“1 in 3 women in Australia will experience a miscarriage or 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in loss before 12 weeks. That is 103,000 couples a year in Australia,” says Samantha Payne, who co-founded The Pink Elephants Support Network to help provide the necessary tools and counselling for those dealing with miscarriage after experiencing the lack of support available for women going through the physical and mental trauma of losing a baby...
“Miscarriage is shrouded in shame and stigma, so women often experience self-blame, which is normal, but they need to hear it is nothing they did,” she adds.
We caught up with Samantha to talk about the common causes of a miscarriage, how they are often treated, and what family and friends can do to help in this often overlooked time of need. If you’ve experienced a miscarriage or know someone who has, this is essential reading.
For more information, go to www.miscarriagesupport.org.au
Samantha Payne with her daughter
How do you define a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is technically the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks but for the woman going through a miscarriage, it’s the loss of her baby, her hopes and her dreams and a future she had envisioned.
What are steps to take after a miscarriage, for physical and emotional self-care?
To allow yourself time and space to grieve the loss of your baby, to ensure you have support around you, reach out to Pink Elephants and our online communities, connect with other women who have been there and can offer you true empathy and understanding.
How do you help women who have lost a pregnancy?
Validate their loss with ‘I’m sorry for your loss’; offer to help them practically; be there with them. Hold their hand and sit in the darkness with them; do not try to fix them or push them to move on too quickly – they have lost their baby.
“ For the woman going through a miscarriage, it’s the loss of her baby, her hopes and her dreams and a future she had envisioned ”
How do you help the partners cope?
Ensure they’ve downloaded our partner support resource and understand the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy loss. Remember partners grieve too, they have also lost a future they imagined with a new baby.
How can a woman support herself, physically and mentally, as she’s going through a loss?
By taking all the time she needs to feel whatever she does and know that it’s ok to feel many different emotions and to grieve the loss of her baby.
“ Do not try to fix them or push them to move on too quickly - they have lost their baby ”
In Australia, 103,000 couples a year will report an early pregnancy loss. That’s 283 women each day – yet many women suffer alone. Why do you think that this is the case?
Because many women still abide by the 12-week rule. Can you imagine how hard it would be to share that you were pregnant, but that you lost the baby in the same sentence? In addition to this, miscarriage is shrouded in shame and stigma so women often experience self-blame, which is normal, but they need to hear it is nothing they did. Before we started Pink Elephants, the only charities around supported later term loss and that can invalidate a woman grieving who maybe feels she doesn’t deserve support because she only lost her baby earlier on. We believe all women deserve emotional support after any pregnancy loss, no matter the gestation.
For more support, head to www.miscarriagesupport.org.au