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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Miscarriage Support - A Guide to Getting Help in Thailand

Quick reference summary for Miscarriage and Loss Support (all links are live and will take you to a new webpage):

For a more personal explanation of our miscarriage experience please read Miscarriages - How to cope in Thailand

Thailand – Online and physical/emotional support
   Denise Love
   Compassionate Friends

Worldwide – Online emotional support
   The NHS
   Lullaby Trust
   Kicks Count

It’s a rare evening when hubby is at a client dinner and I have the remote control to myself, so I’m indulging in an episode of ITV’s Loose Women. Whilst I don’t find it as hilariously funny as it used to be 5 years ago I do find the content very relevant to my late 30’s status, talking about insecurities with marriages, family life, fertility, health, confidence and emotional stability.

Whenever I tune in I seem to find a particular section that is most relevant and today they are talking about tonight’s Coronation Street episode where Michelle and Steve discover a problem with their pregnancy. The baby must be born prematurely and, as it is before 24 weeks and therefore not considered viable, the hospital policy is to not intervene if the baby does not breath naturally.

Kim Marsh, who plays Michelle in Coronation Street, has suffered a miscarriage herself in real life and has referred to herself on Loose Women in the past as an “Angel Mummy”, a phrase I have used myself when discussing our miscarriages. I can’t begin to imagine how Kim Marsh must be feeling whilst ‘acting’ these scenes, it is simply heartbreaking when Kim, speaking as Michelle, sobs into Steve’s embrace asking “What did I do wrong?”. It is a question that has caught me out spontaneously at various times. Even now I will often say to friends that I “don’t know what I did, or what went wrong”, but the truth, I know deep down, is that I didn’t do anything wrong, there was nothing I could do differently, those little angels simply weren’t destined to stay with us.

Dialogues like this on daytime television in the UK enable open communication and conversations about difficult and heartbreaking scenarios like miscarriage. They announce that their websites are full of help and advice and promote women to reach out for help from their GP, family, friends and a plethora of private facilities. 

But what is here in Thailand? Where can you go in Thailand for help and advice? Who can you talk to? What will your OB/GYN recommend to you?

It is very sad to admit that in Thailand it is hard to find support for moments like this.

Firstly, and I find it astonishing to advise that, your OB/GYN is very unlikely to recommend counselling to you. We have suffered 3 miscarriages, had dealings with 6 OB/GYN doctors and not once have we been referred to, or even given a leaflet about, any counselling.

Your doctor’s advice will most likely be limited to physical and practical matters. Firstly dealing with the immediate need to physically remove the baby, then by prescribing necessary medicine to physically recuperate from the miscarriage, then by suggesting further tests that may assist you to have a successful pregnancy next time.

So, what is here in Thailand? Where can you go in Thailand for help and advice? Who can you talk to?

Sadly, the answer is that it takes a lot of effort to find someone to talk to here in Thailand, so I have tried (and continue to try) to do some of the leg work for you.

My first miscarriage started at home and between contractions on the toilet I goggled frantically. My first reference point was The NHS. This explained what was physically happening to me and the options I might have when I could get to the hospital. Getting to the hospital was not an option for me for at least a few hours as I waited for the contractions and bleeding to settle down, so I read on.

The NHS website gave reference to other online material and I turned to The Miscarriage Association for more information . I found the information on this website the most useful and use it as a good reference point for anyone that has suffered a miscarriage anywhere in the world.

But I was not happy to accept that there was no one to turn to in Thailand. Whilst the doctors may be woefully lacking in emotional support I am pleased to advise that I have found other resources that you can turn to, and that will be empathetic to your physical, emotional and cultural needs.

I can personally recommend Samantha Pryor (The Bangkok Counsellor) as an amazing option to talk through all manner of emotional and psychological needs. She has a unique, open, and friendly approach, which works equally well for men and women, as we cannot forget that miscarriage affects men, for every miscarriage there is a Angel Mum and an Angel Dad. Sam offers a free initial consultation and is very accessible, both in terms of physical location, flexibility of appointments and accessibility by personal messaging to ensure you feel supported whenever, wherever needed.

As a member of the Facebook group The Mummy Club I have conducted a search for support for miscarriage sufferers and whilst I do not have personal experience of these professionals I am pleased to see that there are some points of reference:

Denise Love's website, experience and groups deal with a range of emotions and support women may need for birth and birthing options, counselling through loss, coping with life and death experiences.

Having spoken to the Doulas of Bangkok I would reference them also as a resource for support. Whilst they may not be trained in counselling, they have acute experience of many scenarios of birthing and are a lovely group of women that will not turn you away if you need emotional support.

You can also reach out to the BAMBI group who reference a support group called Compassionate Friends, which is a support group for parents and other family members who have lost a child or children either post or prenatally. For more information they say you can contact Nicole Lasas on 085-240-3803 or  luluanator@gmail.com, or Gregor Former on nibbol@gmail.com.

In addition to the resources I have found in Thailand we live in a connected world and I have been inspired by the Loose Women programme today to see what resources ITV.com recommend in the UK. I am pleased to see a myriad of online resources that we can equally tap into from Thailand, see below for extracts from the website and contact details accordingly (all telephone numbers are UK based):

The Lullaby Trust (formerly FSID the Foundation for the Study of Infant Death)
Bereavement Helpline: 0808 802 6868
The UK's leading baby charity working to prevent sudden deaths and promote health. Lullaby funds research, supports bereaved families and promotes safe baby care advice, including helpline for bereaved parents and their families, friends, neighbours and anyone else who has experienced the sudden death of a baby.

The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)
Helpline: 020 7436 5881
SANDS provide support for bereaved parents and their families when their baby dies, before, during or soon after birth as well as information and support for healthcare professionals.

The Miscarriage Association
Helpline: 01924 200 799
We know that miscarriage can be a very unhappy, frightening and lonely experience. If you have been affected by the loss of a baby in pregnancy, whether recently or long ago, we hope that you will find here support, information and comfort.

Helpline: 0800 0147 800
Funds medical research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth and provides information on having a healthy baby. Raises awareness of the facts and provides free, accurate and up-to-date information for medical professionals and parents-to-be. This includes a dedicated telephone midwife service, a comprehensive website and free books and leaflets dedicated to promoting health in pregnancy and pre-pregnancy.

Kicks Count
Kicks Count is a UK registered charity that aims to empower mums to be with knowledge and confidence throughout their pregnancy. A baby’s movement indicate its wellbeing and by understanding their baby, mums can be empowered to trust their instincts and ensure the healthy delivery of their baby.

The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust
Helpline: 020 7733 2653 (24 hour message line)
A registered national charity, established to meet the needs of people who have experienced ectopic pregnancy and the health care professionals who care for them. The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust believes that the deaths and trauma associated with ectopic pregnancy should be prevented and seeks to both relieve the distress associated with it and provide ongoing support.

Ectopic Pregnancy Foundation
Patient Helpline: 0845 070 4636
The Ectopic Pregnancy Foundation (EPF) has been established with the aim of improving the care of women with a diagnosis, or possible diagnosis, of ectopic pregnancy. We hope to reduce the morbidity and maternal mortality caused by this common condition. For patients the website provides information on what an ectopic pregnancy is, plus the risk factors, symptoms, investigations and treatment options.

The Child Death Helpline
Freephone: 0800 282 986
Additional Freephone number for ALL mobiles: 0808 800 6019
The Child Death Helpline is a helpline for anyone affected by the death of a child of any age, from pre-birth to adult, under any circumstances, however recently or long ago.

Life after loss
Life After Loss is an online support community set up in November 2006 by bereaved mothers who find support and friendship through sharing their grief over the loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy or after birth.

TAMBA Bereavement Support Group
For families who have lost one or more children from a multiple birth, during pregnancy or at any stage afterwards. The Bereavement Support Group provides parent to parent support through a befriending service, all our befrienders are volunteers who have suffered a loss from a multiple pregnancy themselves.

Lone Twin Network

The Lone Twin Network (LTN) is a support network, primarily serving the UK, but with many members overseas. All members are surviving twins and have that unique understanding of what it means to lose part of yourself when your twin - identical or fraternal - dies. Our membership comprises surviving twins who lost their sibling before, at or around birth; in childhood or as an adult.

Let me leave you with a personal request, please do not try to cope alone if you simply cannot. Reach out for help to any of the above resources, or simply reply to this post. I will do all I can to find resource that is right for you, maybe that is just a coffee and a chat, and if that is the case I am always happy to meet up and chat.

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