Dr. Jessica Zucker created the #IHadAMiscarriage Campaign
Dr. Jessica Zucker is a clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles. She spent more than a decade working in international women’s health, counseling women who were dealing with stillbirth and infant loss. But it wasn’t until her life-threatening miscarriage that she understood grief from the inside out. Not until she had lived grief in her own body did she understand the power of an experience from a physical perspective rather than an emotional one.
It was Tuesday, October 11, 2012, the first official United Nations' International Day of the Girl Child, and Jessica was 16 weeks pregnant. She was home alone when her Braxton Hicks contractions worsened and the bleeding increased. She knew right away that there was no way her baby would survive. She was in so much pain. When her little girl was born in the bathroom, she had to cut the umbilical cord herself.
“The trauma didn’t end there. I started hemorrhaging,” Jessica explains. “The trauma didn’t stop because I was hemorrhaging so much. I needed a D&C and it was unmedicated because I needed a blood transfusion.”
As a doctor, Jessica knows first hand how differently each person grieves and heals. Some people want to grieve privately, while others feel really strongly about sharing their experiences and feelings. After her loss, Jessica started writing.
“I don’t think it was conscious that I was using writing to heal,” Jessica says. ”I just kept thinking of new things to say and it felt powerful and healing. It was also a really interesting and important way to honour my loss. I wanted to change the world for future generations of mothers dealing with this so they wouldn’t have to stumble around as so many people do.”
“I thought it was an ideal opportunity to say, look, I’m a psychologist but I’m also a mother and this happened to me too. In sharing my story in all its details, I’m saying, I’m not ashamed. For those of you out there who are feeling ashamed or guilty, join me.”
Learning the truth about grief is one thing. What you do with that truth is another thing altogether. Faced with the truth of grief, Jessica turned her experience into something empowering for others. She created the #IHadAMiscarriage Campaign to invite other women to share their experiences and feel less alone. She invited them to step into the light and to shed the shame of miscarriage and child loss.
“I was just hoping women around the world would come across the hashtag and see that things are changing and know that they’re not alone,” she says. ”That they would be able to feel connected to something even though they might not want to share their own story.”
To read stories of miscarriage and child loss, visit Jessica’s Instagram feed.