As you may know, 9th-15th October is Baby Loss Awareness week, something we care deeply about at H&B. We recognise the importance of listening to and helping colleagues through the distress of miscarriage and creating a supporting environment at work.
That’s why we’ve signed up to the Miscarriage Association Pregnancy Loss Pledge to improve support in the workplace for those who experience loss.
Our initiatives have included a pregnancy loss training guide for managers, return to work policy and pregnancy loss support programmes for our employees affected by loss led by Parla.
In this article, we’ll provide you with some key information about miscarriage and baby loss, plus an expert-led video so you’re a little less in the dark on this subject.
The NHS describe a miscarriage as the loss of a pregnancy within the first 23 weeks.
However, it’s important to acknowledge that there are numerous forms of pregnancy and baby loss - and all can be extremely distressing. Losing a baby in the first trimester (the first 12 weeks of pregnancy) is classed as an early miscarriage.
Any time after that, but before 23 weeks, is known as a late miscarriage and after 23 weeks - this loss is technically a still birth.
There are also losses, like failed rounds of IVF or a molar pregnancy, that occur so early on that pregnancy may not have even been confirmed.
All losses, no matter what stage of pregnancy they occur, are heartbreaking for anyone trying to conceive and can trigger feelings of grief.
A miscarriage can often be a distressing time for everyone involved. It can be both emotionally and physically draining so if you are struggling, know you are not alone.
The vast majority of people who have experienced pregnancy loss say that it has an impact on their mental wellbeing.
For some this might mean navigating a range of emotions that come with grief - including anger guilt and confusion. Support groups and self-care practices can help with the healing process and whilst it might take time, it’s possible to move forward.
However for others the mental health impact might run a little deeper. It’s not uncommon for a miscarriage to trigger feelings of depression and anxiety, and research has shown that some people even develop PTSD.2
If you are concerned about your mental health, never delay talking to your GP and giving them a full overview of how you are feeling.
The shame and stigma surrounding miscarriage can stop those effected reaching out for support, so it’s essential that we break the taboo and get talking.
When asked about feelings of guilt after miscarriage, psychotherapist and counsellor who specialises in miscarriage and baby loss, Julia Bueno makes the point that:3
“It’s a very rare bereaved woman after a miscarriage that doesn’t express guilt and it baffles me how creative the female mind can be – I’ve heard women blame themselves for playing tennis, having sex, cleaning the fridge, standing too close to the oven.
Part of it is social conditioning of women to feel responsible for other people’s welfare from a young age. But there’s also something very human about us trying to make patterns out of chaos and lack of reason, and miscarriage and fertility are saturated with so much ‘not knowing’ and lack of concrete reasons.
Only half of the couples leaving a recurrent miscarriage clinic after all their tests will be given a reason why.”
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Last updated: 13 October 2022
Julia Bueno practises full-time as a UKCP registered psychotherapist
and supervisor in London. She has a particular expertise in working
with pregnancy loss and infertility, and trains therapists and others in
Her first book, The Brink of Being: Talking about Miscarriage (Virago
Press) won the British Medical Association Popular Medicine Book
Award 2021 and was the runner-up for the British Psychological
Society Book Award 2021. It has also been published in Poland,
Taiwan and the USA.
Her second book, also published by Virago Press, Everyone’s A Critic
(exploring self-criticism) was published in August 2022. Translation
rights for the Middle East, Romania and Poland have been agreed.
Her writing has been published in The Times, The Sunday Times, The
New York Times, Psychologyoday, and she reviews books for The
Times Literary Supplement.