7 empathy cards for someone who's lost a pregnancy. Because it's hard to know what to say.

Up to 20% of pregnancies end in loss. And yet, we still have a hard time talking about it.

We'll get to why that is in a minute. But first, let that number sink in: 20%. What does our discomfort or silence mean for those whose pregnancies end in miscarriage or stillbirth?


It can make them feel alone — isolated, hurting, and sometimes even ashamed.

What if we acknowledged the loss of a pregnancy the way we addressed any significant loss?

What if we talked about it and expressed our sincerest condolences instead of awkwardly fumbling for the right words — or not even talking about it at all?

What if we said things like this?

"I'm deeply sorry for your loss. I'm here. Always."

Dr. Jessica Zucker shared these empathy cards with me and gave me permission to share with you! It's available here.

When we're short on words, a card is usually a safe bet. But when it comes to condolence cards for the loss of a pregnancy or a stillbirth, let's just be honest: the pickings are slim.

That's why Dr. Jessica Zucker, a clinical psychologist who specializes in women's reproductive and maternal mental health — and someone who experienced a traumatic miscarriage herself — introduced these pitch-perfect pregnancy loss empathy cards.

She wants women to be able to talk about and have their grief acknowledged.

"My aim," Zucker explained to me in a phone conversation, "is to help shift the cultural conversation — and lack of it — around miscarriage, pregnancy loss, and stillbirth."

And culturally, we often reach out with cards, which is why it feels like a pretty amazing thing — to create cards for this kind of loss.

Whether it's with cards that share heartfelt affirmations...

"The last thing you probably want to hear right now is 'I know exactly how you feel,' 'This happens for a reason,' 'Be grateful for what you have.' Pop in earplugs, drown out the noise, be surrounded by loving support — people who get it. I may not always know the right thing to say, but I'm going to try. I love you like crazy." Available here.


"Grief knows no timeline. Take all the time you need. If you wan to rest, do. If you want to scream, do. If you want to distract yourself, do. If you want to cry, do. If you want to stuff your face, do. If you want to hibernate, do. If you want to go on an adventure, do. If you want to call me morning, noon and night, do. Be gentle with yourself. Do." Available here.

...or with cards that own our discomfort with something we've inadvertently been taught to be uncomfortable with...

"I'm sorry I've been MIA. I didn't know what to say. I'll do better. I am here." Available here.

...these empathy cards say what needs to be said. They acknowledge that sometimes, we need to call it like it is.


"Fuck: 'This is God's plan.' Fuck: 'Everything happens for a reason.' Fuck: 'Time erases pain.' #FuckLoss. Fuck: 'At least you know you can get pregnant.' Fuck: 'It wasn't meant to be.' Fuck Heartbreak." Available here.

"I imagine you feel like shit right now. But I just had to remind you how wonderful I think you are." Available here.

Oh, and how about a card that acknowledges that even though the loss might be common, every woman's experience is utterly unique?

"#IHadAMiscarriage. Everyone has a different experience. I understand." Available here.

The cards each say something different, but the bigger message behind them is the same: Mourning the loss of a pregnancy is difficult. And it's only made more difficult when we suffer or respond with silence.

There's a reason we have an especially hard time discussing this kind of loss. As Zucker explains, out-of-order losses are difficult to process. "It's one thing to talk about an elderly person, a grandparent, passing away," she says. "We know the rights and rituals that take place around that kind of loss."

But when it's about the loss of a wanted pregnancy or a stillbirth, people don't know how to react. Unlike the parents, others haven't formed a relationship with the fetus. What do we say? How do we behave?

She also points out that we're just not looking at pregnancy loss as normative in our culture — but we should. "If twenty-some percent of pregnancies end in loss, this isn't going anywhere," she told me. "It's not like this is a disease and we're not looking for some sort of cure. This is molecular biology, and this is what happens when we endeavor to create life. We risk being vulnerable to losing life. We risk not being in control."

So what if we could we could get more comfortable with this kind of loss and be a source of support for grieving would-be parents?

Zucker says she knows these are "just cards," but she hopes it's a good beginning.

These cards are an antidote to "I didn't know what to say." And we should say something! "We can't have a miscarriage by talking about miscarriage," Zucker says. "You cannot experience a pregnancy loss just by talking about pregnancy loss."

But we can provide support and condolences to our friends and family members who are grieving. And at the end of the day, isn't that what being human is all about?

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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