Today a review recommended a raft of changes to improve care for women who suffer early miscarriages.
The government has agreed to adopt some of its key proposals, to hopefully ensure women don’t have to suffer multiple miscarriages to get medical help, and that the remains of babies are treated with more dignity.
Siobhan Abrahams shared her own heartbreaking experiences with the review.
Below she shares her story, and hope for the future, in her own words.
I have had to go through 10 pregnancies to give me my three precious sons.
The losses ranged from multiple early miscarriages to two late miscarriages, which were almost a year to the day apart.
The care that I received for the losses varied but none of it, unfortunately, was what I would have wanted.
Sometimes I had poor physical care but excellent compassionate care, other times I had good physical care, but the compassion was just not there.
When I had my second late-term miscarriage, I still had to give birth into a commode and that for me was awful.
It felt like my child was being treated as waste.
This was my child, and the midwife essentially just told me: “Come on – on you get.”
It was horrific, and I think that experience traumatised me more than nearly dying the year before because that part I felt they understood.
That my child had died but this time that understanding wasn’t there – yet clinically it was perfect… physically I was safe but mentally I wasn’t.
Having all my losses before 24 weeks meant that some care and charities were not available to me – then I found Saying Goodbye and the Mariposa Trust.
Real heartache shaped review’s plan for change
I have been very emotional about this government review, with feelings of such enormous joy, but tinged with a little sadness, and pride, for those many women and men who have volunteered their own experiences of heartache to try to improve the experience for others.
I became involved thanks to my connection with Saying Goodbye founder Zoe Clark-Coates and the Mariposa Trust, where I now volunteer.
Very early on in the Pregnancy Loss Review, Zoe and midwife Sam Collinge, the co-leads of the review, invited some bereaved parents to tell their stories and I was honoured to tell them about my seven babies.
But I had another hat on that day, as a pharmacist in the Emergency Department at Northampton General Hospital.
Every story told of how women did not get appropriate pain relief, but also the difference that kindness made to their experience and recovery.
The Mariposa Trust asked if I could look at this further and that is where the guideline for acute pain started.
Changes will make a huge difference
These recommendations are going to make a huge difference to so many people.
My losses have not just affected me but also my wider family – my youngest son thought that everyone had a brother in the graveyard and was surprised when he started school and found that was not true.
I am delighted that the review is so wide-ranging, and that Zoe and Sam have thought of so many aspects of the losses people feel when they experience this particular tragedy.
It is unquestionably so important to look at the practical side of the care, but compassion is equally important, as this is where the dignity and future mental health of the bereaved parents is considered and understood.
I am particularly excited by the recommendations on education in schools, as I believe the earlier people know about the help that is available, the better.
I am also so happy about the continued work that Zoe and Sam will be doing about information and signposting for women during loss, as I know from friends and family that it is often an added stress that people just don’t know what to do or where to go for help.
This is such a special day.
Zoe Clark-Coates and Sam Collinge have done such an amazing job that will change the lives of so many of us.
For that, I shall be forever grateful.
Written by: Newsroom