Up until a few weeks ago, miscarriages were “taboo. In fact, thanks to a fashionista, it became just as fashionable to talk about like tznius dresses and big hoop earrings.
I saw women of all ages on social media sharing numbers of pregnancies and miracles, women who never met, all different backgrounds, ages and places, sharing stories, feeling a part of a new family… and all were Jewish.
Enter Elizabeth Savetsky, a Social Media influencer, and herself a woman that suffered through three miscarriages. We recently sat down to discuss RealLoveRealLoss:
Elizabeth, tell us a brief background about you:
I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, then, made my way to NYC to go to NYU for college. After college I spent a year in Israel at Neve Yerushalayim and then moved to Philly to get a masters in Reading, Writing, and Literacy at UPenn. While in Philly, I married my husband, Ira, a native New Yorker. We moved back to NYC after school and had 2 daughters, Stella and Juliet, who are now 5 and 6 years old.
I worked for a fashion PR company for about 6 years and started my blog, Excessories Expert, on the side in 2013, as a way of merging my passions for writing and fashion.
Once Instagram came into the picture, my audience grew very organically. On any given day my followers come with me to the gym, see what I’m cooking for dinner, and hear about accessories trends I am loving.
Give a brief background about how you started this group:
Last year I lost 3 pregnancies. It was a very dark time. I decided to publicly share my struggles on Instagram because I felt like social media can give a false sense of reality since generally, people only present the good. I found purpose with my pain by opening up about my loss. Thousands of women who had similar experiences, reached out to tell me how my openness made them feel less alone. I realized how much shame and guilt these women felt and it broke my heart. I wanted to open up a dialogue and help the ladies experiencing this heartbreak feel supported. I kind of unintentionally became the poster child for pregnancy loss.
Just a couple of weeks ago Sharon Mazel, co-author of the What to Expect series, asked me to host a pregnancy loss and infertility Q&A with her on Instagram. The interest in the topic was overwhelming. After 7 days of answering innumerable questions we came to the conclusion that this is a topic that needs to be brought to the surface. It’s been buried for far too long.
In the process of the Q&A I had an “AHA moment.” I happened to mention in an Instagram caption that every time I have to give my medical history at the doctor’s office and list how many pregnancies and how many live births I’ve had, it is a painful trigger that brings back all the feelings of loss I experienced this past year. So many women responded to tell me they had the exact same trigger. I thought to myself, “We have to do something with these numbers! We have to take them back! These aren’t numbers, these are our children!” By that night, I had found a group of other women who are publicly active on Instagram, who were willing to go public with their losses. We put our heads together and within a few short days, #RealLoveRealLoss was born.
What is the goal of this group?
The goal is to destigmatize pregnancy loss. We want women who have lost their unborn children to know it’s okay to grieve. We want them to feel less alone. We want to squash the shame and guilt associated with a subject that has remained unnecessarily taboo for far too long. By sharing our pain, we are saying, “You are not alone. You have a community.”
Because pregnancy loss is not a visible loss, people often diminish the pain associated with it. It is hard to mourn something that those on the outside may have never even known about. But for anyone who has experienced the trauma of losing a pregnancy, the void is eternal. By sharing the number of pregnancies we’ve had and the number of living miracles we have, we are acknowledging every child, living or not, as forever a part of of our hearts and souls.
Will you be branching out and how?
I hope so! I would love to continue to spread the #RealLoveRealLoss movement. We are still in the very beginning stages, but I see so much potential to partner with organizations who help women experiencing pregnancy loss to find the resources and comfort they need.
I would also love to expand into supporting women experiencing infertility. I have personally been through the trauma of both pregnancy loss and infertility and I know how lonely it felt. I would love to be able to help my fellow ladies through these challenging times by offering the support of a community. Additionally, it would be so fulfilling to me to help raise funds for women who are struggling to afford fertility treatments. The stress of the infertility process is so great and I want to do anything I can do to alleviate any part of that for women in the world.
What is the number one message you want to share?
You are not alone.
The darkest moments of my life were on the ultrasound table, learning my pregnancies would not be successful. I would not hold the babies I dreamt of in my arms. Each of the 3 times, I found myself in an ocean of sadness. For days I could not move. I felt completely empty and paralyzed. I also felt an irrational sense of guilt and shame, like I had done something to cause this.
And life was going on all around me. I had responsibilities to attend to and two beautiful, living children to care for. The loneliness I felt made my pain exponentially worse.
The only thing besides time that helped me push through and heal was sharing my losses in order to help others. I found that when I shared, I felt better. And when women shared their losses back with me, I felt supported. I knew if they had the strength to get through it, I could too. I also felt validated in my grief.
If I can help even one woman experiencing pregnancy loss to feel less alone, I will feel this movement has been a success.
For more information, Savetsky can be found on Instagram.
Cindy Grosz can be reached at @cindy_grosz, @cindyscorners and at firstname.lastname@example.org