Or pregnancy loss survivors will be able to access two days of paid leave on new legislation introduced into federal Parliament this week. Samantha Pain is a Miscarriage awareness advocate Ancy of Pink Elephants. She joins me live now. Samantha, thanks for your time. What exactly does this make?
This provides so much validation for our community. This says you’re entitled to grieve the loss of your baby without access to bereavement or compassionate leaf. For too many years now, our community has felt isolated and not validated in their grief, which leads to very real poor mental health outcomes such as anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder is two days enough, though. It’s really around the fact that if there is a death within your immediate family at the moment, you have access to compassionate, resonant leave. However, miscarriage was never put under there.
So what that said to our community was that the death of your baby doesn’t matter. It’s almost like your baby didn’t exist. You’re not entitled to this leave. So it’s not about the amount of leave. It’s really about the validation with the type of leave. But what I’d like to really add to that is we’ve seen several early adopters over the last 12 months through our workplace for the program where we work closely with organizations who are stepping up above already, and they’re offering five days paid Lea.
They’re offering two weeks of paid leave. They’re really working with those in consultation with their business and working out what the needs of the women and partners are. So we’re already seeing people go further than the two days, which is excellent.
Now you’ve experienced your own miscarriage. How challenging was that time?
Incredibly challenged and probably some of the darkest times of my life. So we sadly had two miscarriages after having our first daughter, which is what drove me to set Pink Elephants up. I really struggled to find that circle of support, that community of other women who had also gone through a miscarriage. There was a lot out there for the later turn loss, but very little at that point for the early loss. So that’s what drove me to set Pink Elephants up. Sadly, we experienced another miscarriage last year and we lost a baby girl nine weeks, and that also was incredibly devastating.
But it also drove me further with this campaign we’ve been lobbying for recently for three years. But last year, when I had access to recently myself, I saw just how incredibly validating and empowering that was for me to go through the grief process. And so it’s driven us further with this campaign.
There has been somewhat of a stigma around miscarriages, but I know even with my own friends in recent times who have gone through that process, there seems to be a bit of a shift, and people are talking about this a lot more. Does something like this sort of help send a message, just allow people to be a lot more open about this process?
Yeah, absolutely. If we Zoom out of the policy change what this does culturally, this is real, profound social impact. What we’re doing is we’re opening up a conversation around miscarriage. We’re putting miscarriage in the spotlight. We’re talking about it on news like this. Five years ago, this just did not happen. We’re seeing a big trend towards people using their voices and sharing their stories of pregnancy loss and miscarriage on social media. And a lot of that is working towards removing the stigma and challenging these cultural taboos.
And we all have a role to play in that. Because if we share the truth of our experience of miscarriage, we find them that they’re more likely to be met with empathy and understanding, and validation of the experience is true. Bereavement, which five years ago, 10 years ago, that just wasn’t the case. It was very much minimized. It was at least, you know, you can get pregnant, or at least it happened early. And I know personally, I received well, at least you already have a Darther.
And it was honest, as if, well, the baby that we’ve just lost doesn’t exist, then that doesn’t matter. And it really does. And we know that from research, the impact of miscarriage is not just within the week after a loss, it’s lasting for years. There was research last year that published nine months after a loss six the women still had clinical levels of anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression. So we need to do better. And this policy change is a huge way of putting mis light under the spotlight.
Samantha, just finally, if you do know someone who has gone through discourage recently, what’s the best way you can support them?
Just be there for them. Tell them that you’re there for them. You’re ready to listen to them. You’re ready to go for a walk, have a coffee with them, make sure they’re provided for if they’ve got all other children, look after their children, give them space to grief. Be ready to listen and know that they might not be ready to open up straight away. And that’s okay. But the best thing you can do is say, I’m sorry for your loss. And here for you and be present for them with the pain.