Brood’s Guide to Navigating Miscarriage and Loss

by Gill Damborg

This post was written for Ovry, a company that provides affordable, earth-friendly, and inclusive home pregnancy and fertility tests.

Content Warning: This post contains discussions of miscarriage and early loss. Due to its heavy content, we suggest you take breaks when necessary, and check in with yourself. We also encourage you to have a support person accessible to you — whether learning alongside you, in the next room, or a phone call away.

You can’t talk about pregnancy without talking about loss.

 

It’s almost certain someone in your life has been touched by pregnancy loss. This includes miscarriage of any kind, through to stillbirth, and infant loss. 1 in 4 pregnant people will lose a baby in pregnancy, birth or infancy. It’s estimated 23 million miscarriages occur every year worldwide, that’s 44 pregnancy losses each minute, and 2.6 million stillbirths every year. This unimaginable loss impacts parents, families and communities for years—with physical, emotional and mental health impacts. Most of the suffering is private, and is incredibly painful to discuss or share.  At Brood, we know first hand — our doula team has cared for dozens of families impacted by loss, and I myself had an early pregnancy loss eight weeks into my first pregnancy.

By encouraging conversation, connection and knowledge-sharing for folks who’ve experienced miscarriage or infant loss, and those who care for them—we can witness families’ experiences, honour the memory of pregnancies and babies lost, and connect those moving through their experiences.

At the time of my loss, I was working as a Creative Director for a University marketing team. Because it’s common to keep your pregnancy secret from your workplace, going through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss is even more of an unspoken and hidden experience. Although my loss was early in my pregnancy, I had intense bleeding, cramping and was emotionally distraught. At the time I understood there would be physical and emotional pain, but I didn’t fully understand what was happening, which made it much harder to navigate. I went down a rabbit hole of Dr. Google searches, none of which made me feel any better. I had called in sick to work (what else are you supposed to do?!), but after a couple of days I decided I would tell my manager and team mates what I was going through. This is something I felt safe doing—I knew my position was secure and that I wasn’t at risk of losing my job, and more importantly I knew I would receive better support by being as honest as I could about what I was going through. Once I told my manager, I was able to take more sick days, was supported and cared for by my team in the weeks and months to come, and I was able to move through my experience in a way that felt right for me. I’m so grateful for my team and workplace for this time, and I wish this was the case for every person who’s gone through this, but we know that it isn’t.

“In fact, the Women’s Health Strategy Survey found that 58% felt uncomfortable discussing health topics with their employer, and who can blame them? We’re all familiar with the discrimination women (and gender diverse folks) can face when they’re of childbearing age, so it’s no surprise that so many of them are wary of disclosing personal information that could result in the loss of opportunities, pay or that might impact their reputation.” – Biance Barratt, Forbes

Even with the space and care I received from my workplace, my family and my friends, it was still a lonely journey. So, when we launched Brood—our modern in-person family care agency powered by doulas—I knew that opening up the conversation around loss and supporting people through it was something that we needed to do.

People don’t want to talk about loss and grief, they want to talk about cute little babies and tiny onesies and fancy strollers… but by ignoring, suppressing and forcing folks to keep this as a private experience we are doing a disservice to our communities and families. For someone experiencing loss, receiving comprehensive support can help with the process, and the ensuing healing and recovery.

A full-spectrum doula, someone trained in specialized care beyond birth and postpartum, can be present to serve someone during a miscarriage, abortion or stillbirth. This hands-on care can address the physical experience of loss, while providing information on counselling, grief, healing and, for some, fertility.

We also know not everyone has access to a doula, which is why we created our original and first-of-its-kind Miscarriage & Early Loss Course. It’s filled with videos, workbooks, toolkits and guides for anyone experiencing loss, or for those supporting someone impacted by it. Topics include guidance on navigating your options, miscarriage myths, medical resources, moving forward, and more. It demystifies the experience and supports you in navigating it with education and building your support systems and communities.

More resources:

Use code BROOD4OVRY at the checkout to download Brood’s Miscarriage & Early Loss Course for FREE or share it with someone you know who might need a little extra love and support.

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We work and live on the unceded and occupied territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Since time immemorial, the original peoples of these lands have cared for their families and communities. We are committed to honouring their teachings, legacy and their sovereignty.

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