Pregnancy Loss

Internationally October 15th marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (PAILRD) and is an annual remembrance day that is observed

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “Pregnancy loss is defined differently around the world, but in general a baby who dies before 28 weeks of pregnancy is referred to as a miscarriage, and babies who die at or after 28 weeks are stillbirths. Every year, 2.6 million babies are stillborn, and many of these deaths are preventable”

Given many early pregnancy losses are not captured in the data , some estimate that I in 4 pregnancies end in pregnancy loss.

In my professional practice I have cared for countless women who have experience pregnancy loss and comforted them in their grief and devastation. The impact of the loss affects women and their partners all differently and in variety ways, with the most common response being anxiety and depression.

I have personally experienced early pregnancy loss 4 times and can testify firsthand to the range of emotions and devastation felt. I was studying Midwifery when I lost my first baby so the emotions were intensified by the daily exposure to mums and babies. I had felt an instant connection with my baby and experienced intense grief at the loss. I recall feeling anger and sadness and distinctly recall the envy I felt when seeing other pregnant women. For me it seemed like a robbery , why me, why,  it seemed so inexplicable and unfair.

In many cultures losing a baby in pregnancy through miscarriage or stillbirth is still a taboo subject, and can be linked to stigma and shame. Many women still do not receive appropriate and respectful care when their baby dies during pregnancy or childbirth. 

Remember to be kind to yourself if you have a miscarriage and seek counselling to help you if you are struggling. Always be sensitive and acknowledge the loss if you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage as women can feel the grief and loss of a similar intensity to other major losses and may again be triggered on baby due date. My first baby was due on my dads birthday and miscarried on the first anniversary of his death so these dates remain very still remain trigger for me.