Facebook's billionaire CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are expecting a baby girl, the social networking site's founder announced, using the opportunity to throw light on the traumatic and emotional issue of miscarriages that the couple had suffered thrice.
"Priscilla and I have some exciting news: we're expecting a baby girl! This will be a new chapter in our lives," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page yesterday. "We've already been so fortunate for the opportunity to touch people's lives around the world - Cilla as a doctor and educator, and me through this community and philanthropy. Now we'll focus on making the world a better place for our child and the next generation," he said.
The post had been liked by over a million people, with about 70,000 people commenting on it and over 28000 people sharing the post in the nine hours that it was first posted.
The 31-year-old technocrat said that he and his wife had been trying to have a child for a couple of years and had had three miscarriages along the way.
"You feel so hopeful when you learn you're going to have a child. You start imagining who they'll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they're gone. It's a lonely experience," he said.
Describing the experience of going through miscarriages as a lonely one, Zuckerberg said most people don't discuss miscarriages but the connected world of today provides an opportunity to people to share their concerns and apprehensions and get the much-required support.
He said people don't discuss miscarriages because "you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you -- as if you're defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.
"In today's open and connected world, discussing these issues doesn't distance us; it brings us together. It creates understanding and tolerance, and it gives us hope."
Zuckerberg shared with his over 33 million Facebook followers that he had his wife started talking to their friends about their experiences and "realised how frequently this happened -- that many people we knew had similar issues and that nearly all had healthy children after all."
"We hope that sharing our experience will give more people the same hope we felt and will help more people feel comfortable sharing their stories as well," he said. Zuckerberg voiced happiness that the pregnancy is now far enough along that the risk of loss is very low.
"Cilla and our child are both healthy, I'm extremely excited to meet her and our dog Beast has no idea what's coming. In our ultrasound, she even gave me a thumbs up 'like' with her hand, so I'm already convinced she takes after me. "We're looking forward to welcoming her into the world and sharing more soon when she's ready to come out and meet everyone," he added.