PINK ELEPHANTS THERE TO SUPPORT MOTHERS WHO HAVE MISCARRIEDWhile many lament the ‘unfiltered’ nature of the Internet, there are innumerable ways in which the Internet’s democratising pathways to knowledge and international communities are changing lives for the better.
In particular, those who have experienced trauma can use the Internet to foster relationships with others who have gone through the same or similar things.
For a long time miscarriage was the ‘elephant in the room’. People didn’t like to talk about it, and mothers were forced to deal with the physical and emotional repercussions of miscarrying without the support of others – let alone others who had trodden the same path.
Gabbi Armstrong, a longtime Randwick resident who has now relocated to Botany, is working with a team of wonderful women to run the Pink Elephants Support Network, an online tool repository and community space that attempts to ensure women who have miscarried do not have to continue to cope alone.
In the process of trying to conceive, Gabbi experienced multiple miscarriages, so she knows just how difficult it can be to manage. About 18 months ago she responded to a Facebook post about miscarriage, and then received a private message and a request to meet for coffee from a woman named Samantha Payne.
“Sam had just had her second loss and just wanted to talk to someone who ‘got it’, who’d been there before, which I had,” Gabbi said.
“We agreed that there was an unmet need for women experiencing early pregnancy loss.
“Often women are told they’ve lost their baby and leave their appointment/GP/ultrasound clinic with no further information.
“So they are not only heartbroken, they’re also unsure of what to expect and unsure where to go for support and reliable information.
“Suffice to say by the end of that coffee date, the concept for Pink Elephants was created and we are now a registered charity!”
The support network provides online resources, like advice brochures, PDFs, and physical miscarriage care kits, which are available for women and their partners to support them through early pregnancy loss. These are free and easy to download and/or organise distribution of from the website (pinkelephantssupport.com).
“We have also launched our Rainbow Stickers into The Royal Hospital for Women,” Gabbi said.
“They are called ‘Rainbow’ stickers because a Rainbow Baby is one that is born after a previous loss or losses.
“The stickers will be used on antenatal cards to alert nurses, midwives or anyone caring for women that this person has experienced a previous loss and may need extra emotional care and reassurance during their pregnancy.”
Next year will see the launch of the Pink Elephants Peer Ambassador support program, where volunteers who have ‘been there’ are professionally trained to give support to those women currently going through loss, particularly recurrent loss.
The mantra that Pink Elephants runs by is thus: “Whilst miscarriage is an individual journey, no woman should have to walk it alone.”
“No matter how supportive your partner, family, or friends may be, there is nothing like the understanding of someone who has been there before and who ‘gets it’, Gabbi said.
“The power of shared experience really is better than anything!”
If you’d like to get involved, please reach out to the Pink Elephants team at firstname.lastname@example.org. As the network is a charity, it relies on donations. If you’d like to donate, please do so via www.pinkelephantssupport.com.