By
Anna Gannon

Anna Gannon

July 30, 2018

I was the third person to know my best friend was pregnant.

First was her husband. Second was her yoga teacher in response to, “is anyone pregnant?” [in the class].

Then the following day after eating brunch, she said, “I can’t keep this in, I’m pregnant.”

After the initial excitement of the news subsided, I couldn’t help but ask her why she was telling me this information. “Aren’t you not supposed to tell anyone that you’re pregnant until you’re three months in?” I asked.

“If something was to happen, I’d want you to know. I’d want you to be with me during that time.” she said.
Those were words I didn’t expect to hear.

Yes, of course I would be there with her but I hadn’t thought about the fact that so many women don’t tell their friends and family that they’re pregnant for three months because of the fear of disappointment.

My best friend was beyond excited so she wanted to share. She also knew there was no chance she could keep a secret from me for three months. She knew it was going to come out and why not tell me immediately so we could celebrate together.

Miscarriages, complications and other challenges happen throughout pregnancies and there’s an unspoken stigma around sharing this information with people. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), 15-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriages within the first trimester.

There’s shame.

“Why does my body continue to fail me? Does this make me a fit wife? Does this make me a fit mother?” are questions that Lizz Choi, co-founder of Onnix Bags and startup consultant asked herself after having a miscarriage.

Lizz (along with many women) start to doubt themselves. They doubt their body and their capabilities. Lizz shares her story because she recognizes how many women walk around silently shaming themselves. By sharing she knows she can empower other women to share as well, and not carry the emotional burden alone.

On Valentine’s Day another friend sent an email letting me know that she had miscarried. She wanted to share with her closest girlfriends and acknowledged the stigma around the topic. She didn’t want to hide. She wanted to be supported. She wanted the people who loved her the most to be there for her and help her through this difficult time.

“Many couples are not as open with this information as we are, and understandably do not share the news as freely. But that also means that the loss happens in silence, and I can only imagine the unspoken pain and sadness that is held inside without anywhere to go.” she wrote.

My friend who lost her baby shortly before Valentine’s Day recognized that by telling her girlfriends about her situation, she would be supported and encourage others to come out and acknowledge that they’ve been there too.

What value does keeping silent bring to your life?

What do you get from holding in a secret? From holding in your emotions?

Gretchen Fox is co-founder of social media agency, [made to order] specializing in helping clients refine their message and content for authenticity and emotional connection. The challenge is that often when it comes to social media, most people make their lives out to be perfect and unrealistic.

Someone recently showed me a mommy blog and said, “Look, they have a perfect life. They have it all.” The thing is, we don’t know what happens behind closed doors– what are the things happening that they don’t share on the blog? Social media has become a highlight reel of people’s lives. They’re not showing every aspect of their lives — only the positive times. Research shows that people’s reactions to social media have led to anxiety, depression and anger issues

“When the dark times come, we stay silent. And those who don’t stay silent are considered ‘downers’, unworthy of our newsfeed. And the consequences of our lack of knowing how to share when we are in our darkest places is worth acknowledging. I have recently come to believe that it’s setting us up for isolation and limiting our abilities to connect when it matters most.” said Fox.

Facebook opens people up to criticism and unwanted advice. You have to in a sense be ready to take on other people’s viewpoints if you choose to post on social media about some of the dark times in your life. People expect to see cute puppies, cute babies, engagement shoots and vacation photos. They don’t expect to learn about miscarriages and pregnancy complications.

“My general rule of thumb is this: go with your gut. There is no right or wrong answer as pertains to when or when not to share the amazing news of a new pregnancy. The same people that will support you in your joy, are the same ones you may need to console you if things don’t quite turn out as planned.” Says Dr. Angela of askdrangela.com

I’m really happy that my best friend told me she was pregnant so early on because I was able to enjoy the whole nine months of her pregnancy and now life with her adorable son. I care about her so much, and really appreciate that she told her closest friends and family, knowing that if something would have happened — there would be a lot of loved ones there to support her.

Anna Gannon
Anna Gannon
Anna is a mother, writer, and a yoga and meditation teacher. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen and Yoga Today.