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Taking time to grieve and talking to others about your miscarriage will help

Paul Finnegan


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Meghan and Prince Harry were devastated after the loss of their unborn child

Meghan and Prince Harry were devastated after the loss of their unborn child

PA

Meghan and Prince Harry were devastated after the loss of their unborn child

There is so much work to be done around how as a society we deal with and talk about miscarriage to help women and their families coping with these issues every day, often silently.

Every single woman who has lost a baby deserves respectful and dignified healthcare that acknowledges her loss and provides support for any psychological issues she may face.

It can be seen as a veiled, secret mourning. Miscarriage is extremely common, and although we talk about it a little more now than we used to, women still face enormous stigma and shame when they lose a baby and they are often not encouraged to talk about their experience and loss.

This can lead to isolation, depression and disconnection, even from their partners and close family, and means that women can end up trapped in their own personal grief.

Some of the depression may stem from the inept way in which others can react to miscarriage. People say well-intentioned but insensitive things, or they worry about saying the wrong thing, so they say nothing at all.

Some clients have come to Cruse for support having suffered a recent loss only to realise that the key loss they are grieving for happened through miscarriage up to 20 years earlier.

Others who have recently had a miscarriage have talked about emotions such as grief, guilt, emptiness, fear and loneliness.

In terms of loneliness they have noted that on many occasions they were in large groups of people, family and/or friends, but felt totally alone.

There is the wonder of who he/she would have grown into, how they would have been raised. Often would-have-been birthdays are remembered each and every year. Some people suggest that the pain never goes away completely.

The extremely sad news of the duchess's miscarriage will hopefully allow her grief to bring miscarriage closer to the everyday conversation.

There are many things that can help women and couples at this time. In the short-term it is important to take time to grieve and allow the body and mind to adjust.

Communication is really important and talking to others such as family and friends can really help. Write things down or start a journal. We have heard of people starting a new skill or hobby or joining a female voice choir, where the therapy of music was hugely instrumental in helping in dark times.

Others challenge themselves to huge efforts like marathons, where they found that their body was actually very strong and could do amazing things.

Organisations such as Life after Loss and the Miscarriage Association can put people in touch with others who have had a miscarriage and this type of peer support can be extremely beneficial.

Additionally if there is a need for bereavement support, Cruse are here to help. Our national freephone helpline offers emotional help and signposting. Call 0808 808 1677.

Paul Finnegan is director of Cruse Bereavement Care in Northern Ireland

Belfast Telegraph


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