We recently held another Fertility in the Workplace panel discussion and a theme of acknowledgement shone through. As one of the core values at the heart of our #circleofsupport and the work we do, it was beautiful to witness just how powerful acknowledgement of our journeys and our losses can be.
We acknowledge the brave men and women who stepped up and shared their personal experience of loss and fertility challenges as part of our panel discussion in Melbourne with Minter Ellison, CircleIn and Genea Fertility. To do this is brave and powerful, and only by opening up the conversation can we start to acknowledge the grief and devastation we feel when we lose our babies to miscarriage.
We acknowledge the heartache and pain we face each month when our period arrives and we are not pregnant. We acknowledge the mask we put on to face the outside world when inside we are broken and cannot see a way to continue on.
Today 283 women and their partners will hear the words, “I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat”. Their world will stop and they will feel like they are falling through a trapdoor. I had no-one there to catch me, no referral for support, I was simply sent home to grieve alone. This was not ok and it was inspiring to have the power of such support validated as part of our panel discussion.
We covered the need to check in on colleagues, to have brave conversations and to reach out when you suspect someone is struggling. No matter how hard that conversation may be for you, you can be sure it is not as hard as it is for the person who has just lost their baby to early pregnancy loss. Don’t fear the tears of others or them not wanting to share, because simply by being present and acknowledging their pain and loss, you are showing empathy and connection.
As each of us on the panel shared our stories and acknowledged how powerful the support and validation of our losses is, another theme became evident. Of how we can grow and build our families in many beautiful and varied ways – surrogacy, assisted conception, donor eggs, IVF were all covered. Again it is really important that we highlight and normalise the many and varied ways we can achieve our dreams of having children. Many of these topics aren’t talked about which makes it all the more difficult for those considering them as an avenue. I couldn’t be prouder that our panel addressed them and shared their personal experiences.
The impact, the ripple effect of our panel discussion will be wide and varied. We will have touched many in the room on a personal level and provided them with a clear referral pathway for support via Pink Elephants. We raised awareness into the impact for those blessed without personal experience of pregnancy loss and struggling to conceive. The feedback has flooded in already and it’s heartwarming to read comments such as this:
“I attended yesterday’s panels and it was one of the best panel’s I’ve attended, moving and needed.”
“The need is clear for the 103,000 couples a year at risk of clinical anxiety and/or depression and the ⅕ of these who will suffer PTSD. It is crucial that we start these brave conversations now. We may not have all the answers but we can offer a safe workspace for those suffering so they feel able to come forward and access the support they need and deserve,” our CEO Sam Payne says.
“These panel discussions are a starting point in breaking the silence, challenging the cultural norm of not sharing and opening up the conversation in workplaces to ensure no-one walks the journey of pregnancy loss alone.”
If you or your organisation would like to learn more about our Fertility in the Workplace program, please complete the form at the bottom of this linked page.