The Pink Elephant Support Network launches free counselling sessions for women who have experienced early miscarriage

Support for women: Maggi McDonald wants to help women deal with early pregnancy loss. Picture: John Veage
Support for women: Maggi McDonald wants to help women deal with early pregnancy loss. Picture: John Veage

Falling pregnant is often an exciting time for women and their partners, but when things don’t work out, the news can be difficult to break.

But Maggi McDonald hopes by giving women more support in the ‘secret’ zone of pregnancies will encourage open discussion.

The Gymea mum, 41, was inspired to help others cope with first trimester miscarriages after two of her pregnancies failed – one a nine weeks, and three months later, at 12 weeks.

“Just before my son, 9, started Kindy four years ago, we started trying for a second child,” she said.

“My first miscarriage happened naturally, and I was booked to have a surgical procedure for the second but I started miscarrying at home.

“I ended up in emergency because I lost lots of blood.

“The second one was harder because we had a scan, and that made it more real.”

Every day in Australia, 282 women report pregnancy loss before 20 weeks gestation. 

One in three pregnant women older than the age of 35 will experience pregnancy loss.

“Women are also having babies at an older age so the chance of miscarrying goes up,” Mrs McDonald said.

“They end up having to deal with the grief themselves. It’s also hard on their partners.

“I would have benefitted from talking about it but we don’t tend to discuss these things because it’s the early stage. 

“It’s a very personal thing, but I wear my heart on my sleeve.”

Mrs McDonald recently joined the Pink Elephant Support Network – a free and confidential service that assists women with early pregnancy loss.

She will provide women with six session of personalised peer counselling, which gives them a space to share feelings and emotions. 

Volunteers were trained by a social worker and bereavement counsellor from the Royal Hospital for Women.

“I realise now what I needed was support from someone who had been through what I was going through, and to be reassured that what I was feeling was completely normal,” Mrs McDonald said.

“Early pregnancy loss is still a very silent grief for many women, and we would like to change this by starting the conversation and offering support where needed.”