Miscarriage is the most common kind of pregnancy loss, affecting around one in four pregnancies – and yet, despite this, it’s a painful subject that remains shrouded in silence.
As well as the obvious grief of losing a child, research has proven that the psychological impact of miscarriage can be so severe that many women experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
These symptoms can include feelings of isolation and guilt, which can continue to get worse without a support network and the opportunity to speak openly about the trauma endured.
In a bid to break the taboo, a psychologist is now using Instagram to help women speak openly about pregnancy loss, as well as share their stories using the hashtag #IHadAMiscarriage.
Jessica Zucker created the account after suffering a miscarriage herself at 16 weeks when she was pregnant with her second child. Identifying with feelings of isolation, the mother-of-two sought to create a community and support network for other women that had been through the same thing as her.
She began by writing about her own experience on social media using the hashtag #IHadAMiscarriage, before inviting others to do the same.
Speaking to Self, Zucker explained that women often take on unjustified feelings of guilt and self-blame after pregnancy loss – a fact which desperately needs to be addressed.
“My personal experience was a way to model for other women around the world that there is absolutely no shame in loss,” she said.
Zucker continued: “The research overwhelmingly points to women experiencing shame, self-blame and guilt following pregnancy and loss. I had to really think it through.
“As a psychologist, you don’t typically share the details of your life. But [pregnancy loss] doesn’t mean anything about who you are, or your body being a failure.”
The Instagram page now has over 12k followers – and the feed is filled with emotionally raw stories from mothers that have been through a miscarriage. These accounts come in many different forms, such as poems, short stories, quotes and open letters.
A powerful post from Zucker herself has reiterated why sharing these stories are so important, noting: “In hearing stories of pregnancy and baby loss, we are struck by how many people grieve on their own.”
The mother aims to make pregnancy loss “a global conversation”, writing: “We must forge a new reality in which pregnancy loss is part of a global conversation.
“With dedicated effort to support the bereaved and an openness that acknowledges death as a part of life, we can create a society that supports women in pregnancy, and their partners, no matter the outcome.”
As an issue that effects millions of women world-wide it’s crucial that communities like this continue to grow so that we can support each other and irradiate the isolation that is typical of this situation.
If you had suffered a miscarriage and would like to be part of the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign, you can share your story by using the hashtag or messaging the I Had A Miscarriage account.