“Jude no longer had a heartbeat,” she told TODAY Parents . “I started screaming, ‘No don’t tell me that!'"Stephens had pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome, which prevents blood from clotting. On August 11, 2016, she delivered Jude, who was stillborn, but Stephens’ health still was in crisis. Her liver and kidney were failing, her brain swelled, her blood pressure was extremely high, and she lost her sight. After two weeks, she regained her sight and her health improved enough to return home.
While she physically felt better, she was grappling with Jude’s loss. Stephens searched for stories like hers, but found few. That’s when she stumbled on an Instagram account “I Had a Miscarriage.”“I found a lot of comfort in it. No one really likes to talk about miscarriage and stillbirth and here was a whole page talking about loss,” said Stephens, 26 of Warren, Michigan.Jessica Zucker started I Had a Miscarriage as part of ongoing advocacy about miscarriages and stillbirths. In 2012, she experienced a second trimester miscarriage and shared her story in 2014 to try to help others with similar experiences.
Let your kids fail. To learn self-sufficiency, kids need to occasionally dust themselves off (literally and figuratively) without your help. "Most parents know what their children are capable of but step in to make things easier for them," says Sheri Noga, the author of Have the Guts to Do It Right: Raising Grateful and Responsible Children in an Era of Indulgence. Remember: Long-term benefits—a teenager who knows how to do her own laundry, for example—trump momentary discomfort. Before you rush in to help with any physical task, ask yourself: "Is my child in real danger?" Then—and this applies to other challenges, like the social studies poster due tomorrow—think about whether your child has the necessary skills (dexterity and balance) or simply adequate sleep and a snack. Yes? Time to back off and see what happens.
'I had a miscarriage' Instagram gives women voice after loss
"Miscarriage is so shrouded in silence and stigma and shame,” Zucker said. “It behooves us to try to have this conversation.”
In 2015, she launched a collection of pregnancy and infant loss cards and started the Instagram account as a place where she could write about grief and motherhood after loss. Zucker hopes that by talking about miscarriage — which affects 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies, often for no known reasons — women won’t feel ashamed or guilty.
“Miscarriage is not a disease and pregnancy loss is not going away. It just feels all the more important to me that we address it and we become comfortable talking about something uncomfortable,” she said.
Positive, or authoritative, parents value mutual respect and being a good listener.
The account also created a community for women who experienced pregnancy and infant loss, which remains powerful for many who often feel so alone.
“The isolation is so ubiquitous,” she said. “People have found each other this way.”
Zucker encourages women to share and feels overwhelmed by the number of women who submitted photos and stories.
“The Instagram account is such a safe place where they know what they are going to get back is a lot of love and a lot of support,” she said. “My healing from my 16-week miscarriage came so much through writing.”
After reading other women’s stories, Stephens realized she wasn’t alone and in June, she shared Jude’s story.
“I didn’t feel it would be scary or I would be judged,” Stephens said. “The more you talk about it, the more healing it becomes.”Honoring Jude's memory gives Stephens strength as she marks the year anniversary of his death.
“It is so empowering and it makes me feel his memory will always live on,” she said.
"What’s a good investment? Go home from work early and spend the afternoon throwing a ball around with your son." - Ben Stein on CNN
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This story was first published in 2017.