Pregnancy Birth

'I had a miscarriage' Instagram feed supports grieving women

It's a loss we still don't often talk about.

About one in 10 pregnant women suffer a miscarriage in New Zealand, and yet this is a loss we don't talk about much.

Though progress has been made to open dialogue, many parents still suffer in silence or feel an implicit pressure to sweep their grief aside after a pregnancy ends unexpectedly.

Now one woman is on a mission to shatter the stigma of this heart-breaking trauma that affects so many of us.

Los Angeles-based psychologist Jessica Zucker MPH PhD, has spent ten years supporting women who've suffered miscarriage. And she has first-hand experience of this kind of grief, having miscarried her second child at 16 weeks in 2012.

As a way of coping, she started collating women's personal stories of pregnancy loss and in 2015, she started the Instagram account @IHadAMiscarriage.

"My loss really scared a lot of my patients and comforted other people," Jessica tells Self.com. "In the most profound way it changed my lens on my work. I was able to understand these women from the inside out now."

Research shows many women blame themselves and suffer isolation after a miscarriage, but Jessica's Instagram rallies against this notion of guilt, by creating a solid network of support and common experience.

"My personal experience was a way to model for other women around the world that there is absolutely no shame in loss," Jessica says."[Pregnancy loss] doesn't mean anything about who you are, or your body being a failure."

Through her Instagram account, Jessica wants to show women who miscarry that they are not alone in their suffering - and also shine a light on insensitive blunders and misconceptions that women who have lost pregnancies often face.

"If I hear about one more person being crushed under the words, 'At least you know you can get pregnant. Everything happens for a reason' I think I might take to the rooftops frothing at the mouth, incensed," reads one of her typically forthright posts. "Hey people, platitudes don't work. In fact, they can F off!"

"Life keeps moving. And there are 'good' days," says another post, written by one of the many women who share their experiences of miscarriage on the site.

"This really just means you were able to leave the house and make small talk if you have to. So, there you are standing in a safe, shallow spot of a relatively calm ocean, small talking and almost beginning to enjoy the sun when a wave comes from nowhere and drags you under water. You don't know how long until you'll be able to breathe again. You never know."

Above all, Jessica's frank and moving Instagram is designed to hail women's courage in dealing with grief, and be there to catch them at times when it seems overwhelming.

"Grief knows no timeline, take all the time you need," she says. "We're here to catch you if you fall. Lean in."

If you need help and support during or after a miscarriage, visit miscarriagesupport.co.nz.

Via Grazia Daily