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Lavanya Bahuguna

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Dr Jessica Zucker, Who Started #IHadAMiscarriage, Explains Why Miscarriage Needs To Be Normalized

  • IWB Post
  •  February 21, 2019

Miscarriage is one of the least talked about topics related to a woman’s health. It’s a taboo and families, in general, prefer keeping mum about it.

We spoke to a licensed clinical psychologist, Jessica Zucker from Los Angeles who specializes in women’s reproductive and mental health related issues. For years, Dr. Jessica has been working with women struggling with fertility, pregnancy ambivalence, pregnancy loss, prenatal and postpartum adjustments, prenatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, pregnancy and postpartum body image concerns.

@wolfgini shares: Dear Baby, one year ago i was sitting in the same chair i’m sitting in now, listening to my doctor tell me that based on the results of my second blood test it appeared i had miscarried your sibling. i had been spotting for a couple of days. i had passed one large clot + i had known before the call came. i didn’t want to recognize the shape of that little pea-sized body, but in my gut i knew. your daddy sunk to the floor + cried with his head on my lap. i had already been crying for hours on end, and there i sat, still as a stone carving of the young woman i had been before but was no longer. i heard a voice in my ear say i should take time to myself to grieve, that she was so sorry. _ and my world felt like a blank void. your daddy and i sobbed ourselves to sleep every night. surviving cancer was not as hard as surviving that loss. people didn’t know how to respond. and i began to retreat from the world, because it all hurt way too much. and when we could we kept trying and trying for you. and we kept losing all of these uphill battles. and i kept punishing my body + my mind + my spirit. and then the day after my birthday it rained, and out popped a rainbow. and i cried and cried and cried. and that’s when i decided to start living again. i painted my feelings with watercolors + i nourished myself in every way i could. and then i took a home test, even though 2 days earlier the result had been negative, and as i picked dirty laundry off the bathroom floor i looked up + saw one word + i knew this time it would be so different. this time it was you. _ i get to see you on the big screen today, that very same doctor will measure you + tell me how damn healthy we are. we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a year ago. i became a mother a year ago. i will never say that it was all meant to be. it wasn’t. it was all a horrific nightmare, but i am wide awake now. you aren’t our “first,” but you are our miracle. _ your daddy just came home from work. he put his head on my lap and started singing to you. i think rainbows really are the most beautiful blessings on this earth. Love, Mama _ #IHadAMiscarriage #rainbowbaby #grief // Photo by @juliekrugerart.

1,220 Likes, 66 Comments – Jessica Zucker, Ph.D. (@ihadamiscarriage) on Instagram: “@wolfgini shares: Dear Baby, one year ago i was sitting in the same chair i’m sitting in now,…”

To normalize the concept of miscarriage, Dr. Jessica came up with the campaign #IHadAMiscarriage and made it go viral on social media. Through this online program, she encouraged women who suffered miscarriage to come forward and share their stories to end the stereotypes surrounding the medical condition.

Jessica Zucker

She describes, “Through #IHadAMiscarriage campaign, we have been able to speak openly about miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or infant loss. The aim is to silence the shame and stigma surrounding this natural phenomenon and instill courage in women who’ve undergone this ill-fated experience.”

It was interesting to see thousands of fearless women from different countries posting their personal journeys of pregnancy-loss online using this hashtag.

@ziiedas shares: 30 weeks💙 yesterday was the anniversary of Milos due date, and with Lucas’ first birthday coming up, it brings back memories of how exciting it was that my sister and I were due just 6 days apart. It’s so strange how much can happen in a year. When I found out I was losing my baby I was so scared about how it would affect my relationship with my nephew, I was scared he would be a constant reminder of what I lost. I told myself that I wouldn’t let my sadness interfere with the beautiful life my sister was carrying. I pushed myself to enjoy her pregnancy, watching her belly grow-to be there for her with all the special moments pregnancy brings. I was with her through labor and watched her strength as she brought the most perfect little boy into the world. Although it was one of the happiest days of my life, it did bring a lot of sadness as I was hit with the reality again that I lost my little boy just a few months earlier. But I was so thankful to hold this precious life and still be able to welcome a baby around the same time I thought I would be welcoming my own. It was a big mix of emotions. A year has passed and I can’t explain the love I have for him. When I look into his eyes I see he carries a part of Milo within him. He’s a blessing to our family, the happiest baby I’ve ever met. He has given me strength to keep moving forward. I can’t wait to see what our relationship blooms into as the years go on. I realize now that I was so scared for him to be a reminder of Milo, but he is in the most beautiful way, and I am so thankful for that. And I already know he loves the little baby in my womb because he is constantly hugging and giving him kisses 💙 I am grateful for the way things turned out. Sometimes your scariest moments put you in the direction of your most beautiful path. _ #IHadAMiscarriage #rainbowbaby #pregnancy #pregnancyafterloss #miscarriage #grief #loss #motherhood #1in4 #pregnancyloss #duedate

1,073 Likes, 28 Comments – Jessica Zucker, Ph.D. (@ihadamiscarriage) on Instagram: “@ziiedas shares: 30 weeks💙 yesterday was the anniversary of Milos due date, and with Lucas’ first…”

Dr. Jessica launched the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign with her first New York Times piece in 2014. Since then many articles have been written about the pain and the politics of pregnancy loss.

According to Dr. Jessica, women who face miscarriage are bound to fill with guilt and hence, blame themselves for whatever has happened to them. Weird thoughts start creeping in their minds, for example: “I had doubts about having a child, that’s why this happened with me,” “Maybe I am not good enough a mother,” “What if I will never be able to conceive” – resulting in isolation.

Dr. Jessica says, “Some lose their sleep and appetite while the others fell into depression as a result of over-thinking. It is most likely that the societal pressure and no emotional support from the family members give rise to this behavior. The other downside of this behavior can lead to strain relations with the partner.”

So what’s the solution? Dr. Jessica suggests that the close family members can create a sense of emotional safety for the woman. At that, give the woman her time and space to come out of the mental state while her body recovers at its own pace. There are times when miscarriages can be life-threatening for the mother, in such a case, the woman and her family must be grateful for she is alive and healthy.

Do you have a story of miscarriage to share? Write to us at contactindianwomen@gmail.com. Also, if you’re seeking a psychologist’s help, let us know.

This article was first published on October 2, 2017.

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