According to the nonprofit maternal- and infant-health organization March of Dimes, 10 to 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, with most pregnancy loss happening in the first trimester, before the 12th week of pregnancy. “Miscarriage is a traumatic and life-altering experience for women and families,” says Amanda Kallen, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist with Yale Fertility Center’s Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program. “What compounds the sense of loss and grief is the fact that women still face enormous stigma and shame when they suffer a pregnancy loss and are often not encouraged to talk about their experience and loss. This can lead to isolation and disconnection at a time when women need more support than ever.” In treating patients, Kallen is able to draw from her own experience not just in navigating the initial physical and mental hurdles of miscarrying but also the psychosocial implications—particularly as they pertain to the workplace. After the birth of her son, Kallen went on to experience two pregnancy losses while balancing a job and found workplace support to fall short in both instances.
Last week, New Zealand’s parliament unanimously approved legislation that gives couples who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth three days of paid leave. In joining the small ranks of countries that offer miscarriage bereavement leave, such as India and the Philippines, and in turn helping to pave the way for others to follow suit, the island country was lauded. Given the COVID-19 pandemic’s dramatic impact on maternal health—according to a study published Wednesday, there has been a global increase in stillbirths, maternal mortality, and maternal depression—New Zealand’s groundbreaking law has sparked a global conversation. Stateside, many are wondering: Why doesn’t the U.S., one of the most developed countries in the world, have policies in place to support parents who experience a pregnancy loss?
Paltrow’s iconic appeal has something to do with this sort of honesty about who she is—a luxury she wants every woman to enjoy. “When we started Goop from the content perspective, we really wanted to challenge social norms that existed around silencing women, encouraging women not to ask difficult questions, and things that really kept shame over people. So we go there. We like to talk about things, open it up. We really want to eliminate shame,” says Paltrow, whose last step is a swipe of Ilia lip gloss. “We really believe that women are the most powerful, beautiful creatures on earth. And the closer that we are to ourselves, the better off we all are.”
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