1 in 4 of the women reading this will have suffered, or in the future suffer a miscarriage. For women over the age of 35 this jumps to 1 in 3. I hazard a guess that every woman reading this article will know a friend or family member who has miscarried a baby. Given the devastating effects pregnancy loss can have, The Pink Elephants Support Network is out to change the way women are supported through miscarriage.

When an elephant in the wild loses a baby, the other elephants place their trunks on her and form a circle of support. But for human women, it is a very different story. Gabbi Armstrong and Samantha Payne met in a Facebook group chat about the lack of support for women experiencing infertility issues and pregnancy loss. Both women know the pain and loneliness of miscarriage and so, in 2016 The Pink Elephants Support Network was born, named so as a nod to our elephant mums and their circle of support.

Relying not just on their own experiences, the Pink Elephants set out to speak to other women who have struggled on the journey of pregnancy loss. 1600 women responded to the call and shared their story, the results of which have been released this month to coincide with International Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day, October 15. And honestly, the statistics paint a miserable picture

We know that 1 in 4 women will suffer a miscarriage in their lifetime. 282 women in Australia everyday will report pregnancy loss before 20 weeks gestation. This is a sad enough story on it’s own. But, as the research from the Pink Elephants revealed, Almost 70 per cent of women who suffered a miscarriage said they received no support at all. That is almost 200 women every single day who are going through what can only be one of the hardest moments of their life, feeling like they are completely alone and unsupported in that experience.

Co-founder Samantha Payne, knows we can do better. “Miscarriage is an individual journey, but it’s not one that should be walked alone. Everyone experiencing miscarriage has the right to receive support, empathy and understanding to assist and guide them through their own healing process. We support women as they grieve, nurture them as they heal and empower them as they move beyond,” she said.

This support comes in the form of free online resources for women, their partners, family and friends that have been downloaded more than 4,000 times since launch, and through care packs for women in more than 30 NSW Hospitals. And earlier this year they launched a national first, a program offering women a course of six free sessions of personalised peer support with another woman who has walked a similar journey, providing a safe space to share feelings and emotions.

Designed by a social worker and bereavement counsellor, Terry Diamond, the program covers miscarriage basics, grief theory, counselling skills, boundaries and marking a loss. “Having trained peer supporters who can understand and validate the emotions that accompany the loss of a much wanted pregnancy is an invaluable resource,” said Ms Diamond.

Throughout the month of October, the Pink Elephants are encouraging women to share their experience pregnancy loss in support of #miscarriagematters. Paralympian and Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year, Jessica Smith is one of these women. She said, ‘Taking the time to acknowledge and remember my baby who was too precious for this earth, is something I try to do often. I had no idea what the statistics were around pregnancy loss, I felt lost and alone. I share my story in the hope that it will leave a sense of peace among others who also know this tremendous pain”.

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