American psychologist and writer Dr Jessica Zucker has created a new line of empathy cards, designed to make it easier to support women who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of their baby.
Hoping to bridge the gap when people ‘just don’t know what to say’, Zucker, who founded the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign to help women share their experiences, says: “This is a way to reach people who, of course, I’ll never see in my office.”
Though having specialised in women's reproductive and maternal mental health for years, it wasn’t until she sadly suffered her own 16-week miscarriage that Zucker really noticed the gap in the market for cards that handled the issue well.
Talking to BuzzFeed, she says: “A lot of the cards out there refer so much to angels and heaven and things like that. For the majority of the people I know, that doesn’t really resonate with them.”
Zucker’s cards deliberately range from simple heartfelt messages like “I’m deeply sorry for your loss, I’m here always” to the bolder “#FuckLoss, Fuck ‘This is God’s plan’, Fuck ‘Everything happens for a reason.’”
“We need to have various ways to reach different types of people in their different types of loss,” she says of the intentionally diverse cards.
“A lot of women don’t necessarily have an experience of ongoing grief, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t change their experience of pregnancy in the future, or motherhood right now, or their identity.”
One particularly poignant card focuses on pregnancy after pregnancy loss, which for many women can be an extremely conflicting time and experience.
“I made the pregnancy after pregnancy loss card because a lot of people talk about this, and I experienced this, too. I was incredibly scared for the entire pregnancy,” she explains.
The range also includes a card designed to inform people of a stillbirth or newborn loss, intended to make that traumatic announcement easier.
“I’m hoping my children and generations to come can live in a society where talking about loss and grief and these types of normative life-altering events could be something that they’re comfortable with,” says Zucker, who is now a mother of two.
With October being ‘pregnancy/baby loss awareness month’ in the States, the cards are being launched this week with the hope of cultivating more conversation around the topic.
So far, the response from women who have suffered loss themselves has been overwhelmingly positive.
Writing on Instagram, one woman says: “Just a month ago I had my second miscarriage, first one was a few months before that. Everyone said all the ‘right’ things but it just doesn't help. I wish it did. Your cards and your movement gives me validation that it's ok to be angry, scared, and frustrated!! @ihadamiscarriage thank you thank you thank you.”
Another comments on what Zucker calls the ‘gaping hole in the market’, writing: “Thank you for creating these!! I have looked every time I'm in a greeting card section to see if there are any pregnancy or infant loss cards and there never are. Sympathy for death of a pet? Yup. But nothing for miscarriage or stillbirth!”
See a few more of Dr Jessica Zucker's empathy card designs below, including the Grief knows no Time verse, and a card for women who have experienced miscarriage themselves, and want to help support somebody else going through it...