Squinting at the blurry image on the sonographer’s screen, Cindy Marie Jenkins—flanked by her husband and her young son—scanned excitedly for signs of life. Her first pregnancy had been so straightforward that this seemed like a special moment the entire family could share. But as the minutes dragged on, the sonographer became very quiet, leaving to find a doctor, who delivered the news: There would be no baby.
Jenkins had signed up to receive alerts from the ovulation apps Ovia and Glow, and pregnancy updates from BabyCenter, which she checked incessantly, sometimes up to four times a day. After the loss of the pregnancy, she ignored the apps for the longest time until she could muster the emotional strength to delete all the accounts. Still, she found the process of getting rid of her Glow account to be cumbersome, which only amplified her pain. “It should have been easier to figure out how to ‘report a loss,’ which is what they call it,” Jenkins told me.
App companies say they try to make it easy for women to delete or update their accounts. Jennifer Tye, the chief operating officer of Glow, told me that the app tries to make it as simple as possible for bereaved mothers to report a loss. “Glow offers a ‘Healing from a Loss’ experience that connects women with a community that is going through the same thing,” she says. “To set this status, users need to click on the ‘more’ tab within the Glow app and change their status to ‘I’m healing from a loss.’” That said, in the aftermath of a miscarriage, doing so may be emotionally taxing for women, even when it is technologically simple.