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'My miscarriage' by Penny

Wednesday, 15 November 2017  | 

Miscarriage: My feelings

A couple of weeks ago was baby loss awareness week. It culminated with the Wave of Light evening on Sunday 15 October at 7pm. Both events were something I had never heard of until last year when I suffered a miscarriage.

My husband and I lit a candle on the Sunday in memory of our baby that was not born. Funnily enough, Bump had been exceptionally chaty during the day. This may sound silly but it was almost as if Bump was trying to speak to his brother or sister throughout the day.

 

My miscarriage

 

I have been open to the readers of my blog {details below} that last year I suffered a miscarriage. I can't at this moment in time go into the in's and out's because I find it too upsetting. Sadly though my experience didn't shine the NHS in a very good light.

In the months that followed I was in a dark place. I was depressed and so desperately alone. I felt like people at work would avoid speaking to me. No one seemed to know what to say. I felt like a failure.

If someone did speak to me what they said was just so not right for the circumstances. "you will have another child", "it is natures way of self selection", "the baby was ill", "at least you know you can get pregnant", "you will forget about it over time", "lots worse happens to other people"....you get the picture it wasn't nice.

I don't blame those people who said those things to me. They were trying to help. Sadly miscarriage is a huge taboo subject in the UK and, as a result, it is often hard to find the right words.

Being Open

A couple of months after my miscarriage was confirmed I decided that I would be open and honest about it. One of the things that I found hard in the early days was that I felt I was a failure. I felt a failure because it didn't happen to other women. No one I knew had suffered a miscarriage {actually the truth is a number of close friends and family as well as colleagues had suffered miscarriages but they had suffered in silence}.

My family were fantastic in supporting me. Sadly, no one could give me what I longed for and that was a baby.

It wasn't until, ironically, I was in the middle of a very deep NCT antenatal class about post natal depression that all my emotions came out. That class was some nine months after my loss. And it was the following simple words, words that I had been longing to hear for nine months, that signalled all my emotions to come out:

"I am truly sorry for your loss"

That was it. Unbelievably up until our course leader gave me a hug and uttered those words in my ear, no one had said that to me. Not the consultant at the hospital nor my GP {who I had been to see numerous times following my miscarriage}, nor any of my friends or family.

Yes friends and family had consoled me but no one had spoken to me like I was grieving. I was grieving.

I don't blame my GP, my friends or family at all. As with all things involving death, it is very hard to know what to say. I have been there myself, that awkward moment when you see someone you know is grieving. What do you say? What if they get upset by what you say? Surely it is simpler to just pretend life is normal so that you don't have an awkward conversation. British people, in particular, I feel, have a huge issue with talking about death.

It is harder with a miscarriage as well because no one ever got to meet the little baby that was growing inside me. I think, therefore, people don't really associate miscarriage with a grieving process.

The Facts

 

Miscarriage is more common than people believe. The stat above is quite surprising isn't it? It is right. 25% of the female population in the UK have suffered a loss during pregnancy.

A quarter of the UK population {I am including the Dad's here as well} have had to deal with the loss of a child they never met. My husband and I are lucky, we managed to conceive Bump relatively shortly afterwards. For others, they are not so lucky.

We need to support these amazing ladies and men who are going through a really tough time.

Bereavement support in UK hospitals needs to be better. Hospitals need to better train their staff. It beggars belief that:

    •       a third of UK hospitals do not have a bereavement room on a maternity ward; and

    •       bereavement training is not mandatory in all NHS trusts.

 

I still cannot believe that the baby loss day ward {for lack of a better phrase} at the hospital where I was sent, is next door to the labour ward.

Improving bereavement care at hospital is just the start really. All round, as a society, we need to be better and talking about miscarriage. Yes some ladies won't want to talk about their experience and that is fine. For me, just knowing I wasn't alone would have been a great comfort.

What can we all do?

For a starter please all watch the video below from the Miscarriage Association.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYr2S71qzKg

It is powerful isn't it? Next time you hear of someone having miscarried or lost a little one, please just tell them how sorry you are. Don't feel the need to justify their loss, chances are you will only be making the person feel worse. Just say "I am sorry".

Whilst it is just a small thing, I truly believe by telling people that we are sorry, rather than trying to justify their loss, we will as a result encourage more people to talk openly about miscarriage. Hopefully, that way, people won't feel as alone as I did last year and we can properly support ladies who have suffered a miscarriage.

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