For many women who have experienced miscarriage, Mother’s Day – this Sunday 14 May- can be one of the most difficult days of the year.

Support is all too often lacking for miscarriage, and when English is not your first language, accessing support and resources can be even harder. Every five minutes, someone in Australia experiences a miscarriage, and Monash University and University of Melbourne experts say more needs to be done.

The Miscarriage Australia website aims to encourage more conversation around miscarriage and provide resources in other languages to support women of all backgrounds.

The website provides evidence based resources around how to support someone who’s had a miscarriage, including what’s best to say and what’s best avoided. 

Senior Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and University of Melbourne doctoral candidate Dr Amita Tuteja said miscarriage and stillbirth were more common in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities than the general population, and even higher amongst refugee communities.

Dr Tuteja said the need for translated materials was critical. “Access to health services and prevention support is low for those from CALD backgrounds for various reasons including finance, having no Medicare card, and language,” she said.

“For those from CALD backgrounds, social support is so important but is limited. If you are someone who has newly arrived, there is no family or friends who can support you. Furthermore, miscarriage is such a private matter and they don’t want to call their family at home to talk about their miscarriage.”

Miscarriage Australia Co-lead Professor Meredith Temple-Smith from the University of Melbourne’s Department of General Practice, said the website was welcomed by professionals and those affected by miscarriage but urgently needed donations to make the online resources available in other languages.

“Miscarriage affects women regardless of their cultural background or ethnicity,” Professor Temple-Smith said. “It’s vital that we can translate these resources into multiple languages so they are accessible to all.

“Funding for miscarriage research has been almost completely overlooked in the past, despite how frequently it affects people. At Miscarriage Australia we are keen to conduct further research on the ways in which male partners can be supported as well as LGBTIQA+ couples, and to provide resources specifically for them. Donations, no matter how small, can make a big contribution.” 

Miscarriage Australia is a collaboration of researchers and clinicians from Monash University, the University of Melbourne and Deakin University. Their research improves support for those affected.

Co-lead Dr Jade Bilardi, a Senior Research Fellow at Monash University’s Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, says too often miscarriage is a loss that is not spoken about as it’s an unseen loss with few rites and rituals to commemorate the loss.

Dr Bilardi says for many women, celebrations like Mother’s Day can be a reminder of the loss.

“While generally uncomplicated to manage medically, research has consistently shown that miscarriage can and often does have long lasting psychological impacts on women and those affected, including anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder. These can linger for months or even years.  Support at this time is crucial and yet we know it so often isn’t received or offered in the way it is needed, if at all”.

Pregnancy and infant loss support group Bears of Hope hosts Mother’s Day high teas for mothers who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. Find more details here

Bears of Hope 1300 11 HOPE

Lifeline 13 11 14