We are very proud that Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research has started our first London miscarriage support group for parents who need support after miscarriage.
Volunteers from our clinic at Imperial College London and Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital have recently been running sessions for men and women who wanted to talk about their loss and hear about other people's experiences.
Dr Maya Al-Memar is one of the key people behind setting up this group and she stays behind after the session to answer any medical questions parents may have;
‘There is no obligation to speak or share anything you are not comfortable with. You can sit quietly and listen for the whole session or open up and share your story; it’s entirely up to you.’
The group is led by Flora Saxby who is a trained psychotherapist and early pregnancy nurse.
The sessions are informal and relaxed, and often run as more of a chat over tea and biscuits where women and their partners can either talk or simply sit and listen.
One of the women who has attended the support group thanked the organisers for setting up these sessions, saying that otherwise it can be difficult to find support for people experiencing this pain;
'Attending the support group was a turning point for me. I had been suffering in silence for a long time. Meeting other people and talking about our experiences helped me see that I was not alone. The facilitators Flora and Halima were wonderfully supportive during the session and helped me to release the pain and anger I had been feeling. I also was able to meet the staff from the early pregnancy unit, who were able to offer me reassurance that they would be there for me in a future pregnancy.'
The sessions have so far seen a good turnout by both men and women. The team is now looking to spread the word so that everyone who wants to share or connect with others who have had similar experiences know where they can go.
The need for support has been highlighted by a research study led by Professor Bourne and published by [email protected] that showed that women have high levels of PTSD, as well as anxiety and depression, following an early pregnancy loss.
The group has received praise from MP Antoinette Sandbach who led the All Party Parliamentary Group on baby loss and bereavement care;
‘I’m pleased that earlier this year the first miscarriage centre in the UK dedicated to preventing early miscarriage opened. That centre is working with Warwick, Birmingham and Imperial NHS trusts as well as Queen Charlotte’s. They are undertaking excellent research and I know that because my sister who has had seven miscarriages has benefited from the work that they have done. This year she has given birth to baby Ella and I’m thrilled for her. The clinicians there, Dr Maya and Professor Thomas Bourne and their teams are doing ground-breaking work to determine the cause of early miscarriage. As an example of how dedicated the staff there is, they are running a miscarriage support group on Saturdays. The clinicians attend, psychologists attend and they’re doing this all in their own time. That learning really has the potential to help support some of the work the government would like to achieve in terms of tackling our child loss rates.’
Many thanks to the Miscarriage Association who provided training and support to get this group up and running.
If you are interested in attending one of these sessions you can find details of times and location on the poster here.
Emma and her husband Tim tragically lost their baby daughter Lydie in 2010. Having since struggled to explain her death to their living children, Emma has now created a picture book to help other bereaved parents explore loss and grief with little ones.
We know that parents going through miscarriage need support more than ever in coronavirus lockdown. In this blog, our midwifery manager Kate Marsh explains what miscarriage during the covid-19 pandemic might be look like and what support is available.
Tommy’s has received a grant from the UK Government’s Department for Health and Social Care to support the costs of its PregnancyHub information and support services throughout the summer, due to rising demand in the wake of coronavirus.
If you need support, please don't suffer alone. We have details of organisations who can help.