Kara Burnett Giugliano, whose TikTok account has more than 88,000 followers, recently shared a moving message about pregnancy. She’s received extra attention recently, thanks to a short montage of brief videos from the months leading up to her much desired pregnancy.
She suffered disappointment after disappointment as she struggled to conceive. We tend to think that pregnancy happens easily, but for many people, it’s not like that at all.
Conception is a miracle
My attention was brought to this video when it was shared on Facebook by journalist Costanza Miriano.
Kara appears in a series of video clips showing her reaction to pregnancy tests. We see her with different expressions, looking increasingly prepared for disappointment, waiting, arms at her sides or in her pockets to express self-defense, her eyes on the pregnancy test stick.
She sees one “no” after another, until the last video clip. Already appearing more relaxed and smiling (maybe it’s staged? Did she already know?), she sees an unequivocal plus sign appear–“I’m pregnant!”–and starts jumping for joy.
The pain of infertility
First of all, every conception is a miraculous thing. It’s a bombshell that should outshine every breaking news story that scrolls across the bottom of the screen.
The video goes against the tide because it shows, with the immediacy of TikTok, how much pain, anticipation, trepidation, uncertainty and powerlessness there is for thousands of women trying to have a child. Yes, often pregnancy is sought, waited for, and welcomed, far more than it can be demanded or planned.
When Costanza shares the video, she imagines the words of the young woman who, in those few moments, wants to share the tsunami of emotions that overwhelmed her and her husband for months as they tried to achieve conception: “We’ve been told pregnancy comes quickly, and it’s not like that at all.”
In the comments on hers and Kara’s posts, there are expressions of joy, but also many testimonies of a deep and sometimes misunderstood pain. It’s something that many women feel because of a prolonged or permanent infertility, or because of the ordeal of miscarriages.
“Months?” asks a user commenting on Kara Burnett Giugliano’s post. “Think of those who see months turn into years and the years follow one after another, and the pregnancy tests are always negative: that’s hope!”
This and other comments open the door on a land of pain, sometimes of downright desolation, of feelings of abandonment, very often of misunderstanding, and even of unfair, hateful social stigma.
This pain must be given a voice, and first we must show it respect. We should avoid brandishing the number of children we have been blessed with, dispensing unsolicited advice, or pontificating about “other kinds of motherhood.”
The flesh and the spirit, in this radical mortification, suffer together. Let us stand before these women, these couples, and listen to their pain.
Speak the truth about pregnancy
We need to be honest with young people and begin to tell them what pregnancy really means, and how difficult it sometimes can be to get there. We need to let them know that it’s a lie that you can put off pregnancy as long as you want, until it’s convenient for you, treating it simply as a means of personal fulfillment.
The legalization of abortion has helped popularize the idea that you should have a child when and only when you feel ready, in your own unquestionable judgment, or that of (supposedly) competent authorities: gynecologists, mass media, or what people say: “No, you’re too young,” “No, now you’re too old …” But the risk of not being able to conceive is more serious and widespread than people think.
Today people are bombarded with messages that sex is a commodity. Let’s tell women and men, especially the younger ones, that conceiving is a huge undertaking and it’s far from guaranteed.
A moment of physical intimacy is not enough. You cannot always get pregnant when you want to. There are times that are more propitious than others, ages more suitable than others, and times and ages that are definitely closed to life.
Let’s tell the truth, the whole truth, and let’s also remember something simple but so many times hidden: Abortion does not interrupt a process that can be reactivated at will, but it destroys a life, that of a child who will never come back. Not that child, although you may perhaps have others.
Waiting to start expecting
This young TikToker with quite a following has expressed a truth simply and effectively: Look how difficult and wonderful it is to wait and, after so many disappointments, to receive the best news in the world! “It’s a boy,” she tells us joyfully a few posts later, giving her husband a football that explodes into a blue cloud when he kicks it.
Not to be missed, in another post, is her husband’s reaction to the news. That, too, is a beautiful moment, simple and exciting.
A new immortal soul created in our world? There is no other news more exciting than this.
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