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There are as many different approaches to parenting as there are parents, and the same goes for when and how people announce a pregnancy. This was perhaps never more evident than last week when YouTube vloggers Sam and Nia posted a video wherein he revealed to her that she was pregnant. The video, which now has over 11 million views, shows Sam dipping a pregnancy test into the toilet where Nia had some unflushed pee.
Then came the sad news over the weekend, via another vlog, that Nia miscarried.
When I took my first-ever pregnancy test eight years ago (and then the second through 10th within the next 10 minutes), I screamed for my husband to join me in the bathroom. After we got over the shock—from the positive test, and that I'd blown a small fortune by taking 10 of them in 11 minutes—we called my parents and then his mom.
While I was bursting at the seams to shout from the rooftops, I was less enthusiastic at the prospect of remembering who I'd need to un-tell if the time came again.
When the pregnancy proved not to be viable shortly thereafter, the only people I had to tell were my parents and mother-in-law. The next two times when I was pregnant and then miscarried, it was the same thing.
By the time I got pregnant for the fourth time, which was with my first daughter, who is now 7, I didn't reveal news of the pregnancy to anyone until I was four months along. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, who is almost 4, it was nearly five months into it before I spilled the beans publicly. The way I saw it, while I was bursting at the seams to shout from the rooftops, I was less enthusiastic at the prospect of remembering who I'd need to un-tell if the time came again.
Times have certainly changed since my first miscarriage. Sure, the Internet existed then, but there were hardly as many sites for expectant parents as there are today, and there wasn't yet an explosion of mom blogs. When I quietly told a few close friends about my losses, I started to learn how shockingly common miscarriages are. It was eye-opening to me, though, since no one really talked about it.
Nia vlogged at her surprise, too, about how commonplace miscarriages are. While it's still not exactly water-cooler fodder, the difference now is that it's easier to find support through the Internet and blogs (and vlogs). Regardless of the information being more widespread, while some people find comfort in hearing from family, friends and even strangers when coping with loss, others still prefer to tighten up their circle and only reveal what's happening to a limited group.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg revealed to his 33 million followers (so, basically, the world) on July 31 that he and wife Priscilla Chan are expecting their first baby—also after enduring three miscarriages. What stuck with me in Zuckerberg's message was:
"Most people don't discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you—as if you're defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.
In today's open and connected world, discussing these issues doesn't distance us; it brings us together. It creates understanding and tolerance, and it gives us hope."
I'll admit to my own surprise when watching Sam and Nia's video last week at how open they were so publicly—and in front of their children—so early on. I cringed at the idea of them telling their children that the pregnancy was gone. Or rather, I cringed at imagining me telling my children if I'd lost a pregnancy. Sam and Nia take comfort in the kindness of strangers and God, while I tend to find more peace during tragedy in having some silence.
There's no right or wrong way to announce pregnancies or discuss miscarriages. If the reactions to Sam and Nia and Mark and Priscilla are any indication, though, we've come a long way in how we announce the additions to our family and place trust in those around us to provide comfort in our darkest moments. To each their own, although it's heartening to see that many don't have to go it alone as much anymore.