“I remember going for my 3-month scan and they said your baby isn’t right. I had to make a decision. I went and had a termination, which was hard to go and do.”
Following this traumatic time, Gemma’s partner left her, leaving her to try and process her grief and emotions alone.
“I was desperately unhappy.”
Gemma shared that during this time she dealt with suicidal thoughts and self-harmed. Having a termination for medical reasons can be hugely traumatic and it is so important that women and families are offered the right support for them.
A 2019 Baby Loss Awareness Week Alliance report found 60% of bereaved parents felt they needed specialist psychological support after losing a baby during pregnancy or birth, and almost 1 in 7 of Petals’ counselling referrals relate to TFMR.
Despite needing this support, those affected by TFMR can be reluctant to reach out, struggling with complicated feelings around having made their decision and sometimes fearing judgement.
At least 5,000 pregnancies a year in the UK end due to TFMR – but the persistent taboo in society can mean that families keep it secret, in fear of other people’s reactions.
The feelings you will have if you end a pregnancy are as strong and painful as any other type of baby loss in pregnancy. Being told that you or your unborn baby are at risk is a painful and traumatic experience.
We want to make sure our community includes everyone who's lost a baby during pregnancy or birth. That's why we've partnered with charities Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC) and Petals to end the stigma around termination for medical reasons and improve support for the thousands of families affected.
Thank you Gemma, for breaking the silence around TFMR and sharing your story.
Support following TFMR
- You can talk to our midwives on 0800 0147 800, open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday or email on [email protected]
- Petals provide counselling following baby loss, including TFMR. Having a safe space to work through this turmoil of emotions with an experienced professional counsellor can enable women and families to move forward
- The charity Antenatal Results and Choices offers non-directive information and specialised support for people who have received a diagnosis after antenatal testing. They can help you make sense of what you’ve been told, gather the information you might need and support you to make a decision that feels right for you and your family
- Find out about our partnership with ARC and Petals