In the past year, I’ve increasingly seen more people discussing online about their pregnancy loss. But, there’s been an addition to their posts / messages / tweets. It focuses on how they are bombarded with advertisements on pregnancy, and baby related content after their loss. I am writing this blog post today in hope that sharing my story will encourage designers, and the teams they are in to think about the content and products they create.
On holiday in March, we found out I was pregnant. To feel prepared I googled everything about pregnancy/babies. I downloaded a ridiculous amount of apps. I made inspiration boards, and I made lists of things I wanted to buy. I subscribed to multiple competitions and content, and I made my partner scroll through potential names. I shared the news with close members of my family and my best friends. And then my miscarriage began. It lasted over 2 weeks. We tried to intervene. But, when we returned to Australia in April, it was confirmed I miscarried. I was also diagnosed with PCOS; meaning it’s potentially difficult to get pregnant, and there’s a higher chance of miscarriage.
Did you know that 25% of pregnancies within the 1st trimester end in miscarriage?
One of the first things I did after our miscarriage was confirmed was try and hide as much pregnancy related content as possible; as it gave me a sense of control in a situation where I had none. But, it was impossible to hide everything. Still 5 months later sometimes i’ll see an advertisement, and my mood will switch. I’ll suddenly burst into tears or get angry. Below are a few of the situations I encountered. I hope that teams working on these adverts, content, and products can think about solutions for them:
How advertisements still follow you around after you miscarry; as a result of looking at a pregnancy or baby related product.
How marketing emails come through via lists you’ve subscribed to, competitions you’ve entered, or apps you’ve joined. A big shout out to the teams who have added toggles in their apps to turn off any pregnancy related content, and made it easy to delete your account!
How pregnancy test advertisements display before YouTube videos. Those 5 seconds feel much longer than they are! It’s so uncomfortable, especially around others. It often leads to “Are you trying?” conversations, even at work.
How scrolling through your social media feeds (e.g. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook) are constantly filled with pregnancy/baby adverts that you need to individually hide/report; and how once you’ve hidden the pregnancy adverts you start seeing weight loss adverts.
We need to change as a society and have conversations around pregnancy loss, and how this affects us.
We need to do better as designers, product managers, marketing teams, and developers. We need to rethink, reimagine and design better ads around pregnancy, babies, and weight loss. We need to think about exit flows when content is no longer relevant. We need to think about each and every little bit of content we create, and how it affects those around us.
Thanks to my partner, my family, friends, managers, co-workers who have offered support, and those who have shared their stories about pregnancy loss with me. Thanks to those who have encouraged me to share my story over the last couple of months. We’re still healing, and I’m definitely not done crying. Hearing your stories and words of support means so much to me!