AUSTRALIA’s only national support service dedicated solely to early pregnancy loss, Pink Elephants, has reported a significant growth in its online support services.
Ahead of Mother’s Day this Sunday, 8 May, which can be a triggering event for women who have experienced miscarriage, Pink Elephants has experienced a huge uptake in members, which has seen its Miscarriage Support Group grow by more than half to 58 per cent.
The not-for-profit organisation’s Preconception Group has grown by 51 per cent, the Pregnancy After Loss Group has grown by 81 per cent, and the Terminating For Medical Reasons (TFMR) Group has grown significantly by 144 per cent.
Pink Elephants provides the latest resources, information and peer support for anyone impacted by early pregnancy loss.
Using evidence, empathy and connection, our unique digital-first approach offers a single source of specialist support, whenever and wherever it’s needed — for anyone who has directly experienced it, for family and friends, corporate partners or healthcare professionals seeking proven ways to help.
Last year, a historic change to the Fair Work Act in September, ‘Leave for Loss’ stipulated that women who experience miscarriage must receive two days of paid compassionate leave from their workplace.
Pink Elephants lobbied for this amendment to the Act for three years prior to its implementation.
Expectant mother-to-be Sanjana was shattered to lose her baby in June 2019.
“When we didn’t see the heartbeat at our first scan it felt like the floor was ripped from under us,” she recalled.
“I was at my physical best and we were lucky to get pregnant quickly. We had ten days between the first scan and the follow-up scan and I remember spending each day hoping and wishing that I was still pregnant. The miscarriage was confirmed.”
Sanjana decided to avoid a Dilation and Curettage (D&C), a medical procedure to remove tissue from inside her uterus, so passed the tissue at home with her husband to support her.
“I didn’t realise how much pain there would be and how visceral the process of passing the tissue was. If felt unfair that we had suffered a loss and then we had to go through physical agony too,” Sanjana added.
After her miscarriage, Sanjana experienced other ongoing medical issues such as chronic pain.
She was put on medication for the pain which meant that she wasn’t able to conceive.
“I was shattered and went down a medically complicated and exhausting pathway that only seemed to ease a full two years later,” she added.
Sanjana said Pink Elephants helped her live around her grief.
“Some of their messaging gave me words to assign my feelings and made me feel like I wasn’t wallowing,” she added.
Sanjana said she kept her miscarriage “quiet” at work.
“I’d love to see more workplaces have open conversations and have paid leave for miscarriage built into their workplace culture,” she said.
“Ideally, no one should have to feel like they are alone in their journey.
“Work can make up such a big part of our day and that support from the company we work for can make or break our ability to get through the worst of it and heal in the long run,” Sanjana added.
Pink Elephants recently released a report in conjunction with The University of Sydney in The Journal of Community, Work & Family titled: “Experiences of Australian women on returning to work after miscarriage.”
It showed 68 per cent of women surveyed said they received no support or negative support from human resources departments upon their return to work after miscarriage.
Amanda Tipping, National Partnerships Director of Pink Elephants, said that although last year was a small step in the right direction to destigmatising miscarriage there is still a long way to go.
“Despite one in three pregnancies ending in miscarriage, we hear stories every day of the silence, shame, and loneliness that accompanies early pregnancy loss,” she said.
“We appeal to corporate partners and sponsors to help us fund our vital support services as we expect the demand to continue growing as women bravely reach out for help.”
The not-for-profit organisation just hosted their annual fundraiser – Circle of Support Day – on 1 May but you can still donate here to support the organisation’s important mission: www.pinkelephants.org.au/donations.