Tommy’s launches #TogetherForChange campaign to tackle stigma around baby loss
One in four women lose a baby during pregnancy or birth, and yet for those affected, it can be difficult to find others to talk to. This isolation can make the grieving process even more painful, as can the myth of the ‘perfect pregnancy’ that is spread through social media.
#TogetherForChange – the campaign to end stigma around baby loss
Tommy’s is a baby charity that campaigns for greater research, awareness and support around baby loss. The #TogetherForChange campaign calls for more open dialogue and challenges the stigma of silence around the subject. It also highlights the effects of social media on those affected.
The role of social media following miscarriage
A Tommy’s poll of 1,116 women about the effects of social media following baby loss has shown the internet can be a positive and supportive place. 84% of women in the Tommy’s survey feel there is an online community after baby loss and 45% found support and/or made new friends after connecting with other parents who have gone through loss on social media.
However, they survey also showed some starker facts about social media. Of the respondents who had experienced miscarriage or a stillbirth, 70% said that they felt guilty; 77% felt angry and 80% felt jealously towards pregnant friends.
Jennie Agg, author of The Uterus Monologues who has experienced recurrent miscarriage, said, “it’s very hard to see people posting on social media how hard parenting is, or how none of their clothes fit and I can only think ‘I wish that was me’.”
Insensitive pregnancy advertising
57% of respondents to Tommy’s survey were upset to be targeted by online pregnancy adverts. One participant revealed “It is so painful to receive pregnancy reminders after the death of your baby. ‘You are now 28 weeks pregnant and the baby is the size of a butternut squash!’. No, my baby is dead.”
Over 66% of respondents also felt bombarded by news stories around pregnancy following the loss of their baby.
Many high-profile celebrities and social media influencers are supporting Tommy’s #TogetherForChange campaign. One of these is the author and radio presenter Anna Whitehouse. Her Instagram profile, @motherpukka, offers a candid account of motherhood, including the struggles as well as the joys of parenting.
Anna, who is a mum of two, has had five miscarriages. She said: “[Miscarriages] happen to one in four. I think that’s the bit that I struggled with. I couldn’t find that one in four out there. I felt like I was that one on an island, grieving for a person when I was being told, ‘No, it’s not a person – it’s a jumble of cells.’”
Her candidness has prompted other women to start sharing their own experiences, shedding light on the potential benefits of social media as a source of support. The key, according to Anna, is to surround yourself online with the right people. “I think the power of social media, the power of sharing, [is to] find people who can lift you up,” she said. You can read more about Anna’s story in a BBC article on the subject.
For advice on how to reduce the impact of your smartphone on your mental health, read our blog, Six digital tips for better mental health in the smartphone age.