What we need to be doing about pregnancy loss

Fertility challenges affect 1 in 6 families of reproductive age in Australia, with 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in loss. Yet, as a society, we are reluctant to talk openly about it. It most likely comes down to people not knowing what to say, or a fear of saying the wrong thing.

Sadly, the silence surrounding this topic leaves many people feeling isolated and alone.

We need to let women know that whatever they’re feeling is okay.

That it’s okay to feel jealous of anyone who announces their pregnancy or has a baby. That it’s okay to cry uncontrollably months after the miscarriage. That it’s okay to feel angry. That it’s okay to lose your confidence, to feel like a failure as a woman, or to feel obsessed about conceiving another baby. It’s okay if you feel none of these things, and you move on with it having little impact on your life.

We need to get a lot better at giving women a safe space to meet and talk about their struggles and grief.

Fortunately, one such space exists. The Pink Elephants Support Network is a not for profit charity, formed to support women through miscarriage, pregnancy loss, and beyond. The group supports women through their grief, nurtures them as they heal, and empowers them as they move into the future.

The Pink Elephants provide the latest resources, information, and peer support for anyone impacted whenever and wherever it’s needed whether they have directly experienced it, for family and friends, corporate partners or healthcare professionals.

When we acknowledge these experiences and stop minimising someone’s loss, it can have far-reaching benefits. Look at New Zealand’s stance on tackling pregnancy loss. They’ve legislated ‘bereavement leave’ for couples to access three days paid leave when they’ve lost a child.

We’re starting to head in the right direction, and it’s what we need to see in Australia now. We also need to see greater funding into women’s mental health, and research into the impact fertility challenges place on thousands each year.

Women are not only experiencing grief. According to The Pink Elephants, a sixth of those who have lost or had trouble conceiving have clinical depression after 9 months of their loss. If left unsupported, women can go on to develop PTSD, anxiety and/or depression.

It’s time to ensure women get the support and attention they need and deserve on a larger scale.

Where to seek or offer help

‘It is believed that when a mother elephant loses her baby, the other elephants stand in a circle around her, allowing her all the time she needs to grieve and mourn’.

  • The Pink Elephants Support Network Peer Support Programme is a community of women who have all gone through the heartbreaking experiences of loss. Find out here how you can receive support.
  • Join their #circleofsupport panel discussion about the different ways you can offer or receive support.
  • If you have a loved one going through a loss and you’re not sure how to help them, you can make a donation to Pink Elephants. By donating, you are saying ‘I see you, your loss matters, your baby mattered, we care’. It can literally be life-changing to a woman.
  • Plus you can check out their emotional resources that have been designed to help you support someone during this incredibly challenging time.

You don’t have to walk the journey of miscarriage and early pregnancy loss alone.


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