Parenting

Powerful Photo Series Honors Women's Miscarriage And Stillbirth Experiences

Jessica Zucker's #IHadAMiscarriage campaign breaks down the stigma around pregnancy loss.
10/01/2018 05:40pm ET

At least 10 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to estimates from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Mayo Clinic. Yet it is common for women who have experienced pregnancy loss to describe feeling alone and like a failure.

Jessica Zucker has made it her mission to change this. The clinical psychologist, who specializes in women’s reproductive and maternal mental health, created the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign in 2014 to break down the stigma around pregnancy loss.

Elliana Allon
Jessica Zucker created the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign to break down the silence and stigma around pregnancy loss. 

Each year for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, Zucker has introduced new initiatives and products like empathy cards, T-shirts and art prints meant to foster conversation around different aspects of miscarriage. This October, her focus is “Rites, Rituals and Representation.”

“In a culture that lacks standardized rites and rituals specific to pregnancy/infant loss, this chapter of the campaign invites us to create our own,” she told HuffPost. “I hope to impress upon culture that it is never too late to ritualize our experiences.”

Zucker collaborated with poet and artist Skin on Sundays to help 10 women honor and memorialize their losses.

The group of 10 includes Zucker, who had a miscarriage at 16 weeks. October marks the sixth anniversary of that loss.

For the “Rites, Rituals and Representation” initiative, Zucker interviewed the women about their miscarriages and stillbirths, and then Skin on Sundays wrote poems on their bodies based on their experiences.

Keep scrolling to see more photos of the participants and read the poems memorializing their losses.

Rebecca Coursey
"It's freeing to be able to express yourself and to express your mourning, to express the fear." — Jude
Rebecca Coursey
A shapethat forms from your deep wilderness.It’s not just your uterus.Your mind,your fear toois heart-shaped.Does that changehow the darkness moves,how the light?
Rebecca Coursey
"It's like a scar that you'll always have that can take a lifetime to heal." — Mary
Rebecca Coursey
The secret: love is bodilessly(the soul doesn’t start at the body).The murmur here is like the moving airleft behind starlings.They are using a tongue so huge, it will break youuntil you don’t miss it.
Rebecca Coursey
"When I envision a culture that replaces silence with storytelling, I feel safe." — Claudia
Rebecca Coursey
The soft beat of a blueberry when it falls to the earth versusthe vacant silence on the body’spavement whenit’s suddenlygone.
Rebecca Coursey
"I had four pregnancy losses." — Jessica W.
Rebecca Coursey
Tragedy and loveare filled with the samerelentless,predictable wildness.
Rebecca Coursey
“This was my first pregnancy, and nobody ever told me I could lose my baby. I thought [stillbirth] was just from the Middle Ages. I did not realize that it could happen to me." — Trisha
Rebecca Coursey
I am walking throughthe frozen fields of myselfwhere I find you on the other sideof a steel door. If love were a substanceit couldn’t reach you here.Only what remains whenlove is stripped of touch.
Rebecca Coursey
"After my first miscarriage, I was feeling alone and scared." — Shannon
Rebecca Coursey
Seasonscome with rain, come without.The silence,the stunning hope,the branches fallenfrom a stormthat were cleaned upand hauled off.
Rebecca Coursey
"'I can’t even imagine.' I heard that a lot. And it’s like, yeah, you can’t." — Miriam
Rebecca Coursey
Dolor like lovecan be as infiniteas energymoving fromone formto the next.
Rebecca Coursey
"In healing, there is no timeline. In grieving, there is no right or wrong way to do it." — Paula
Rebecca Coursey
The light in my body broke and the darknesschanged me intosomeone that could heal it.
Rebecca Coursey
"I remember multiple months after, really feeling like, 'OK, now I feel ready to give myself that space and to give my wife that space and to give our loss that space.'" — Alissa
Rebecca Coursey
The body becomes the alarmit has to become. It draws a map as it wanders.It will remember that itwas crushed, and that it healed.
Elliana Allon
"Our culture lacks standardized rites and rituals surrounding this ubiquitous topic." — Jessica Zucker