15.5 thousand is the number of people following Dr. Jessica Zucker’s powerful Instagram account, “I had a miscarriage.” Dr. Zucker, the L.A.-based clinical psychologist behind the social media movement, started the account in 2015.
Of the account, Dr. Zucker told People: “It’s really been a community builder. It’s been really overwhelming in a positive way. It shows how hungry women are for connection when it comes to pregnancy loss.”
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The account came three years after Zucker experienced her own pregnancy loss, a miscarriage in her second trimester. Her loss led to a line of sympathy cards in 2014 touting the hashtag #ihadamiscarriage, which become her Instagram name a year later.
Miscarriages are one of the most common losses of pregnancy in the United States – as many as 25% of American women will have a miscarriage in their lifetime according to the American Pregnancy Association – and yet, women still feel stigmatized and shamed by it.
Those feelings of guilt and stigma are what Dr. Zucker aims to do away with. On her account, Zucker encourages followers to share their stories and photos about their miscarriages, stillbirths and other pregnancy losses. Zucker also shares photos she finds helpful or moving.
One of the most recent photos she has uploaded shows a watercolor of a female torso that says “Farewell to stigma” printed on her stomach– illustrating what Zucker hopes to accomplish with her social media account.
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To People, Dr. Zucker emphasized: “It would be great, in my lifetime, if culture changes around this topic. I don’t know what begets what. Is it the silence that begets the shame and stigma, or is it the stigma that begets the silence and the shame? These three things all impact each other. So my hope is this is a conversation that people can feel comfortable having without berating themselves or feeling a sense of shame.”
Dr. Zucker’s account is public to give people a safe place to share their stories and feelings.