Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which recognizes the topics of miscarriage and stillbirth that are normally spoken about in hushed tones or ignored because it is easier to pretend like they don’t exist.
This month Jessica Zucker, a clinical psychologist specializing in women’s reproductive health, launched a line of pregnancy loss cards to start a louder conversation about the grief that comes with the loss of an expected child.
“We live in a culture that fears talking about things that are challenging,” Zucker said. “Can we as a society muster more fortitude or courage or strength or something to really be able to sit with the pain of this rather than scurrying around trying to ‘Get better’ or ‘Put it behind us’ or ‘Move on?’”
Collaborating with Anne Robin Calligraphy, Zucker released eight different revolutionary designs that acknowledge that pain exists, and provide comfort on a relatable level—a level that Zucker is familiar with not just professionally, but personally as well.
When Zucker’s world was rocked by a 16-week miscarriage of her own about three years ago, she took to The New York Times to launch the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign that went viral. According to studies cited by the American Pregnancy Association, 10 to 25 percent of clinically recognized pregnancies result in miscarriage. The overwhelming numbers of women who took to social media to declare that they had a miscarriage was the start of bringing these grief-bearing mothers out of the shadows of shame, and into the arms of others who embraced them with community and understanding.
As a woman who has both worked with women dealing with pregnancy loss for years and experienced one of her own, Zucker’s cards provide words that are normally missing from people’s empathetic vocabularies. The Fuck Heartbreak card takes the place of “Everything happens for a reason" sentiment, while Grief Knows No Timeline card expresses the idea that it is okay to sit with your pain.
One of the most innovative cards in the series is the Baby Loss/Stillbirth Announcement. It is an announcement for baby loss or stillbirth that acts as a tool to make sharing the bad news with friends and family a little easier, and can assist loved ones in connecting with you during your period of grief.
“When you endeavor to create life you are then inevitably vulnerable to losing life,” Zucker said. “I hope these cards help these women feel less alone, and understood in the complicated crevices of their grief.”
Zucker’s passion for changing the conversation surrounding loss and grief is inspiring, and allows for parents who lose their expected children the opportunity to grieve like whole human beings, instead of facing the pressure to “get better.”
Dr. Jessica Zucker’s line of pregnancy loss cards is available at drjessicazucker.com.
Photos courtesy of Jessica Zucker.
More from BUST