It is so heartwarming to see that New Zealand has passed its bereavement leave bill for all bereaved parents who lose their baby during pregnancy. It is something at Pink Elephants that we are particularly passionate about. We have been championing an amendment to the Australian Fair Work Bereavement/Compassionate Leave Act for just over 2 years. This change is so important, this is a huge part of addressing the systemic change required to challenge the common misconceptions of miscarriage, the disenfranchisement of our communities’ grief and loss.
1 in 3 women in Australia will lose their baby to miscarriage. It’s the mental health event most likely to impact a woman in her lifetime. Contrary to popular belief miscarriage isn’t something that you just get over, it can’t be minimized with ‘at least it happened early’ comments or ‘at least you know you can get pregnant. If we are to address the cultural change that is necessary to better support women and their partners through the death of their baby we need to first validate their experience as real grief. This bill does that, it says to our community your baby existed, their life mattered, no matter how short it was, your grief is real.
By providing this type of validation we will begin to see women and their partners accessing the support they deserve after the loss of their babies. Which in turn will start to reduce the long-term mental health impacts that we sadly see far too often in our community.
A recent study published in January 2020 by Professor Tom Bourne at The University College of London provided the evidence that highlighted that miscarriage can induce an intense period of emotional distress which if left unsupported can lead to poor mental health outcomes.
⅙ of women were symptomatic for anxiety, PTSD, or depression at clinical levels 9 months after their losses.
Together we can collectively support the heartbroken parents who currently face this alone.
60% of women who had experienced a pregnancy loss surveyed in 2020 by The Jean Hailes Women’s Health survey said they felt unsupported through pregnancy loss. It’s time to RIGHT the story of miscarriage, it’s time to validate the real experience, it’s time to break the silence and ensure every bereaved parent has access to a circle of support. Leave for Loss is one way we can do this and it’s such a simple amendment to a bill we already have, we just need the bill to be clearly inclusive of all pregnancy loss.
At the moment there is no provision in place for the 103,000 women and their partners who experience a pregnancy loss prior to 20 weeks. Sadly we hear daily stories in our community from women returning to work the same day, women quite literally bleeding and cramping at their desks, surely we can be more compassionate to them than this? They have just received the most devastating news that their baby died, their whole future with a baby in their arms in the next 6-9months has just been taken away from them. They deserve our compassion and support, they deserve their experience to be met with empathy and understanding, not minimized and swept under the carpet.
Pink Elephants have had several meetings with members of federal parliament who are in support of this campaign over the past two years. We have support from Julian Simmonds MP , as he too had a difficult journey to have children with his wife, experiencing infertility and losses, he knows first hand what this support would mean to our community. We’re following the processes needed to table this bill, we welcome your support of our campaign, let’s show our MP’s how important this is to us all.
You can show your support of our Leave for Loss campaign by sharing this post to help us show the overwhelming groundswell of support, or making a donation via our website to empower our circle of support for the 282 women every day who hear the words ‘I’m sorry there is no heartbeat’. https://www.pinkelephants.org.au/donations
CEO & Co Founder
The Pink Elephants Support Network
Miscarriage may be an individual journey, but no-one has to walk it alone.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.
With so much of the current experience of miscarriage based on old science, outdated perceptions, social anxiety and mistruths, PINK ELEPHANTS aims to right the story of early pregnancy loss by smashing the stigma and leading a new narrative, creating a healthier experience for all.
Founded in Sydney, Australia, in 2016, PINK ELEPHANTS is a registered not-for-profit.
For support, or to help right the story of early pregnancy loss, please visit: www.pinkelephants.org.au
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