Back in April I suffered a traumatic miscarriage. Well, aren’t they always traumatic? But the trauma of my already traumatic experience was compounded by the lack of empathy, care and advice I received from the hospital I rushed to on Easter Monday.
It was our first baby. We’d spent the past year umming and ahhing about when we wanted to have kids. But Covid changed all that. We thought “what are we waiting for?” and were so excited when we fell pregnant straight away. Sadly, I miscarried at 12+3 weeks – although the hospital suspected that the baby had stopped growing around 5 or 6 weeks. The day the spotting began my bump had even popped out more as though to reassure me.
Finding tools to cope with the mental and emotional pain
What followed, aside from the awful experience in the hospital, was me naively navigating 3 weeks of pain and bleeding. This was followed by a small break of 4 days and then a 2-week menstrual cycle, which left me with a slightly irrational (or completely understandable) fear of bleeding in public for a few months, and the need to protect myself at all times with a sanitary pad.
But once the physical pain has subsided, you are left with the mental and emotional pain.
As a wellbeing practitioner, I tapped into the tools that I use on a daily basis – Reiki, meditation, tarot and journaling. I joined all the online forums to try and get information and make sense of what had happened. I spoke to countless other women and read countless other stories in these forums that had a similar theme – a distinct lack of support, and having been made to feel like they and their babies didn’t matter.
I knew there needed to be better support following loss
Even in the midst of all this trauma, I knew that there needed to be something more out there for women like me and their partners. There had to be more support.
It just didn’t make sense to me that so many other women were having to muddle through this and feel so awful during a time when they should be being treated with the utmost care, compassion and consideration.
There’s a saying that goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ – and I think that this support should also be there when loss is experienced.
Creating a safe space for bereaved parents
Before my miscarriage I had begun to create a workshop for mums-to-be, something that I was really looking forward to. After the miscarriage, that was obviously something I didn’t feel able to do, but I thought “well, why the hell can’t I do the same thing but for people whose babies are no longer with them?”. So, I created a baby loss healing circle. The first one will be taking place in real life on 11 September at Juno, a beautiful cafe and events space in Leyton, east London.
My aim is to create a safe and nurturing space for anyone who has suffered a loss of any kind – miscarriage, stillbirth, termination for medical reasons, ectopic or molar pregnancy, neonatal loss – at any time. It doesn’t matter how long ago. We can carry grief for years – it has no expiry date.
During the 2 hours that we have together, we will be writing letters to our babies, journaling using prompts to help get our feelings out. I will be guiding us in meditation and there will also be a sharing circle where we can share our experiences, our feelings and our grief in a space where we will feel held and heard.
We need to break the taboo around loss
I wanted to share my experience from the very beginning. I feel that pregnancy and baby loss needs to be spoken about more openly in order to improve the quality of care for those going through it, and to help others understand it better so that they are better able to support loved ones experiencing it.
Our baby’s due date was 15 October, the date that marks the end of Baby Loss Awareness Week, which felt like a huge sign from the universe to use my experience to help others and turn it into something positive.
After sharing my story on my @intothewildhealing Instagram page, I had lots of messages of support. I noticed that a lot of the people booking in for Reiki therapy with me after I shared my story were those who had experienced loss. Being a Reiki therapist, and having had Reiki myself from other practitioners during my miscarriage, I know firsthand how beneficial this gentle healing energy can be – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I am now curating a service tailored to pregnancy loss that I will be launching very soon.
Baby loss happens – and it happens often – so rather than have the subject shrouded in shame, let’s get it out in the open. Let’s talk about it and share our knowledge and experiences so that other parents no longer have to feel like they have done something wrong, or that something is wrong with them. Let’s come together and support each other at a time when we need all the support and love that we can get.
Jennifer’s event is happening in London on Saturday 11 September. You can find out more here, or follow Jennifer on Instagram at @intothewildhealing.