Talking about miscarriage – The importance of clear, empathetic communication.

A response to Baby Loss Awareness Week 2020

By Katerina Kerr, Managing Partner

Last week was Baby Loss Awareness Week and having read a number of powerful pieces about this over the last few days, both in the the mainstream media and on social media, I felt compelled to write something here.

Like so many of us, I have personal experience of pregnancy loss. We know how common and how heartbreaking these experiences can be, yet a lot still goes unspoken. For myself, I’ve made a point of talking openly about my experiences in the hope that others around me might feel comfortable being open, too. I try hard not to feel ashamed or embarrassed in my honesty – but it’s not always easy. We have a habit of questioning ourselves, don’t we? Especially in the public domain I notice.

I’m particularly proud that our company, RPfT (Role Plays for Training Ltd) has helped support our client, Barts Health NHS Trust to deliver a programme entitled ‘Managing Miscarriage’ – designed to offer clinicians a chance to practice their communication skills around this emotional and sensitive issue. So often, those around the grieving woman cannot find the sensitive language they are looking for. This not only applies to family and loved ones, but sometimes even the professionals whose job it is to support and care for women and couples at such a difficult time.

The training simulation we worked on with Barts was designed by Helen Parker (Medical Lead for Simulation at Newham University Hospital) and one of our Senior Associates, Amy Oliver. These sessions offered clinicians, from midwives to registrars, a supportive framework to start from in their conversations. Responding to research which showed that distress was further aggravated by language that was euphemistic or just not clear, we worked with participants to allow them to practice providing the clarity needed, while still fostering sincere empathy and showing respect.

We are delighted that the ‘Managing Miscarriage Course’ was awarded the Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education Award for ‘Innovative Simulation Training’ back in 2017.

If your organisation wants to focus on encouraging supportive conversations about pregnancy and baby loss, or other women’s health issues, please get in touch, we’d love to help you deliver an experiential training programme to support your people in having the most empathetic conversations possible.

I firmly believe that the more we talk about these life events, both at home and at work, the more the grief, confusion and loneliness that so many parents experience can be lessened. Let’s keep asking good questions, keep talking, keep listening to one another and keep our mental health at the top of the agenda during this time of separation.

If you personally need support, or want to understand more on this topic, there are a wealth of fantastic organisations you could look to. Tommy’s are totally brilliant and well known and we also have particular respect for Miscarriage Association – a super helpful organisation that provides a wealth of well-researched and balanced info and resources.

#BLAW2020 #BLAWxCOVID19 #YouAreNotAlone