Twitter is a cesspool. Believe it or not, that’s one of the first things that comes up when you search Google for information about the popular social media site. So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised when I got bullied there for being a bereaved mom. But despite everything, I still like to think of the best in people. I still like to think that no one would sink so low to harass a mom for losing her child. Sadly, Twitter the cesspool proved me wrong…
It all started when a reporter asked on Twitter for what kinds of information women need when pregnant. Immediately I thought, “Hey! I’m an expert on that! I wrote a book about it!” Right away I see some mother has posted several times about how women shouldn’t be given scary information about c-sections and NICUs. She says she was pregnant with twins and everyone had a horror story. Without saying what happened to me, I make the mistake of responding:
And so it began…. She told me that negative outcomes were incredibly rare. When I give her the 1 in 4 statistics (plus some further information on where that stat comes from), she immediately attacks my profession, too. Apparently, a miscarriage rate of 12.2%, a stillbirth rate of 4.4%, a neonatal loss rate of 4.6%, and an induced abortion rate of 4% doesn’t add up to 1 in 4. (True, it adds up to 25.2% which is slightly higher, but you know, rounding…)
Further, she goes on to brag to her friends that she was feeling snarky today. So I left one last parting remark and blocked her.
I’m still glad that the majority of women have a positive pregnancy experience. But I don’t think hiding the truth about loss is a good way to achieve that.
Related: When Your Grief Is Attacked
Instead, let’s give women the information they need to make informed decisions. We’re adults. We’re smart, capable, and intelligent. If we’re struggling emotionally with anxiety or fear, give us coping strategies; do not hide the truth. And let’s make sure every woman can share her story, whether it is gloriously uplifting or heartbreakingly sad. There is room in our lives for the full range of human emotions and not talking about death won’t make it go away.
Maybe you’ve been bullied online, too? If you have, you don’t have to take it. Block people. Unfriend them. Reach out to those who support you. There are more of us than you think!
Images courtesy of Amanda Ross-White
Amanda Ross-White is the proud mother of four beautiful children, including her twin boys Nate and Sam, who were stillborn in 2007. She is eternally grateful to watch her rainbow children, daughter Rebecca and son Alex, grow around her. She is also the author of Joy at the End of the Rainbow: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Loss, which won second place in the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Awards (Consumer Health).