The experience for me itself was presented in an unusual analysis. My expectancy of the situation didn’t advocate itself in a nonplussed grieving approach but in a more senseless emotionless experience that presented knowledge, skill and attitude on my part rather than the subject being utterly unapproachable. Unrecognised losses such as the death of a foetus should come to the attention of staff. A good account of the problem and sensitive support should be implemented (Studies of Grief in Adult Life, 1996).
Miscarriage is defined as a loss of pregnancy before 24 weeks’ gestation. It is a devastating experience for anyone who undergoes this experience. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from 79 women admitted to a large London hospital. Seventy-two percent of women positively rated their experience of hospital care (Grief in miscarriage patients and satisfaction with care in a London hospital, 1999). This percentage is relatively high but I feel it should be 100%. When a woman becomes a child bearer, she is entrusted with the precious life of a child to carry and care for but the miscarriage or early pregnancy loss of this life is just ended before it could even begin (When your baby dies through miscarriage or stillbirth. 2002).
I feel I could have performed better on the day and time of the experience. I remained silent and just observed the bereaved mother. I should have encouraged the grieving process. Not many years ago it was considered inappropriate for mothers to grieve over the loss of their baby. Grieving is now considered a long-term healthy option (Mayes’ Midwifery, 2004). I could have assisted the midwife in the comforting of the woman even by standing nearer or offering simple gestures of kindness such as asking if there was anything I could get her. I should have been more prepared and aware. I needed more research and education on the topic.
Education facilitates learning and understanding and promotes the development of skills and resources. This integrates theories into practice (Mayesï¿½Midwifery, 2004). My knowledge and understanding of the topic was limited and I had no skills on caring for the woman. While saying that I do have the skills as a human being to care for people in times of need there are no set rules to follow in caring for people at such sensitive times. Each individual is unique and as a midwife I should be able to recognise varied feelings and have a sense for each woman’s individual needs (Mayes’ Midwifery, 2004).
I feel I portrayed an inadequate approach as for me it was an atypical experience spontaneously introduced to my coursework. I felt pain and sympathy for the mother but did not voice my empathy. I did not want to jeopardise the unfamiliar situation, even though I wanted to help by giving words of comfort. My mind could not think beyond the pain the mother must have been feeling. Next time, I would definitely use a more comforting approach. Perhaps I would sit on the bed as the midwife had, and maybe hold the woman’s hand too, if suitable. I think that to provide effective comfort, good eye contact and body signs are necessary. I feel that I have progressed and am able to overcome the situation and deal with it in a more professional manner. No matter what the circumstances are, losing a child is a shock to the entire body. Grief will flood every part of you – emotionally, physically and mentally (When your baby dies through miscarriage or stillbirth, 2002). I know not to introduce hope for another baby or suggest moving on and forgetting about the baby. These are only the indicators to suggest the baby never even existed. I would not fail to communicate as I did in the situation and I would be more prepared next time I encountered a miscarriage.
Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS)(2001) Guidelines for health care professionals supporting families experiencing a perinatal loss. Paediatrics and child health vol 6(71) pages 469 – 477 Clinical Guidelines group (February 2007). Multi disciplinary Clinical Guidelines. Midwifery and Obstetrics, All wards and Departments. Mid-western Regional Hospital, Limerick: Adm Head of Obstetrics, Divisional Manger, Clinical Midwife Specialist in