In 2012, Jessica Zucker had a miscarriage when she was 16 weeks pregnant. It was shocking, and traumatic, and something she endured almost entirely alone. That’s how it goes for many people who experience a loss before they’ve even told anyone they were pregnant, and often that’s by design: People are urged not to share pregnancy news until they’re “out of the woods” of that first trimester, but why?
In her campaign #IHadAMiscarriage, which Dr. Zucker, a psychologist, launched in 2014, she aims to end the silence around miscarriage and pregnancy loss, both so people going through it feel able to get the support they need, and to decrease the stigma this silence carries with it. This year, she tells Refinery29 that she wants to challenge the notion that “keeping our good news a secret just in case it becomes bad news” is helpful to anyone.
“It’s so embedded in our culture to not talk about grief and avoid it at all costs; it’s saying you should stay silent about your joy because if it becomes grief you shouldn’t share it,” she says. She had technically been “out of the woods” when her pregnancy loss happened, and she was grateful for the support system she had around her to talk through what it was like. For anyone staring at a fresh pregnancy test and trying to concoct the "right" time to announce, she says don't wait if you don't want to: “Share your news if you want to. Enjoy the joy; but know we need to feel supported whether it’s in the joy, or if you find out you’re having a miscarriage.”
Every year on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, October 15, she releases a new chapter in the project. First came the hashtag and an Instagram account of the same name, where she sought to “replace silence with storytelling.” Next came a line of greeting cards for those enduring miscarriage (because, Dr. Zucker says, not knowing what to say is a terrible reason to say nothing at all), then T-shirts and pins celebrating parenting after loss.