When Jessica Zucker experienced a miscarriage, the first loss was, of course, the pregnancy itself. But what followed only compounded her “raw and vulnerable” state. As she shared the news of her loss with her loved ones, Zucker noticed that some people around her began to withdraw.
“I got this sense that people didn’t have the tools to come toward me but instead seemed to move away from me,” she says.
That’s perhaps no surprise when you consider a recent survey showing that many people think miscarriage happens in 6% or fewer of pregnancies. The actual number is closer to 30%. Indeed, most Americans don’t understand miscarriages.
That’s why Zucker, a California-based psychologist specializing women’s reproductive and maternal health, is launching a line of cards for women who are grieving, are struggling to conceive or want to send out stillbirth announcements. The cards are an extension of a hashtag #IHadAMiscarriage, which she started in 2014.
“When grandparents die, we typically know what to do… we send flowers, we send cards, we bring food, and that’s that. And this is so different. People really struggle when it comes to fertility, so much can go wrong.”
And it can go wrong in so many different ways. Zucker, for her part, had to have an unmedicated dilation and curettage to remove tissue from her uterus in a procedure that normally would happen under anesthesia—but needed to happen immediately. For other women, it can be less painful physically, but no less challenging emotionally. As such, the cards cover an array of sentiments. There are straightforward messages about grief as well as more sassy ones that read “#F**kLoss.” And for the friend who didn’t step up to the plate when you first told her about your miscarriage, there is this: “I’m sorry I’ve been MIA. I didn’t know what to say. I’ll do better. I am here.”
A call for more open conversations about miscarriage have made headlines lately. Tony-winning actress Laura Benanti called her own loss the “Voldemort” of women’s health issues, asking why culture seemingly shuns the topic. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined the conversation when he revealed that his wife was pregnant in July, but also disclosed that the couple had three miscarriages while trying to conceive.
The cards will be sold online for $4.50. They’re available to purchase on her own website and in select stores in Los Angeles.
“My aim here is a cultural one and a political one,” Zucker says. “And I think that the more we open up about our experiences and dispel the shame, the closer people can feel to one another. “