In 2019 I experienced three consecutive miscarriages. I miscarried at 8, 5 & 11 weeks. It was the most isolating and lonely time I have ever experienced because I didn't talk about it with anyone. I didn't know how. The aftercare was minimal, to say the least, and it did not include a referral or advice on where to seek support if I felt I needed it. So, during the months that followed, I struggled in silence. Eventually, I realised I was not coping, the grief was too consuming. I did actually need help. After an unsuccessful Google search on where to get help after a miscarriage, I plucked up the courage to book an appointment with my GP to discuss what options were available, if any. She suggested I visit the Grief and Loss Centre (in Invercargill), which I did. There, I was assigned the most amazing counsellor who helped me let go of the guilt I felt. She taught me to accept that it's okay to be sad and have bad days and she confirmed that the emotions I was feeling were completely normal. But most importantly, she acknowledged my grief and she acknowledged my loss - my babies.
I have since become increasing disappointed with the lack of mental health support women receive in New Zealand after experiencing the loss of a baby. I feel strongly about doing my bit to change the culture and encourage people to talk about pregnancy loss more openly, so it is easier for those to ask for help that need to. I decided that if I could create a care package that family and friends could gift to women, that would be a good start at the very least. Sending a care package is a great way to show empathy, love and to acknowledge the loss. Hence Olga & Elle was created.
Profits made from the miscarriage care packages will be donated to baby loss and counselling groups which operate on donations. Profits made will also go towards providing care packages to the Southland Hospital Maternity Ward to pass onto mothers who are experiencing a loss under their care.
If you are struggling to cope with the grief associated with the loss of a baby, please know you are not alone.