Social media was alive last week with the graphic images of a mother whale carrying her dead calf, as she grieved the loss of her baby. In contrast to that public display, we still have a long way to go in our society, when it comes to supporting women who lose babies.

The reality of grief

Too often, women are encouraged to move on quickly and get on with things, as if this might obliterate their pain. Often, this is more to do with the awkwardness of others who are not quite sure what to do or say.

Well-meaning family and friends might say things like “It wasn’t meant to be” or “You can try again”.

Or, the woman might have been following the “12 week rule” and not previously disclosed the pregnancy, which can often cause her to feel more isolated and unsupported.

Disenfranchised grief

In counselling, we often refer to the term “disenfranchised grief”, which means grief or loss which isn’t recognised very well in our culture.

Disenfranchised grief can cause you to feel alone, and as though you don’t have a right to grieve.

To complicate things further, a partner may grieve differently to you.


You may find yourself triggered at the most innocuous times, as you go about your day – even if that day seemed to start okay.

Grief, whether disenfranchised or not, takes time to process. There is no set pace, and it can blow you away with its intensity at times.

Validation and support

If you feel you are stumbling, you do not have to go it alone – find someone, a counsellor or those who have also been through this experience, where your feelings are can be validated and supported.

Take care 🙂










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