After The Pain Of My Miscarriage, Bieber's Fake Pregnancy Prank Just Isn't Funny
Wow. Have I become a spokesperson for miscarriage or early pregnancy loss?
Not on purpose, no. But if sharing my story and the shock and grief of my miscarriage helps people understand why old mate Justin Bieber’s latest Instagram post caused international havoc, then I will continue to do so, and implore you to do the same.
Here’s why talking about miscarriage and early pregnancy loss is important.
As you may or may not be aware, Justin Bieber posted a couple of Instagram photos implying his wife Hailey Baldwin was pregnant with their first baby -- before revealing it was all just an April Fools' prank.
It was a bit… off. Especially the puppy in the womb shot.
A 'fake pregnancy' joke -- which is bound to be triggering for women who have faced infertility, pregnancy loss and miscarriage -- is never funny. And walking a few steps in someone's shoes is essential. Particularly around this issue.
But surprisingly, I get it. Bieber and Baldwin just got married, they would have been asked a gazillion times if they were having a baby, and as a self-confessed “prankster”, Biebs was looking for a cheap LOL.
But if I sit here and try to understand his life, here are a few things that he should realise about mine.
The confronting part of this story is that I too was like him once. I didn’t understand the severity of a joke or a comment until I had experienced pregnancy loss myself.
Maybe a year ago I would have laughed and thought the backlash Bieber has copped was extreme, just like his pretty flimsy apology suggested.
“Take a joke,” they say. “Lighten up,” they say.
Why is it always women's issues or feelings that provoke this response?
Because mostly it's a reaction to issues that men -- or others without certain lived experience -- can't comprehend. Some of them never will. (And half their luck!) And while that’s not anybody's fault, it’s time we address that just because you don’t understand something, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to.
Did I realise before I miscarried that I would cry a deep howl like no other when my baby's due date approached? No.
I also didn’t know that even if I was “early” into my pregnancy when I miscarried, and my baby hadn’t quite become (in other people’s minds) a “baby,” that I would feel such a sense of loss. Trust me, it confused me too. The pain of grieving someone you have never met is harrowing and surprising.
READ MORE: When The Baby I Never Met Told Me Her Name
I don't think anyone who hasn't known that kind of pain can imagine how severe it is, or that because of it, those of us who have felt it would one day find Bieber's joke so unfunny.
Biebs, we didn’t know that a piece of us would be lost forever. We didn't know we would give our babies names that we had saved for children who we desperately wanted to live -- names that we thought we would yell out across a park, names for children we'd sing 'Happy Birthday' to.
There are so many things that we didn’t know we would feel.
So while I'll try to have compassion for you and your interest in life as a "prankster", more than anything, I have sympathy for you, and the fact you didn’t know better.
Because the real joke here is -- neither did we.
No one tells you about the pain. And sometimes it is too hard to talk about it again. But here I am doing exactly that, because everyone needs to know that miscarriage is no joke. That early pregnancy loss isn’t funny. And while miscarriage and early pregnancy loss may not have been spoken about much in the past -- just like many women’s issues, experiences and emotions -- that that time has ended.
And with that, I hope that these kinds of jokes -- the kind that can be triggering, insensitive and damaging -- can be carefully considered before they are put into the public domain.
You might still want to go ahead Biebs. That’s up to you.
But I don’t think you knew to consider it, and so next time I hope that you and many others do.
Stacey June is an Ambassador for Pink Elephant Support. For anyone experiencing grief or pain from early pregnancy loss, head to its website for support -- https://pinkelephantssupport.com/.