Wisconsin Woman on Twitter: 'Thank Goodness' for Miscarriage

Lisa Neal Gualtieri, adjunct clinical professor of the health communication program at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and an expert in social media and public health, said that while many people are aware that they are sharing personal health information through social networks like Twitter or blogs, they may not realize the effect their attitude toward a health condition may have on other readers.

"When you move to electronic ways of communication in general, there is a sense of emotional detachment even though emotions are being expressed," said Gualtieri. "Twitter is interesting because it's so public, and so immediate, and it's so contained; you're not going into detail, and it can be highly emotional."

According to Gualtieri, social media technology has introduced new ways to view health conditions that many people may not otherwise openly discuss.

"It's making a health issue, or opinions regarding a health issue, more of the common vernacular," she said. "But for all the talk about privacy online with these types of sites, this is a way you're being very public about health information."

Trunk, who bases her career on the use of social media, said that older and younger generation of social media users have different ideas of what information is acceptable to share online.

"My personal brand is transparency in the workplace," she said. "If there is a personal issue that is taking you away from work, then it becomes a career issue."

In fact, Trunk said, her tweet is her own experiential example of the advice she gives her readers about exercising transparency and honesty in the workplace.

"If you're pregnant or have had a miscarriage, you should tell your boss," she said. "Top performers [in careers] are communicative, so to tell my board that I'm going to Chicago to get an abortion, that's a no-brainer."

Miscarriage Not Uncommon, Doctors Say

Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The American Pregnancy Association reports that women ages 35 to 45 have a 20 to 35 percent chance of miscarriage, and the chances of miscarriage increase as women get older.

According to Wetzler, while many people may commonly associate miscarriage with feelings of disappointment or even despair, many women are ambivalent immediately after their experience.

"Miscarriage is enormously frequent, and in a vast majority of cases it's not met with depression," said Wetzler. "I think [miscarriage] is a natural and common medical event, and like other common and medical things, there are a multitude of reactions, some of which may be relief, disappointment and the realization that pregnancy is a risk."

The context of experiencing a miscarriage also factors into how a woman will react, he said. Generally, women who are older or who have been trying to get pregnant for many years may feel more upset than women who have had a miscarriage after already having a child.

And while many women express their reaction in different ways, Wetzler said for some women, sharing the news with an online community may feel just as comforting as sharing the news with family or close friends.

"The notion that it's shameful or personal to talk about your health in any capacity is unfair," he said.

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