Baby Loss Awareness Week: “You never think it will happen to you”

To mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, a McPin team member shares their experiences, the importance of more research and funding, and why people shouldn’t have to suffer in silence any longer. This blog discusses baby loss and miscarriage based on the author’s lived experience.

“An estimated one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage.” 

Even though we all know the stats, you never think it’ll happen to you.   

Hallowe’en is always a bittersweet time for me – I love the costumes, the candles, the spiders, the bats (being a former goth) but it is always tinged with sadness knowing it was the day my baby was due.   

My miscarriage happened in the first trimester – a positive test, the elation, the planning, the first midwife appointment.  It wasn’t until the first scan that we were told that there was, in the words of the sonographer, “nothing there”.   

It turned out the IVF drugs I had been taking had masked the miscarriage and stopped the inevitable from occurring.   

The sonographer was kind but flustered, not really knowing what to say or do.  I was told to stop taking the drugs, go home and “wait”.  So I did. 

The wait was awful, but not long. The practicalities I will not describe here in a work blog (although they should be somewhere, because it would make things a lot less scary if everything wasn’t so cloaked in silence), but needless to say when it finally did happen, I had a panic attack (not something I am usually prone to) and my poor partner had to counsel me whilst they were on a commuter train home. 

We were lucky in that the way that it happened allowed us to prepare and then grieve for our lost child.   

I was also hugely fortunate that the wonderful Guys Assisted Conception Unit were able to offer me counselling almost straight away to support my mental health – a fact I know is exceptionally rare. 

So, what am I trying to tell you with this short blog?   

Well, that talking about these things matters, creating an environment where a person feels safe to break their silence and to share their experiences, if they would like to. Knowing that you are not alone matters. That funding for counselling and baby loss support matters. That research into miscarriage and mental health matters.   

Among my friends I have those who have suffered far more than me, and I know how important it is to speak out, to feel heard, seen and supported.   

So, this Baby Loss Awareness Week, please spare a thought, a message or a call, for those you know who might be struggling. 

At McPin we are currently working on the evaluation of a new NHS maternal mental health Service (MMHS), which provides tailored support for women who have experienced baby loss, as well as other challenging events around the maternity experience.  

We’ll be sharing our evaluation soon, follow us on Twitter @mcpinfoundation and sign up to our newsletter to see the results.