Miscarriage isn't talked about a lot - particularly the details. What is it, what should you do when it's happening to you, and how do you cope afterwards? I've spent the past few months working on an article about miscarriage that shares five personal experiences (including the experiences of a dad), plus information from infertility and baby loss counsellor Megan Downer. A huge thank you to The Spinoff for publishing this story today - and to the people who agreed to be interviewed for the article. I hope I've done your stories justice.
Read The Loneliness of Miscarriage on The Spinoff.
In this post I'd like to share a bit more information about miscarriage - Megan's tips on dealing with grief, information about the different types of miscarriage, and links to places where you can get support.
Coping with grief after miscarriage
Tips from infertility and pregnancy loss counsellor Megan Downer.
Types of miscarriage
Management of miscarriage
If a miscarriage begins unexpectedly, you are advised to seek medical help. You can speak to your GP, your midwife (if you have been formally registered), visit an urgent care or after-hours medical centre, or call Healthline on 0800 611 116. If the bleeding is heavy, you are advised to go to hospital urgently. You may need to call an ambulance.
Visit the Miscarriage Support website for more information.
You can also join the private Miscarriage Support Facebook group to chat to other women who have experienced miscarriage.
Alicia Young is pretty much the worst pseudonym I could have chosen. I didn't even google it. I was walking through the fog of infertility treatment and probably not thinking clearly. I wrote a short series about undergoing IVF and having a miscarriage, and it was published on The Spinoff under Alicia's name.
Alicia came out again recently when our PM revealed that she is expecting and I knew that a certain group of women (and their partners) would be juggling some mixed feelings about the announcement. The piece must have tapped into some kind of zeitgeist as it was picked up by The Herald Online and was printed in The Herald the next day.
It felt weird and exposing and a bit self-indulgent to share such personal feelings, but the comments I received made me feel as though I did the right thing.
"It was refreshing piece you wrote and I just wanted to say thanks. You helped me."
"Thank you for putting some of this into words. Know that you are not alone there are many of us feeling as you do, and we are grateful that you have had the courage to write this."
"Oh god, yes it hurts. I think she'll be due around the week as I was."
"Thank you for writing this."
I've always had a soft spot for Winston Peters. Those dashing suits. That twinkle in his eye. So when he started saying vegetarian food labelling could be bad for our economy, I looked into it. And it turns out the opposite is true. You can read the full story on The Spinoff.
Sometimes (ok most days) I hear something on the radio or read something in the paper that makes me really cross. But the other day something made me so cross, I decided to do something about it. It was the beat-up over Ministry of Justice spending on staff development. I've worked in the public sector and I know how hard it is to do your job properly when you're under constant surveillance from social media warriors who don't always bother to dig into the issues before commenting. So I wrote this post about it... and it was published on The Spinoff! Super exciting for me... and I hope it gave some Ministry of Justice employees a smile.
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.