Author Jessica Zucker Honors Pregnancy Loss with Collection of Heartfelt Cards

10/14/2015 at 01:00 PM ET

In recent months, celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg and Eva Amurri Martino have openly shared the heartbreak that accompanied their miscarriages, thus bringing much-needed awareness to an often isolating experience for many.

With Thursday, Oct. 15, marking the official Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day, PEOPLE spoke to Jessica Zucker – author, psychologist, and creator of the viral hashtag #IHadaMiscarriage on the New York Times‘ “Motherlode” page about the best way to address a friend or loved one who may have experienced a pregnancy loss.

Zucker, who is on the medical advisory council of Christy Turlington BurnsEvery Mother Counts organization, explains that when public figures come forward to discuss a topic that is often considered taboo, it truly has a positive impact.

“Celebrities talking about their own personal experience helps normalize the conversation and helps other people feel more inclined to share,” she says.

Jessica Zucker
Courtesy Jessica Zucker

She adds as the more people share their own stories, the more we “continue to dispel the stigma and shame and feelings of guilt or even self-blame that can arise.”

In response to what she says is our culture’s difficulty “dealing with ‘out of order’ loss,” Zucker created a series of pregnancy loss cards to solve this exact dilemma.

The women’s health specialist says the cards, which offer caring and sometimes even funny words of comfort in the case of miscarriage, stillbirth, and even pregnancy after a loss, were made, “with the hope of providing the antidote to the saying ‘I just didn’t know what to say or do.’ ” The goal of her efforts is to, “help these women feel validated, understood, seen and connected,” she says.

Jessica Zucker
Courtesy Jessica Zucker

Since the release of the cards on Oct. 1, Zucker says the response has been “absolutely heartening” and that she has received hundreds of emails from parents who have experienced pregnancy loss themselves.

The cards have even reached those in Hollywood — Laura Benanti of the hit show Nashville, who recently wrote a candid op-ed about her own miscarriage, tweeted “These are amazing. Thank you @DrZucker” in response to the launch.

Jessica Zucker
Courtesy Jessica Zucker

Not surprisingly, Zucker has been extremely inspired by her work with Turlington-Burns.

“She’s been incredibly supportive, and she is a remarkable human being.” she says of the model-turned-activist. “Her ongoing work around women’s issues is stellar; knowing women like her exist makes me feel better about the women’s health world.”

— Becky Randel

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Jo on

Why would you put a picture of a very pregnant woman (even if it is the author??) on an article dedicated to pregnancy loss? Someone is grieving, sees the title and thinks “wow, someone understands” and then is hit with super pregnant? Not cool. Not cool or kind at all.