The viral account seeks to help women feel supported in their grief
The subject of miscarriage is, undoubtedly, a private and personal one. But opening up and sharing the grief surrounding pregnancy loss and stillbirth can be incredibly cathartic for many women who have experienced this type of loss.
Experiencing her own miscarriage at 16 weeks and the subsequent grieving process is what prompted Jessica Zucker to launch the Instagram account, “I Had A Miscarriage,” where women everywhere can share their own personal stories surrounding miscarriage and stillbirth.
Zucker has been working as a psychologist specializing in women’s reproductive and maternal mental health, and has often treated women who have suffered miscarriages. In an interview with SELF magazine, Zucker says she didn’t truly understand the stigma of silent suffering surrounding pregnancy loss until she experienced it for herself. After laboring and delivering alone at home, she later underwent a dilation and curettage procedure at the hospital. “Two hours later I went back to my house and was no longer pregnant,” Zucker told SELF. “That was pretty much the most profound thing that ever happened in my life. The most traumatic.”
By starting a new kind of dialogue about this type of loss with her Instagram account and the #IHadAMiscarriage hashtag, Zucker hopes other grieving moms know they’re not alone.
No Mother By Jessica Costanzo @hitch160. Stories from around the world. Posted with permission. _ No mother should learn at 16 weeks pregnant that the child she is carrying has a fatal condition. No mother should have to decide if she carry her terminally ill child to term or end her pregnancy. No mother should have to explain to their 2.5 year old son that his baby brother has died. No mother should have her milk come in when she has no child to feed. _ No mother should find out at the 8 week ultrasound for her next pregnancy that her baby has passed away. No mother should bleed for over a week as that child leaves her body. No mother should see in a 12 week ultrasound that yet another baby that has passed away – a baby that was moving a week before is now still and has no heartbeat. No mother should birth that baby stillborn at home and literally see the glimmer of what could have been. _ No father should lose his child and then watch in fear as his wife bleeds excessively and is rushed to the ER for emergency surgery. _ No mother should experience any of these things, yet I have experienced them all. _ About 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage yet the experiences are rarely talked about. I write about my experiences so other mothers know they are not alone. No mother should face such pain in isolation. _ #IHadAMiscarriage #pregnancyloss #grief #loss #motherhood #stillbirth #1in4 #miscarriage // Image found via @taxcollection.
“By putting it out there in the world and sharing it with women globally, people then feel this sense of recognition and a robust community,” she says. “I don’t have to know you, because it’s social media, but I know those feelings so well. In so many of comments or messages people say, ‘I could have written this myself.’ Part of the point is to really show that we’re more similar than we think.”
@moonsproutmama shares: "I cherished every second, counted every day, tracked every week with this little one, but our time together was short + bittersweet. _ There were weeks of blood testing. My hormones were simply "too low". We were just dealt the most casual, but lethal blow. There would be no other explanation or condolences… _ I was in disbelief + filled with resentment. This wasn't really happening. How could this happen? I bled for days. What could I have done differently? Was it my stress level? The CONSTANT (3rd party) dramatics? My lack of eating + sleeping? The blame game. Our life was upside down at the time. It could have been any one, if not the combination of all those factors. _ We were blessed soon after with our son, but I chose to keep this pregnancy + our loss private. How can one truly convey such joy while it's laced with grief + fear? I clung to my growing baby's well being everyday during those precious months. Always dreading the what ifs even right up until the moment he was placed in my arms. _ I lost this baby a year ago. It's finally come full circle, but the healing has seemingly just begun. I'm sharing this to kill the stigma. To do away with the anxiety that creeps in daily. To silence the what ifs that continue to haunt me. I'm sharing this to end the self blame + shame. We are 1 in 4. _ I am ready. ✨" _ #IHadAMiscarriage
According to the March of Dimes, approximately 10-15 percent of recognized pregnancies (those that occur in women who know they are pregnant) end in miscarriage. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester of pregnancy, though 1-5 percent of miscarriages can occur in the second trimester. They are typically caused by chromosomal abnormalities and are usually completely out of any mother’s control.
@tessastephens__ shares: "One year ago today admiring my changing body, my growing son. What I wouldn't give to feel Jude's movements again….What I wouldn't give to have him here in my arms. Nothing more beautiful than a mother and the love for her child 🌿." _ #IHadAMiscarriage #pregnancyloss #stillbirth #lifeafterloss #loss #preeclampsia #hellpsyndrome #grief #bereavedmother #infantloss #lossmom #20weeks #pregnancy
How can the late afternoon summer breeze remind me of you when we never even had a chance to experience a moment together, let alone a season? _ You are loved like nobody's business, Olive. Ongoing, I feel you. Ongoing, you change me. You are cherished, ongoing. _ #IHadAMiscarriage #miscarriage #motherhood #pregnancyloss #stillbirth #infantloss #grief #loss #1in4 // Photo found via @girlgazeproject.
Despite how many women suffer miscarriages, and the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary, most women feel profound loneliness, shame, and experience self-blame while grieving. Zucker says she hopes that her Instagram account and #IHadAMiscarriage offer women a place to process with their feelings and spread awareness about miscarriages and the stories behind them.
# IHadAMiscarriage I had a 2nd trimester miscarriage. This is a fact of my life. An experience that changed who I am. Pregnancy after pregnancy loss changed me all the more. I have no shame. No self-blame. No guilt. I did nothing wrong. I did nothing to deserve this. My body works. I don't feel it failed. I embrace my grief fully and allow it to wash over me. I grieve still. I don't believe rainbow babies "replace" our lost loves. When we lean into heartache, we evolve. When we work vigorously to stave it off, we drown. I don't believe everything happens for a reason. I know I am not alone, nor are you. _ This campaign is here for anyone who has experienced any type of pregnancy or infant loss. We are here to share stories with the aim of softening stigma and ushering in connection. Let this space be a life line. An anchor. A community. _ What an elating honor it is to have my work and specifically this page featured on @selfmagazine today. Link in profile. _ #IHadAMiscarriage #miscarriage #pregnancyloss #stillbirth #infantloss #motherhood #grief #loss #parenthood #pregnancyafterloss #rainbowbaby #1in4 // This sign accompanied the birth of the I Had A Miscarriage campaign in 2014. Lettering by @annerobincallig.