How YOU Can Help Change the Narrative of Pregnancy Loss

Anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss, whether a miscarriage or stillbirth, knows that this subject makes people uncomfortable. Even close friends and family members often find themselves unsure how to react to this kind of grief and loss. It turns out that the same goes for a movie about this subject: Minnie Driver was recently nominated for a Best Actress Emmy for Return to Zero, a film about a couple whose first child dies in utero just days prior to his birth, and she said this about their struggle to get the movie out there: “This is a special one… We made this film for $800,000. We ran out of money. We couldn’t finish it. Families who had lost children contributed to our Kickstarter fund so we could finish this film. And when we showed it to distributors in town no one would touch it. They did not now how to market it. Then Lifetime stepped in.”

The film does much to address the discomfort surrounding pregnancy loss, but the filmmakers wanted to do more, which is why they partnered with our friend Tara Shafer’s awesome website Reconceiving Loss to build the Return to Zero Project/Reconceiving Loss, a digital archive and public project to document pregnancy and infant loss from miscarriage through to neonatal death.

In the United States alone, one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and every year an additional fifty thousand babies are stillborn or die within thirty days of their birth. This issue impacts millions of people each year, and still the topic remains a social taboo.

Assuming there are no Emmy-winning pregnancy loss roles in your near future, here’s something else you can do to help the cause: Reconceiving Loss launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to build this archive of stories and healing narratives. Award-winning novelist Edie Meidav, author of Lola, California, says: “After the trauma of loss, many people start to feel they live a story unscripted by them. And since we walk around always carrying great secret possibility — the ability to name elements of what we would otherwise call, merely, pain, shelving it away in the pain drawer — we all have a great power. Tell what you know (and also what you don’t know) about what you have suffered, and both a writer and reader find a sense of choice in what otherwise would seem to strip a person of that most basic dignity, that of telling one’s own story.”

Somehow Edie (another pal of ours) always manages to find the most eloquent, intelligent, sensitive way to say what we didn’t know we’d been thinking all along!

So, you can give ten bucks to the cause — and, even more importantly, you can share your own stories of loss, from miscarriage through to neonatal death.

If you donate at any level to the Indiegogo campaign, you will be listed as a permanent Charter Archive Underwriter. The campaign closes August 17th — current supporters include the STILL Project and the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth. As New Yorker contributor Daniel Raeburn says of the Return To Zero Project/Reconceiving Loss: “Like therapy, writing is narrative. It’s taking the raw, senseless material of this world and shaping it into something that’s not so senseless, into something we can live with. A story. And after the death of a child, that’s what we need: a story we can live with.”


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