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Coming to terms with the pain of pregnancy loss

Coming to terms with the pain of pregnancy loss

70 per cent of women experiencing miscarriage and pregnancy loss lack support and are left alone with their grief.

Coming to terms with the pain of pregnancy loss

Chrissy Teigen has always been open with her fans about her personal life, through all its ups and downs. But the model shared her most devastating update yet on Thursday, revealing that she had lost her baby during pregnancy.

“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” she wrote on Instagram.

The loss came days after Teigen was admitted to hospital with severe bleeding. Earlier this week, Teigen said she was “about halfway through her pregnancy”, which is around 20-24 weeks.

Teigen and her husband, singer John Legend, are parents to daughter Luna, four, and son Miles, two. In her post to Instagram, Teigen wrote that she and Legend were “so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience”.

“But every day can’t be full of sunshine,” she said.  “On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.”

It’s estimated that miscarriage happens in around 1 in 4 recognised pregnancies, with 85% of those happening in the first trimester (weeks 1 to 12). A ‘late’ miscarriage may occur between weeks 13 to 24 of pregnancy. After 24 weeks, the loss is considered a stillbirth.

Adding to the pain of pregnancy loss is that many women report a lack of support to deal with the grief. A survey by the Pink Elephants Support Network of over 1,700 women show that almost 70 per cent of women who suffered a miscarriage said they received no support at all, and 60 per cent of women said they would have used a peer support service if it had been made available to them.

The release of the results of the survey coincided with International Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day on October 15. In 1988 American President Ronald Reagan designated the entire month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month and since then countries including Canada, US, UK, Norway, Italy and Australia have observed the remembrance day.

The Pink Elephants Support Network was founded in 2016 by Samantha Payne and Gabbi Armstrong, after they connected on a facebook group discussion about the lack of support for women experiencing infertility issues and pregnancy loss.

The Network’s co-founder Samantha Payne, who herself has suffered pregnancy loss, said women deserved the support of somebody removed from their everyday life to help guide, support and validate what they were going through.

“Miscarriage is an individual journey, but it’s not one that should be walked alone. Everyone experiencing miscarriage has the right to receive support, empathy and understanding to assist and guide them through their own healing process. We support women as they grieve, nurture them as they heal and empower them as they move beyond.”

If someone you know has experienced pregnancy loss, a good question to ask is “would you like to talk about it?” For many women, it is important they have an opportunity to talk about their experience, and acknowledge the grief they feel.

Paralympian, author and speaker, Jessica Smith, is one of the women who is speaking out about her experience of pregnancy loss in support of #miscarriagematters. She says, “Taking the time to acknowledge and remember my baby who was too precious for this earth, is something I try to do often, but having a day where all women who have experienced this loss can come together and feel united and supported, certainly makes the burden less heavy to carry. I had no idea what the statistics were around pregnancy loss, I felt lost and alone. I share my story in the hope that it will leave a sense of peace among others who also know this tremendous pain”.

Pink Elephants is a charity that provides peer support for anyone impacted by early pregnancy loss; free online support resources for women, their partners, family and friends; and care packs for women in more than 30 NSW Hospitals.

In June this year, the Network launched a national first: to provide women with a course of six free sessions of personalised peer support with another woman who has walked a similar journey, providing a safe space to share feelings and emotions. Since June, 45 women have successfully completed the peer support program.

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