Miscarriage is devastating, and often women find it hard to talk about so the idea of an Instagram account for women to come together to discuss their experiences may sound slightly bizarre – but in fact, many women have found the I Had a Miscarriage Instagram pages very helpful. It was started by a psychologist, Jessica Zucker, in 2015 and already has more than 17 thousand followers. The account has become a space for women to connect, to share their feelings and to read about the experiences of others.
Losing a baby is particularly difficult if you have been through fertility problems and treatment first, and if you have personal experience of this it is always worth getting in touch with the Miscarriage Association who can provide lots of information and support. The Miscarriage Association is currently running the brilliant Simply Say campaign to help other people understand more about what to say when a friend, colleague or family member has experienced a miscarriage.
If you’ve experienced pregnancy loss or have been uncertain what to say to a friend who has had a miscarriage, the new campaign from the Miscarriage Association will be welcome. They’re aiming to help people respond to someone who has been through a miscarriage or an ectopic or molar pregnancy. Often people are so worried about saying the wrong thing that they end up trying not to talk about the miscarriage at all, which isn’t a helpful response.
The Miscarriage Association campaign is called Simply Say and aims to make it easier for people to have the conversations that they sometimes avoid. They are encouraging family, friends and colleagues to acknowledge the loss and then to listen, and the campaign aims to help them to know what to say – and what not to say.
The charity has spoken to women and their partners about the things they’ve found helpful and the things that can be particularly upsetting. They conclude that everyone is different and that it can be hard to find the right words to comfort someone, but acknowledging their loss is one way that you can help anyone who has been through this. Simply saying that you are sorry is one of the most important things you can do.
The things that can be particularly upsetting are well-meant comments which aim to put a positive spin on the experience – for example “Don’t worry, you can always have another baby” or ““It wasn’t meant to be”. For people who have had a miscarriage after spending some time trying to get pregnant, it’s the “well, at least you know now that you can get pregnant” comments which can be really hurtful. Although people may just be trying to find something positive to say, it is particularly unhelpful when you may feel that you don’t know if you will be able to get pregnant again.
The Miscarriage Association have produced an animation and infographics as well as a downloadable leaflet with more detailed information, and you can get involved in their #SimplySay campaign on social media. Do support this important campaign!
Thanks to The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman for this article about her experience of miscarriage. It is raw, honest and very moving, and she raises important questions about why it is that we don’t talk abut miscarriage. Why is it that women are often encouraged not to mention that they are pregnant until they reach 12 weeks because of the risk of miscarriage? It assumes that we would want to keep losing a baby secret, that it is something to be hidden and not talked about. For some people, this may make things easier but for many others, not being able to talk about something so heartbreaking can make it even harder to cope.
Miscarriage is devastating whenever it happens in pregnancy – and if you’ve taken time to get pregnant in the first place, it can feel even more overwhelming. If you, or anyone you know, is affected by miscarriage, the Miscarriage Association, can offer support and advice and is a really helpful source of information.
If you have been affected by miscarriage, would you be able to help by completing a survey about priority setting around miscarriage? The link to the survey itself is here but if you are interested in reading more about it, this may be helpful from one of the lay members who has been sitting on the group leading the project. The aim is to improve the care and treatment for women who experience miscarriage and those affected by it, and to set the priorities for research that will make the biggest difference.
Woman who have had a miscarriage themselves and their partners, family members, friends and colleagues are invited to complete the survey along with professionals involved in caring for women who have experienced miscarriage and professional bodies, patient groups, charities and other organisations involved with miscarriage.
It is fabulous news that Tommy’s has opened a specialist nationalist centre to investigate the causes of miscarriage. Miscarriage is far more common than many of us realise and all too often women are told that investigations can only be carried out after they’ve been through three miscarriages. This is traumatic for anyone, but it is particularly difficult for a fertility patient who will first need to be lucky enough to get pregnant three times, only to lose their very precious pregnancy.
The new centre is going to be the biggest centre in Europe and will be dedicated to preventing early miscarriage. Three universities have joined together to run specialist clinics which will be part of the centre – the University of Birmingham, the University of Warwick, and Imperial College London. It is hoped that 24,000 women a year will be able to access the support offered and to take part in the research studies.
The statistics on miscarriage are stark – 200,000 mothers and their partners are affected every year with 85% of miscarriages occurring within the first 12 weeks. You can find out more about the pioneering new national centre here. If you have personal experience of miscarriage after fertility problems, you find the Miscarriage Association leaflet on Fertility problems and pregnancy loss helpful
I’ve only just seen this incredibly moving article in The Guardian about the experience of miscarriage – you don’t need to have been through the loss of a pregnancy yourself to empathise with this piece. It does make you think about how little other people appreciate or understand what it feels like to lose a baby – especially when this happens more than once. Well worth reading – thanks Amy for writing it.
If you are affected by miscarriage, the Miscarriage Association can offer really valuable help and support.
There have long been questions about the use of progesterone supplements for women who have experienced recurrent miscarriages. It was thought that progesterone treatment could help in such circumstances, and it has been used for decades. Now a team at the University of Birmingham have conducted a trial which shows that it doesn’t improve outcomes for women who have had a history of recurrent miscarriages. However, the research shows that it doesn’t do any harm either, so women who have used progesterone supplements do not need to worry about this.
You can read more about the five year trial, led by Professor Arri Coomarasamy, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine on the University of Birmingham website.
I wanted to add a post this week for Baby Loss Awareness Week. Today, October 15, is the international Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and this evening everyone can take part in a “Wave of Light” by lighting a candle at 7pm to remember all the babies who have died during pregnancy, at, during or after birth.
Experiencing a miscarriage or losing a baby is a devastating thing to happen to anyone, but if you’ve been finding it difficult to get pregnant and have been trying to conceive for a while before this happened, it is a very bitter double blow.
By lighting a candle tonight, you can join a ‘Wave of Light’ around the world in memory of all the babies who have been lost. You can be join together with others by taking a photo of your candle and post it to Facebook or Twitter using #WaveOfLight at 7pm.
Nearly half of women who have had a miscarriage are made to wait more than 24 hours to have a scan to check what has happened, according to a new survey of more than a thousand women for the website Mumsnet. The survey also found that one in five women had to wait for more than three days to get a scan – and once they were in hospital nearly half were treated next to women who had ongoing pregnancies.
Women who miscarried at home were often not offered adequate pain relief, and just 15% who miscarried at home after having a scan felt that they had the right support, information and pain relief to manage at home.
As anyone with any vague stirrings of empathy would appreciate, emotional support is essential after losing a baby but despite the fact that 58% of the women who responded wanted counselling, just 12% were actually offered it.
The results of the survey show a shocking lack of care and support for women who are going through a traumatic experience – and Mumsnet are suggesting people tweet the following politicians to ask for their support to change things for the better – Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt), Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) and Norman Lamb (@normanlamb)