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@IHadAMiscarriage Instagram Aims to Break the Taboo Around Miscarriage

“For a while you were real.” If any one sentence could sum up the grief of miscarriage, I think that one is it. It’s from the @ihadamiscarriage Instagram account, where Dr. Jessica Zucker is trying to lift the stigma, and break the taboo, around miscarriage.

According to Self magazine, Zucker is a psychologist who specializes in pregnancy loss and she posts both about her own experience (she suffered a particularly traumatic miscarriage at 16 weeks) and about the experiences of others who share their stories with her. The posts are paired with striking (sometimes NSFW) images and deal with all aspects of the experience of miscarriage. And so many of them (both Zucker’s own thoughts, and those of others) center around the grief of never getting to meet their children.

For me, the most shocking and devastating thing about having a miscarriage was how real my baby felt. My grief was not simply for the experience of becoming a mother that was now put on hold (perhaps indefinitely), but for the person that I’d never get to meet. My baby, regardless of the fact that he’d only been growing inside me for nine weeks, had been a baby. I was sure of it. And it shook me to my very core. Because, if this baby had been a baby (as I was now certain it was), what did it say about all the babies who never got to be born?

This, I think, is the single most important reason why there’s a taboo around miscarriage. This sense, that so many women have, that they lost a daughter or a son (not “an embryo” or “a fetus” or, worst of all “the tissue”) is, to put it mildly, problematic. Because, if we acknowledge the person-ness of wanted pregnancies, what does it say about the person-ness of unwanted ones?

Invisible Girl by @pieraluisa. Posted with permission. _ There is an invisible girl in this photo. Look closely. Can you see her? No? Perhaps, then, I imagined her. You're right. I did. _ I imagined a lot. A life. A love. _ You upside down on the monkey bars Me clenching my teeth in fear while cheering you on. My fearless girl. My powerful girl. I wanted to keep you that way. _ For a while you were real. Confirmed by a heartbeat. A squirm. A black and white image. With me, a surfacing sense of possibility. A yearning so deep I wanted to hide it from myself. _ Apprehension too. For compromise, identity mutated, for what life might be and not be. I wanted you so bad, but you scared me. _ Did I scare you? _ Then one day, a rush of blood. Running panicked through an office. A hospital. A sharp inhale. _ Did you know that if you hold your breath you can stop time? I tried to create a force field so bad news couldn't land on us. I tried that and it didn't work. _ Desire calcified in the moment it was not. Grief cracked me wide open. Heart way too open now. If there is such a thing. My world filmed in a lace-like web of beauty and pain. Small moments unfolding, opening trap doors. _ As I reconfigure my dreams, don't tell me that I lived too much. Shhhhhhhhhhh. Just listen. Shhhhhhhhhhh. _ 'Cause I see it all right now. Life's mysteries laid bare. And I don’t want advice, I just want to be. _ Now sleeping with a palm-sized rock. Grieving an invisible girl. Molten to the touch when I wake, empty, filled up. _ Wherever you are, I'll save this space for you. And know I can always find you here. _ #IHadAMiscarriage #miscarriage #pregnancyloss #stillbirth #infantloss #motherhood #grief #loss #1in4 // Photo by @prue_stent.

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