Miscarriage and stillbirth: 10 mums share their heartbreaking stories of loss
Pregnancy loss is an incredibly heartbreaking reality for too many women. And, even though one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, it is sadly not something that we are open about, glancing at the ground, offering up embarrassed condolences whenever someone shares their story of loss.
But we need to talk about it. We need to be there for those going through it.
Which is exactly why Dr. Jessica Zucker, an LA-based psychologist who experienced a miscarriage four years ago, created the I Had A Miscarriage Instagram account and launched the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign in 2014.
An inspiring photo series, this year's theme is Rites, Rituals and Representation, and it follows the stories of 10 women who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth.
"Due to the dearth of standardised rituals in our culture that provide a way to honour pregnancy/infant loss, we are attempting to creating them for ourselves, while inviting others to do the same," Jessica explains.
"In asserting that it is never too late to ritual loss, we acknowledge grief’s complexity and further represent our stories."
Trisha is one of the 10 women who took part in the series. She sadly experienced a stillbirth on her first pregnancy, something she admits she didn't think still happened in this day and age.
“This was my first pregnancy, and nobody ever told me I could lose my baby," she explains in the video.
"I thought [stillbirth] was just from the Middle Ages. I did not realise that it could happen to me."
The series hopes to replace silence with storytelling, to enable those who have experienced a loss find ways to honour and ritualise, something that mum Claudia says makes her feel safe.
"When I envision a culture that replaces SILENCE with STORYTELLING, I feel safe, inspired and excited for the future."
Sharing the video on Instagram, Jessica explains her reasons behind this year's theme.
"Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month is upon us and we’ve decided that replacing silence with storytelling is the most powerful way to honour ourselves and those we’ve lost.
"Representing our stories might be the very antidote to the lack of rituals that exist in our culture with regard to this fraught topic.
"We are actively stomping out the silence, bidding farewell to shame, and saying so long to stigma. Join us! The time is now. We are attempting to create a compassionate ritual where there is none."
The video has received nothing but praise since it was posted to Instagram and YouTube, with many mums thanking Jessica for giving them a voice.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s been three years since my loss and I am just feeling ready to really share my story now. It feels good, honest, empowering, vulnerable."
For advice and support on pregnancy loss, contact The Miscarriage Association of Ireland.