It’s often said that unless you’ve experienced miscarriage or early pregnancy loss yourself, you can’t truly understand the emotions, grief and feelings of loss associated with it. It’s no doubt the same for many things – loss of a parent, still birth, divorce, job loss, infertility – the list goes on. While you can absolutely feel for someone, sympathise with them and imagine what it must be like, unless you’ve been there, it’s simply cannot be understood in the same way.
In fact, even within all those different scenarios, no two experiences will be exactly the same because we are all individuals. However, it’s fair to say that in general, being able to speak to someone who has walked a similar journey and who understands the complex feelings you’re experiencing, can reduce your feelings of isolation and make all the difference to your healing process.
Our Pink Elephants Peer Support Programme was created for this very reason. To offer support, validation and vital connection to women experiencing early pregnancy loss, from others who have been there before and who ‘gets it’.
After my miscarriage, I remember the intense feelings of grief, loss and loneliness. I didn’t get out of bed for several days. I didn’t feel like anybody would understand the feelings that I was having. As a Peer Support Ambassador I’m able to do something that I wish someone had done for me. Someone who understands, listens and validates your pregnancy loss. Jenny – Peer Support Ambassador
Our Peer Support Ambassadors are women who have also experienced pregnancy loss and miscarriage. They have been trained by a bereavement counsellor in how to best provide grief support
When we launched our Peer Support Programme in July 2018, we offered free personalised phone support and to date we have supported many women through the grief of their miscarriages, their fears as they have tried again to become pregnant, and also the anxiety of pregnancy after loss.
Most recently we launched Live Chat Support as we wanted to increase our ability to support women in need. We recognised that not everyone may be comfortable talking on the phone, and also that sometimes the need for support may be more immediate – when someone is searching our website for information. While we are currently trialling this two nights a week – Tuesday and Thursday – so far we have had a very positive response, so we will be looking to increase our Live Chat offering across more days and times.
I am so grateful for the Pink Elephant Peer Support Programme. After going through two miscarriages in six months whilst trying for my first child, I felt like I needed someone else on my support team apart from medical professionals, family and friends; someone who truly understood the different feelings associated with miscarriage and how to move forward. It wasn’t just cognitive coping strategies that I needed, but also having someone to normalise all my tears, anger, anxiety and jealousy. I definitely found that through the PSP.
It can be hard for those around us to know what to do or say when they see us so upset. It’s natural for our loved ones to want to ‘fix’ us or make it all better. And while we acknowledge that this comes from a place of love and care, your grief is not something that can just be ‘fixed’.
Even if we have an extremely supportive partner and understanding friends and family, we still may not feel able to express the full spectrum of our emotions for fear of being judged somehow, or inadvertently hurting their feelings (especially in the case of a partner). You may feel you don’t want to burden others with your grief. Perhaps you’ve always been the ‘strong’ one. Perhaps you’re embarrassed. Perhaps you’re struggling to understand your own emotions.
What we know is that if you aren’t given the opportunity to express yourself and work through the complexity of what you’re feeling, you may be more likely to experience anxiety and/or depression way beyond your loss. This is why accessing our Peer Support Programme is so important. If we can provide you with vital empathy and connection (our phone support is offered for free for 6 sessions with the same Ambassador), we hope to be able to reduce the likelihood of you experiencing anxiety/depression down the track.
Please be assured we will refer you to qualified healthcare practitioners if we feel you need it. We aren’t counsellors. We aren’t psychologists. We are other women who know what it’s like to lose a much-wanted pregnancy; to grieve for a baby who will never be born; to worry that you may never be blessed with a healthy baby; to be afraid that you’ll never feel like your old self again.
We are here for you and are ready to help. xx