Miscarriage and Baby Loss

Miscarriage and Baby Loss
Miscarriage continues to be a taboo subject in the Punjabi and wider South Asian communities. The negative impact of miscarriage and baby loss on mental health is unsurprising given its severity. The lack of support available after such a loss to women (and men) is deeply sad.

In February 2022, the Punjabi Women’s forum met to discuss the impact of miscarriage and baby loss on mental health. Our guest facilitator, Sarina Dosanjh joined the Women’s forum to share her experiences. Since going through two miscarriages Sarina and her husband, Vik have been working to raise awareness of miscarriage and baby-loss.

“We want to normalise the discussion around baby loss and turn something negative into a positive in memory of our baby’s life.”

Sarina Dosanjh, writing for Tommy’s

Following their losses, many of Sarina and Vik’s relatives came forward with their own experiences. It was apparent that the sharing of their own stories was a crucial part of their healing as well as others’, further inspiring the couple raise awareness of this topic. A shared feeling within the forum was the naivety around the miscarriage, particularly the various ways that it can be experienced, and the long term impacts of it. Some of the challenges shared included:

  • How your body continues to show symptoms of pregnancy post-baby loss/miscarriage
  • Feeling like your body has failed you
  • While pregnant, the trauma of previous miscarriages can instil fear throughout your pregnancy
  • Perception around the impact of miscarriage on male mental health can leave men without the support they need

There was consensus that the narrative around baby-loss and fertility in the Punjabi and wider South Asian communities is conservative and at times, sexist. Stories were shared by attendees of relatives warning newlyweds to ‘stay away’ from them, quipping that miscarriage is ‘contagious’. Jokes aside, this in turn can cause feelings of ostracism at a time when support is crucial.

Miscarriage and baby-loss also leads to commentary on infertility and struggles with conception, which is often shaped around the ‘blaming’ of women for being unable to have a child. It was also acknowledged that the stigma around baby loss is apparent across different communities and cultures, demonstrating the need to raise awareness with events like this one. The group was very open with their individual experience of baby loss and miscarriage, and offered each other words of comfort, affirmation and validation.

While the forum has ended discussion has not. Members have continued the conversation, exploring ways of taking this forward and affecting change. Taraki is now supporting Sarina and others to develop organisational infrastructure, for a safe space catering to the needs of those going through baby loss and miscarriage. We also hope to offer more events focusing on this topic and those relating to it - watch this space for more info.

Read Sarina and Vik’s articles with Tommy’s here and here and check out these features by Cosmopolitan and Freeda.

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