The unexpected lesson in Britney Spears’ miscarriage announcement

I cringed when I saw Britney Spears announce last month that she was newly pregnant.

As someone who went through four miscarriages before the birth of our daughter, I know how tenuous pregnancy is — and how many end in early miscarriages. Ten to 20 percent of known pregnancies result in loss. And older women like Spears have an even higher risk of miscarriage: At 35, there’s a 20 percent risk, according to the Mayo Clinic, and at 40 (Spears’ age), the risk is 40 percent.

So when the pop icon joyously revealed the news to her 41.2 million Instagram followers in April, my instant reaction was “Oh, no.” I was afraid she would have a miscarriage and, sadly, on Saturday she returned to Instagram to inform the public she had lost her “miracle baby.”

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For many women, pregnancy is a joyous time: The minute they get that first positive pregnancy test (or pee on five sticks), they want to wave it around and show everyone they know. But for anyone like me — who did wave around her first positive pregnancy test like a magic wand — after you experience loss, you get nervous at pregnancy announcements, especially early on.

That’s why many women don’t tell anyone aside from their partners and maybe one or two close friends or family. Many wait until the end of the first trimester to share the news, or even longer. In the Jewish community, where many of us are so superstitious we don’t have baby showers until after the baby is born, the proper response upon hearing someone is pregnant isn’t “mazel tov” or “congratulations” but “b’sha’a tova,” meaning “all in good time” or “good luck.”

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