The words ‘we can’t find a heartbeat’ are some of the most ominous words ever spoken to a couple expecting a child.
What follows pregnancy loss is a stream of well-meaning comments, which can leave couples feeling stripped bare – their pain unacknowledged and invalidated.
“Experiencing a miscarriage is a one of the loneliest things that can happen to a woman,” she said.
“People do not know how to acknowledge the loss because as a society, we do not talk openly about miscarriage. Often women are blamed for the loss – like they did something wrong.
“The words people use do little to validate the grief felt. There is rarely any acknowledgement of what is now gone – a precious and much wanted baby.”
Ms Abbott said with pregnancy loss, unlike other deaths, it can be hard for others to understand what exactly has been lost.
“This ambiguous feeling about the loss is more common in the first trimester,” she said.
“If we lose an infant, people will respond with flowers, cards and condolences – but if we lose a baby in utero they probably won’t,” she said.
“Some people may not consider that there has been a loss, while others think such a loss is not significant enough to warrant their attention.
“Where does this leave the person experiencing the loss – feeling more than a little confused with how we ‘should’ feel.”
Ms Abbott said it is important to acknowledge the extent of the loss.
“Miscarriage is a surreal experience. Support is often hard to find because miscarriage is not seen as a legitimate loss,” she said.
“The grief of losing a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth is really unacknowledged pain.
“This grief has little social recognition; it has no voice or is not acknowledged in society.”
Ms Abbott said many women are uncomfortable about grieving for an early pregnancy loss because they have only known about the baby for a few days or weeks and have often never seen it.
As a personal and business mindset coach, Helen works with people and organisation guiding them to emotional mastery. Her book Beyond Pregnancy Loss is written from person experience. Helen and her husband have been their emotional strength tested when they experienced the loss of their first pregnancy at 18 weeks. Helen found herself in a group she was not expecting to be a member of. Four years on, she put pen to paper to share with those who have followed a similar path. She has developed a process to take individuals from a place of heartbreak to a place of healing especially after pregnancy loss.