For practical help
The Miscarriage Association (Helpline: 01924 200799)
Tommy’s (The baby charity, this links to their pregnancy loss guide)
This is also a great guide to miscarriage terminology, from the experts at Tommy’s.
ARC antenatal I know other people have found them very supportive when faced with ending a wanted pregnancy for medical reasons. (Helpline: 0207 713 7486)
If you are looking for counselling, but aren’t having much luck through your GP, or just don’t know where to start, Petals is a charity dedicated to providing counselling after baby loss. They can provide up to six one-hour counselling sessions for free per couple or individual and you can contact them directly.
The Association of Early Pregnancy Units (The ‘find an early pregnancy unit near me’ tool comes in particularly handy if you are away from home and think you might be miscarrying, I’ve found – it also lists opening hours, which is helpful when you’re trying to find the rare unit that is open 24 hours or at weekends).
For mental health support, take a look at Talking Heads, which offers private therapy sessions, but also has lots of very useful posts and resources about different mental health concerns, from anxiety and depression to handling grief, and guides to the different sorts of therapy out there. All the information comes from qualified, clinical psychologists, so you know you can trust it.
And if you just fancy an informal chat with other people who are going through something similar, check out #BabyLossHour on Twitter. It’s every Tuesday at 8pm, no obligation to get involved (you should be able to follow along silently – even if you don’t have a Twitter account) but it is a brilliant, supportive community for when you want to know you’re not the only one. This handy post here, by Jess who runs it, explains a bit more about it and also how the Twitter chat thing actually works.
Good things for bad days
This cheesy playlist. I make no apologies for my musical leanings. (Opens in Spotify)
This poem by Mary Oliver.
This incredibly hopeful piece about Harry Potter and the effect it had on the way a generation thinks and feels (This spoke to me on some deep level, but I appreciate not everyone still secretly wishes they’d got to go to Hogwarts. It is also behind The Times paywall, I’m afraid).
This very funny edition of Dolly Alderton’s newsletter about The Bishop of Southwark’s Big Night Out, which even if you don’t remember the news story it’s about (of 2006 vintage) will make you think of every in-joke you and your friends and family have. Also every pleasantly stupid thing you’ve ever done while drunk.
And if all else fails, there’s always this reliable source of Dogs Doing Cute Things.
Oh! Oh! I forgot alpacas. This is possibly my single-most favourite account on Instagram.
Excellent words on miscarriage (not by me)
This by the journalist Amy Swales was one of the first things I read about recurrent miscarriage.
On feeling jealous of other people’s pregnancies – a letter to the Guardian’s advice page.
This very honest list on what it’s like to have a miscarriage and the things you think about, over on Clemmie Telford’s Mother Of All Lists blog.
Jessica Zucker, founder of the #ihadamiscarriage social media campaign, writes powerfully about her late miscarriage here.
This by Catherine Lux on how it feels to grieve an unplanned pregnancy.
Miscarriage – a man’s perspective, by the brilliant Mother Pukka team
I often find myself idly browsing the archive of Cheryl Strayed’s Dear Sugar advice column on days where I feel lonely or just a bit out of sorts. This letter in particular, for the lines: “Letting go of expectation when it comes to one’s children is close to impossible. The entire premise of our love for them has to do with creating and fostering and nurturing people who will outlive us. To us, they are not so much who they are as who they will become.”
A psychiatrist’s 10 rules for happiness, by Dr Max Pemberton
This is a simply beautiful piece of writing on the specific weirdness of grief.
Also, this on random acts of kindness, from the archive of the brilliant newsletter Conversations on Love by journalist Natasha Lunn, will make you sob and smile all at once. Natasha commissioned this piece which I wrote for Red magazine and she is such a warm and wise person, writer, editor… Her newsletter never fails to inspire and uplift when it lands in my inbox. You can subscribe here.
Grief Cast is a brilliant podcast that explores all things loss-related. This episode with Anna Whitehouse talking about her miscarriages is very relatable and honest.
This conversation between comedian Deborah Frances-White and journalist Elizabeth Day on the How To Fail podcast is one of the best things I’ve come across about not having children in all its complexity. They discuss trying and failing to conceive, and re-appraising your life as it starts to become clear you won’t be able to have children.
I discovered Gretchen Rubin just after my first miscarriage, deep in self-improvement mode. I binged on all her books and quickly became a regular listener of the Happier podcast. Because sometimes there is huge comfort in listening to other people talking about their best clutter clearing hacks.
This episode of my friend Alice’s podcast The Sunday Salon in which she interviews Laura Freeman (also a friend) is brilliant. I particularly like what Laura, who is the author of The Reading Cure , says about mindFULLness rather than mindfulness for our mental health. In other words, sometimes, for some people, it may be more helpful to focus on filling our minds with brilliant articles, books, art, and music rather than trying to empty them of all our worries.
Books I’d recommend
Books and stories are a huge part of how I make sense of the world and I probably start far too many sentences with ‘I read this thing once…’ I’ve recently started doing a weekly book recommendation over on my Instagram page, dedicated to books on the subject of baby loss. The plan is for it to be a mix of titles that offer medical advice and self-help, but also memoir, fiction, and books on related subjects such as mental health and grief. You can follow along here, if you’d like. In the meantime, these are some of the titles I’d wholeheartedly recommend:
I Am, I Am, I Am, by Maggie O’Farrell – a memoir by one of my favourite novelists. It’s told in the unusual format of 17 brushes with death that have happened throughout her life. One of these is miscarriage. The whole book is dazzlingly well-written and just brilliant on motherhood, loss, chronic illness and narrow escapes.
Miscarriage: What Every Woman Needs To Know, by Professor Lesley Regan – this is written by the president of the UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who also happens to run the clinic I’m currently being seen at. Although sometimes the clinical language can be a bit much to wade through, this is a solid, evidence-based book that explains in precise detail what is and isn’t know about miscarriage, why it happens and what treatments and tests are available. It doesn’t contain personal anecdotes, but it is still very sympathetic to how you might feel after miscarriage – and especially recurrent losses. Useful to read if you’re about to embark on the testing process . Less useful if you have done this already and have been told everything is normal (like us).
Life After Baby Loss, by Nicola Gaskin – a kindhearted, gentle guide to your feelings post-loss and how to navigate them. This is written with all types of baby loss in mind, from early miscarriage to death after birth, by someone who has experienced both.
Ask Me His Name, by Elle Wright – a very honest, heartening book by Elle (of the blog Feathering The Empty Nest) about her son Teddy. She makes an incredibly dark subject – a baby dying – feel less scary and unbroachable.
A Manual For Heartache, by Cathy Rentzenbrink – I read this after our third miscarriage when I was at a very low ebb. It is a blend of advice and anecdote based on Rentzenbrink’s own experience of loss (her brother, who was in a persistent vegetative state for eight years before his death). Chapters include ‘What To Do When The Worst Happens’ and ‘An Etiquette For Bad News’. It’s written with such intelligence and compassion and although it works as a bit of a survival guide, it never strays into cringey self-help territory. I especially liked that one of her own survival tactics is to re-read the Harry Potter books (it’s one of mine too).
Other blogs I love
The Legacy Of Leo – Jess is a powerful, dedicated advocate on all things baby loss related. She runs #babylosshour on Twitter and has recently started a series of live events. Her blog is a brilliant resource on all kinds of topics, but if you are an LGBT family going through any kind of baby loss her series here is dedicated to this under-represented aspect of parenting and loss.
This Is Alice Rose – If you’ve been dealt the doubly crap hand of fertility struggles alongside pregnancy loss, Alice is a shining beacon of positivity (but without glossing over how rubbish and difficult these things can be). Her videos especially make me laugh.
Flourishing – Written by my friend Sarah (we lived together at university) this is worth a look for her beautiful photos of her life in Australia alone. But she also writes beautifully and helpfully about topics such as anxiety and what success really looks like.
From The Other Chair – Run by Michelle, a clinical psychologist whose first daughter Orla was stillborn, this is a wonderful collection of letters on loss and mental health.
Uber Barren’s Club – Another brilliant resource if you are working through infertility alongside loss. Katie is a fantastic advocate and also writes epic take-downs of how reproductive health matters are portrayed in the media.
Also, the brilliant charity Our Missing Peace has compiled a detailed list of baby loss bloggers out there, here.
As has the website Fertility Smarts – here.