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Up to 20% of pregnancies end in loss. And yet, we still have a hard time talking about it.

We'll get to why that is in a minute. But first, let that number sink in: 20%. What does our discomfort or silence mean for those whose pregnancies end in miscarriage or stillbirth?


It can make them feel alone — isolated, hurting, and sometimes even ashamed.

What if we acknowledged the loss of a pregnancy the way we addressed any significant loss?

What if we talked about it and expressed our sincerest condolences instead of awkwardly fumbling for the right words — or not even talking about it at all?

What if we said things like this?

"I'm deeply sorry for your loss. I'm here. Always."

Dr. Jessica Zucker shared these empathy cards with me and gave me permission to share with you! It's available here.

When we're short on words, a card is usually a safe bet. But when it comes to condolence cards for the loss of a pregnancy or a stillbirth, let's just be honest: the pickings are slim.

That's why Dr. Jessica Zucker, a clinical psychologist who specializes in women's reproductive and maternal mental health — and someone who experienced a traumatic miscarriage herself — introduced these pitch-perfect pregnancy loss empathy cards.

She wants women to be able to talk about and have their grief acknowledged.

"My aim," Zucker explained to me in a phone conversation, "is to help shift the cultural conversation — and lack of it — around miscarriage, pregnancy loss, and stillbirth."

And culturally, we often reach out with cards, which is why it feels like a pretty amazing thing — to create cards for this kind of loss.

Whether it's with cards that share heartfelt affirmations...

"The last thing you probably want to hear right now is 'I know exactly how you feel,' 'This happens for a reason,' 'Be grateful for what you have.' Pop in earplugs, drown out the noise, be surrounded by loving support — people who get it. I may not always know the right thing to say, but I'm going to try. I love you like crazy." Available here.


"Grief knows no timeline. Take all the time you need. If you wan to rest, do. If you want to scream, do. If you want to distract yourself, do. If you want to cry, do. If you want to stuff your face, do. If you want to hibernate, do. If you want to go on an adventure, do. If you want to call me morning, noon and night, do. Be gentle with yourself. Do." Available here.

...or with cards that own our discomfort with something we've inadvertently been taught to be uncomfortable with...

"I'm sorry I've been MIA. I didn't know what to say. I'll do better. I am here." Available here.

...these empathy cards say what needs to be said. They acknowledge that sometimes, we need to call it like it is.


"Fuck: 'This is God's plan.' Fuck: 'Everything happens for a reason.' Fuck: 'Time erases pain.' #FuckLoss. Fuck: 'At least you know you can get pregnant.' Fuck: 'It wasn't meant to be.' Fuck Heartbreak." Available here.

"I imagine you feel like shit right now. But I just had to remind you how wonderful I think you are." Available here.

Oh, and how about a card that acknowledges that even though the loss might be common, every woman's experience is utterly unique?

"#IHadAMiscarriage. Everyone has a different experience. I understand." Available here.

The cards each say something different, but the bigger message behind them is the same: Mourning the loss of a pregnancy is difficult. And it's only made more difficult when we suffer or respond with silence.

There's a reason we have an especially hard time discussing this kind of loss. As Zucker explains, out-of-order losses are difficult to process. "It's one thing to talk about an elderly person, a grandparent, passing away," she says. "We know the rights and rituals that take place around that kind of loss."

But when it's about the loss of a wanted pregnancy or a stillbirth, people don't know how to react. Unlike the parents, others haven't formed a relationship with the fetus. What do we say? How do we behave?

She also points out that we're just not looking at pregnancy loss as normative in our culture — but we should. "If twenty-some percent of pregnancies end in loss, this isn't going anywhere," she told me. "It's not like this is a disease and we're not looking for some sort of cure. This is molecular biology, and this is what happens when we endeavor to create life. We risk being vulnerable to losing life. We risk not being in control."

So what if we could we could get more comfortable with this kind of loss and be a source of support for grieving would-be parents?

Zucker says she knows these are "just cards," but she hopes it's a good beginning.

These cards are an antidote to "I didn't know what to say." And we should say something! "We can't have a miscarriage by talking about miscarriage," Zucker says. "You cannot experience a pregnancy loss just by talking about pregnancy loss."

But we can provide support and condolences to our friends and family members who are grieving. And at the end of the day, isn't that what being human is all about?

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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