This week, two very different high-profile women shared very similar announcements with their social media followers. CNN correspondent Dianne Gallagher and reality TV star Joy-Anna Duggar Forsyth both revealed that they recently suffered pregnancy losses.
Gallagher used Twitter to announce she recently lost the twins she was carrying. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Duggar took to Instagram to explain that she'd lost her baby before her 20-week scan.
In her heartbreakingly honest Twitter thread, Gallagher revealed that she is still bleeding following her miscarriage last week. She's also still seeing ads for baby products every time she looks at her phone.
"I didn't plan on publicly discussing the loss of our twins... but the silence & lack of 'real' information surrounding losing a pregnancy made me feel isolated, exacerbating one of the most physically & emotionally excruciating times of my life," Gallagher wrote.
In her grief and in an effort to find practical information, she turned to internet forums like Reddit, where fellow mothers had described pregnancy loss and told the stories we rarely hear offline.
"Your raw, honest descriptions—even photos—from your miscarriages, got me through the scariest moments of mine THANK YOU for going beyond the woefully inadequate 'severe cramps & some bleeding' explanation," Gallagher noted on Twitter.
A similar conversation was unfolding on Instagram, where Duggar detailed what happened with her pregnancy, and how she is now mourning the loss of the child she had named Annabell Elise.
Jessica McCormack, a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice at The Self Care Path, previously spoke to Motherly about pregnancy loss and why some women choose to talk about it on social media.
According to McCormack, marking one's miscarriage with social media post can be a good way for a mother to invite people to support her in her time of need. "It also reduces the stigma by bringing to light that it is completely normal for women to experience something like this," she explained.
That's exactly why these women, and others like Hilaria Baldwin, who gave frequent updates as she miscarried earlier this year, are making these announcements so publicly.
"I want to share with you that I am most likely experiencing a miscarriage," Baldwin wrote back in April. "I always promised myself that if I were to get pregnant again, I would share the news with you guys pretty early, even if that means suffering a public loss."
Baldwin spoke out about her decision to share this information with her Instagram followers in real time, and eventually, she confirmed her pregnancy was over.
"Even before I got pregnant, I thought about what it would be like to have to share news like this. Having a miscarriage would hurt if I went through it in silence and it would hurt if I lost the pregnancy in front of everybody, I realized. At least sharing my story might help me and other women dealing with a miscarriage to find support," she told Glamour.
This experience is unfortunately common, as Baldwin told Glamour.
"Pregnancy loss is a topic that touches almost everyone—10 to 25% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage. I'm not surprised at how common they are. Almost every single one of my friends has experienced some kind of struggle with infertility or miscarriage," she said.
We thank women like Baldwin, Duggar and Gallagher for making these kinds of announcements because no mother should have to feel alone when suffering pregnancy loss, and hearing these stories lets women know they are not alone.
We wish these women could have made the social media announcements they were expecting to make, but we are grateful for their honesty.
[A version of this post was originally published April 4, 2019. It has been updated.]