Baby loss charity founder Zoe Clark-Coates MBE has commended Carrie Johnson for speaking out about her recent miscarriage as well as the joy of conceiving her ‘rainbow baby’
When Carrie Johnson announced she and Boris were expecting their second baby last weekend, the usual elation we might have expected was tempered with sadness and fear. “Hoping for our rainbow baby this Christmas,” she wrote on Instagram. “At the beginning of the year, I had a miscarriage which left me heartbroken. I feel incredibly blessed to be pregnant again but I’ve also felt like a bag of nerves.
“Fertility issues can be really hard for many people, particularly when on platforms like Instagram it can look like everything is only ever going well. I found it a real comfort to hear from people who had also experienced loss so I hope that in some very small way sharing this might help others too.”
Breaking the taboo
Founder of baby loss charity Saying Goodbye (The Mariposa Trust), Zoe Clark-Coates, claims there are approximately 258,000 baby losses in the UK alone each year, and that around 70 per cent of relationships break down in the aftermath because people are unable to process their loss and access the right support.
In an interview with the BBC, she commended Carrie and other prominent people for addressing what is often considered a taboo subject: “It’s been conventionally, for many years, a taboo topic to talk about any type of baby loss, and that’s one of the things we’re trying to do as a charity to break down that taboo because people need to talk when they’ve gone through loss. It’s how you process grief.”
She added: “Sadly, for generations, people have been told to not talk about loss, to not talk about miscarriage, especially when you’re told, ‘Don’t tell them anybody you’re pregnant until after 12 weeks, just in case you go through loss,’ which just reinforces that message of staying silent. So when people of note, and people in the public eye, talk about their own personal losses, I think it gives, generally, a lot of people the confidence to start speaking about it and sharing about their own personal stories.”
How should we respond to baby loss?
It can be hard to know what to say to those who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, but Zoe suggests we should start by listening: “Don’t try to give platitudes or make people think that their loss is not significant, especially if it’s early on in pregnancy. A loss is a loss, and we need to give people the time and space to talk about that process the trauma of their loss, and to really come to terms with what they’ve gone through.
“The best thing you can do is to open up the subject and then listen. You don’t need to say anything other than: ‘I’m here and I want to listen to you tell your story.’”