Reading the other day, I came across this article on Slate about ad algorithms, grief, and social media (TW for stillbirth). Basically, it explores the phenomenon where, post loss, people are still bombarded with ads for baby or pregnancy items when they go online. It also has the FB shortcut to hide some of these ads but less advice about the vexing problem of FB’s tendency to “celebrate” anniversaries of particular posts.
When it happened to me, I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who had it occurring. I can vividly remember getting baby ads after my first miscarriage because I’d spent time looking up pregnancy-related websites. It sucked, especially in those first few days after arriving home from the hospital post D&C when I was physically and emotionally achy.
My second loss was a little less problematic in terms of the ads – mostly because I had known something was wrong from the start and my searching had been confined to things like “ectopic pregnancy symptoms” and “really low beta HcG” and “pregnant but bleeding”.
The one that really wrecked me, however, was after E’s birth at 28w4d when I kept getting ads for maternity clothes while she was in the NICU.
The Slate article goes on to talk about why there aren’t better algorithms to prevent these triggering ads: “The real problem is that there’s no quick capitalistic incentive for Face.book to do the work of sorting ads or pictures for you. As one grieving woman told the Australian website…’There’s no money in miscarriages, obviously.’”
Having walked through infertility and miscarriage, I can’t help but think, as do the women featured in the article, that there really does have to be a better way.