Miscarriage affects one in four pregnancies, yet it's often a hidden, isolating pain for women. The TODAY Show has more than 60 years of history as a trusted news brand, and TODAY Parents has used that trusted platform to create a supportive community for parents. So we decided to tackle the taboo of miscarriage and infant loss, inviting women (and men) to tell their stories on our community platform, the TODAY Parenting Team. TODAY Parents elevated and amplified those stories on our platforms and across our social network, adding our reported stories to bring the full newsgathering resources of the TODAY Show to bear on a topic that is so deeply important to so many. We found that the experience of seeing their stories honored, shared and amplified by the TODAY Show was profoundly uplifting for parents who had gone through miscarriage and infant loss, and personal stories about miscarriage are among our most shared and engaging stories on social media.
We launched a community challenge in the TODAY Parenting Team asking our community of parents to share their stories of miscarriage and infant loss, spreading the call for stories both in our newsletters and on our social channels. Over the month of October, 69 moms and dads shared their stories of loss, grief and healing with TODAY Parents, and the TODAY Parents editors featured those stories on our home page, in our newsletters and on our social channels.
In a digital original video, TODAY Parents also explored the experience of a dad grieving two miscarriages who talked about what it's like to speak out about the real but often buried grief fathers feel around miscarriage. A TODAY.com reported story shone a light on the experience of dads and miscarriage. And the subject of our video shared his story in his own words in a first-person essay on our community site.
Even our TODAY.com celebrity coverage, a staple of the brand, shone a light on the experience of miscarriage with stories about celebrities (James Van Der Beek, Carrie Underwood) going through the same pain.
Our community's stories about miscarriage and infant loss drove millions of engagements on TODAY's social channels, and were shared hundreds of thousands of times. Even more than the impressive engagement with our audience, though, we measured this challenge in terms of the impressions it made on people's hearts. For example, on this Facebook post about the pain of having a pregnancy loss minimized, one woman wrote, "I gave birth to my sleeping boy on September 14th at 30 weeks and 7 days gestation. I'm glad to see more posts like this, spreading awareness. Before I lost our Knox, I had no idea that it was a thing. It's devastating to lose a child. It's like you're a unfinished puzzle, waiting for the piece to turn up someday."
The comments on this post, and many others, turned into a live support group as women who were actively going through miscarriages shared their pain and were comforted by those who had walked in the same shoes. Creating those sort of genuine, compassionate connections online is exactly the reason why we created the TODAY Parenting Team community. The motto of TODAY Parents is "we're all in this together" and our Miscarriage and Infant Loss challenged helped us at TODAY Parents bring the power of community to those who need it most.
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