After experiencing my second miscarriage I was feeling truly broken, lost and alone. Nothing had ever knocked me in this way. The longing I had for another baby was so strong as was the grief I was right in the middle of. I had never been so genuinely sad, each day was a struggle to be the ‘me’ that everybody expected. It was pure chance that I saw a post on a facebook group discussing miscarriage, a friend of a friend had commented and seemed like she genuinely ‘got it’. I reached out to her via PM, that was the best PM I have ever sent.
Gabbi was my support person. She listened to my experiences of losing my two much loved and longed for babies, she acknowledged my grief and held a safe space for me. She truly understood my own pain after experiencing many miscarriages herself. It was over a coffee that we talked about the lack of support most women feel through early pregnancy loss, we decided there and then to create a support network.
In March 2016 the concept for The Pink Elephants Support Network was created. Through Pink Elephants, we want to reduce the feelings of isolation many women feel by connecting them with other women who have experienced the journey before them and are now able to support others.
Miscarriage and infertility may be individual journeys, but no woman should have to walk them alone.
We began to research other women’s experiences and we were genuinely shocked by some of the stories we heard, the lack of compassion, the lack of understanding, the lack of acknowledgment. It was then that we came upon the term disenfranchised loss, meaning that society does not often recognize early pregnancy loss as real grief. We knew this needed to change. Women not only deserved support but they deserve to have their grief and loss acknowledged. Part of sharing articles like this is to raise awareness of miscarriage and its emotional impacts that many women suffer in silence, alone.
Emotional Support Literature for Pregnancy Loss
We want to educate everyone about how best you can support a friend or a loved one through early pregnancy loss. We began writing our Emotional support literature over 2 years ago since then they have had over 1500 downloads. One of our first resources was ‘A friend in need’ it includes simple ways you can support a friend experiencing a miscarriage. All of our resources are free to download from our website
We have also created a partner resource to provide guidance on what they can do to support their loved one in the early days of pregnancy loss and what to expect over the coming days/weeks.
Peer Support for Pregnancy Loss
In addition to writing and producing Emotional Support literature, this year has seen the launch of our Peer Support Program, where we offer women a connection with another woman who has gone through loss herself. This is our vision brought to life, this is what Gabbi gave me and we are again so proud to be able to offer this nationally.
We recently conducted a survey through our social media channels @pinkelephantssupport on Facebook and Instagram. With 1518 women completing the survey, over 75% reported that they felt completely unsupported through their loss, and 60% reported they would have used a peer support service. This has validated our 'why' and motivated us to continue to bring about change and to ensure women are receiving the support they deserve.
Through our journey of creating The Pink Elephants Support Network, I have fortunately gone on to have my beautiful rainbow baby - Johnny. I am truly blessed and grateful but it wasn’t all plain sailing the grief didn’t leave me and instead manifested as perinatal and postnatal/postpartum anxiety. A clinical paper in the UK writes that 30% of women who have experienced early pregnancy loss will go on to receive a clinical diagnosis of postnatal/postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety.
Yes, I may be a statistic—but my grief is real, my babies existed in my heart and I will never forget them. I’m grateful for my experience as I am now using it for good and supporting others.