Research has been carried out by Imperial College London and recommends that women who have suffered a miscarriage and/or ectopic pregnancy are screened for PTSD and receive specific psychological support following pregnancy loss. I could not agree with this more.
Following my miscarriage I was not offered any kind of emotional support whatsoever, and I know now that it was very much needed. As I had been through therapy before for anxiety, I tried to remember some of the coping techniques to help me. However, this was a whole new ball game in terms of what I was feeling, and so after trying to cope without any support, other than my amazing husband, family and friends, I turned to my GP for advice. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, so won’t dwell for too long here, but I was so frustrated by the lack of support available. Because I over 25 and not considered to be from a minority group, I was told I would be a put on a waiting list that had a minimum 6 month wait for a referral for therapy.
I was very fortunate that a service is offered through my place of work for free, and I managed to have 6 sessions of therapy, which to be quite honest were a total saviour for me. I really needed someone to just listen, be objective and not try to fix things for me. I had a lot of anger towards my loss, along with so much sadness, hurt and anxiety. I never really addressed the overwhelming sadness directly with my therapist, but that worked for me. I had no expectations for the sessions, I just knew I needed them.
Since sharing my experience on this blog, I have been contacted by a number of women, and men, who asked for advice on where to receive support for their own loss. I was very touched that they asked me and obviously did what I could to help, but was so angry for them that they couldn’t find support at a time when it is so badly needed.
This research is very timely, and very much needed in order to raise awareness of the huge emotional and psychological impact a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy has.
Doctor Jessica Farren, lead author of the study conducted makes a number of very relevant points on the lack of support, and the lasting impact this type of loss has:
“We were surprised at the high number of women who experienced symptoms of PTSD after early pregnancy loss. At the moment there is no routine follow-up appointment for women who have suffered a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. We have checks in place for postnatal depression, but we don’t have anything in place for the trauma and depression following pregnancy loss.
“Yet the symptoms that may be triggered can have a profound effect on all aspects of a woman’s everyday life, from her work to her relationships with friends and family.”
I avoided friends, cancelled seeing people, became very introverted, lost all motivation to do anything, and eventually reached the point where I realised that if I didn’t ask for help I was on the verge of becoming very, very depressed. I could feel myself slipping into a very dark place where I didn’t want to leave the house and could not stop crying. This was over 6 months after my miscarriage, which shows that it doesn’t ‘just go away’.
If you have suffered a miscarriage and/or ectopic pregnancy and are unsure of where you can find help, here are some helpful links:
Tel: 01924 200795
Helpline: 01924 200799
The Miscarriage Association
17 Wentworth Terrace
Wakefield WF1 3QW
3 Laurence Pountney Hill
Tel: 0207 398 3400
Fax: 020 7398 3479