Tag Archives: Janet

What you should say to somebody who has miscarried – and what you shouldn’t | Janet Murray

“At least you know you can get pregnant,” said my doctor friend when I told her I’d had a miscarriage, 12 weeks into my first pregnancy, and following a painful struggle with infertility. “There was probably something wrong with the baby,” said one relative. “Just think of all the fun you’ll have trying again,” said another.

After my second miscarriage – a rare form of ectopic pregnancy – the focus was on the fact I was already a mother. “At least you’ve already got a child,” well-meaning friends told me, as did the surgeon who delivered the news that the pregnancy – and subsequent surgery – had left me infertile.

Not only did these insensitive comments hurt. They also made me feel diminished, as if I had no right grieving for a baby that never existed. As if I were greedy to want another child when I already had one.

As many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage so you would think we’d be better at talking to women who have lost a baby. But if you’ve experienced miscarriage – or are close to someone who has – you’ll know how clumsy people can be with their words.

Perhaps it’s because it can be uncomfortable discussing “female” things such as bleeding and cramps. Or maybe it’s because people don’t associate early miscarriage (generally defined as a loss that occurs before the 20th week of pregnancy) with a “real” baby. Whatever the reason, when you experience miscarriage you quickly discover that even the nicest people can say the most insensitive things.

I had a miscarriage. Why can’t we talk about losing a baby?

Almost every woman I know who has experienced miscarriage has a story about something inappropriate someone said following her loss.

After losing twins, one friend was told it was for the best “as she wouldn’t have been able to cope anyway”. Another endured speculation about whether her migraines were to blame, as “stress [caused by migraines] can kill babies in the womb”. “At least it was nice and early” offered little comfort to the colleague who lost babies six and seven weeks into her pregnancies.

But while words can wound, saying nothing can be just as bad.

I’m generally a positive person but both times I miscarried, I experienced extreme hopelessness. One minute I was imagining holding my baby in my arms, reading her a bedtime story or helping her take her first steps. The next I was in this dark, shadowy place, where I couldn’t see anything to live for. I thought I would never be able to stop crying. The worst thing was the crushing loneliness: the phone stayed silent – most people were too afraid to call.


I’m generally a positive person but both times I miscarried, I experienced extreme hopelessness

When a friend or loved one loses a baby, the worst thing you can do is stay away. Picking up the phone or calling round to their home – even when you don’t know what to say – takes guts, but is better than doing nothing at all. Offering to cook, babysit, run errands – or any other practical help – can be enough to show you care.

Acknowledge the loss by asking when the baby was due to be born. If she doesn’t want to share she’ll say so. But steer clear of meaningless platitudes such as “everything happens for a reason” or “you can try again” (she can’t – that baby is gone for ever – and that was the baby she wanted). Anything that starts with “at least” will sound like you’re trying to minimise the loss – so don’t go there.

Do remember that everyone experiences grief and loss differently. I left a party in tears last year after someone made a point of telling me they’d miscarried twins and it hadn’t really bothered them. The conversation that followed was so painful – even 10 years after my last miscarriage – it took my breath away. So you had a miscarriage yourself and got over it in a few days. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean everyone else should do.

In fact a 2011 study found that the depression and anxiety experienced by many women after a miscarriage can continue for years, even after the birth of a healthy child.

If you’ve recently found out you’re pregnant yourself you can’t avoid the subject for ever. But a sensitive phone call (rather than a scan picture on a Facebook message – yep, that happened to me) is probably a better bet.

Remember, also, that miscarriage hurts dads too, but they are often so busy looking after their partner that their grief goes unacknowledged. A simple hug or “how are you doing?” can go a long way.

I was saved by a wise friend who didn’t try to offer explanations, “fix” things or tell me about her friend/sister/aunt who miscarried umpteen times but went on to have a healthy baby. Who was brave enough to turn up on my doorstep with a hug and box of chocolates and just listen. Who understood that “I’m sorry” was all I needed to hear. That alone was priceless.

Janet Murray is a writer, speaker and fundraiser for miscarriage awareness. She is running the 2018 London Marathon raise money for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust

  • Comments on this thread are will be pre-moderated.

What you should say to somebody who has miscarried – and what you shouldn’t | Janet Murray

“At least you know you can get pregnant,” said my doctor friend when I told her I’d had a miscarriage, 12 weeks into my first pregnancy, and following a painful struggle with infertility. “There was probably something wrong with the baby,” said one relative. “Just think of all the fun you’ll have trying again,” said another.

After my second miscarriage – a rare form of ectopic pregnancy – the focus was on the fact I was already a mother. “At least you’ve already got a child,” well-meaning friends told me, as did the surgeon who delivered the news that the pregnancy – and subsequent surgery – had left me infertile.

Not only did these insensitive comments hurt. They also made me feel diminished, as if I had no right grieving for a baby that never existed. As if I were greedy to want another child when I already had one.

As many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage so you would think we’d be better at talking to women who have lost a baby. But if you’ve experienced miscarriage – or are close to someone who has – you’ll know how clumsy people can be with their words.

Perhaps it’s because it can be uncomfortable discussing “female” things such as bleeding and cramps. Or maybe it’s because people don’t associate early miscarriage (generally defined as a loss that occurs before the 20th week of pregnancy) with a “real” baby. Whatever the reason, when you experience miscarriage you quickly discover that even the nicest people can say the most insensitive things.

I had a miscarriage. Why can’t we talk about losing a baby?

Almost every woman I know who has experienced miscarriage has a story about something inappropriate someone said following her loss.

After losing twins, one friend was told it was for the best “as she wouldn’t have been able to cope anyway”. Another endured speculation about whether her migraines were to blame, as “stress [caused by migraines] can kill babies in the womb”. “At least it was nice and early” offered little comfort to the colleague who lost babies six and seven weeks into her pregnancies.

But while words can wound, saying nothing can be just as bad.

I’m generally a positive person but both times I miscarried, I experienced extreme hopelessness. One minute I was imagining holding my baby in my arms, reading her a bedtime story or helping her take her first steps. The next I was in this dark, shadowy place, where I couldn’t see anything to live for. I thought I would never be able to stop crying. The worst thing was the crushing loneliness: the phone stayed silent – most people were too afraid to call.


I’m generally a positive person but both times I miscarried, I experienced extreme hopelessness

When a friend or loved one loses a baby, the worst thing you can do is stay away. Picking up the phone or calling round to their home – even when you don’t know what to say – takes guts, but is better than doing nothing at all. Offering to cook, babysit, run errands – or any other practical help – can be enough to show you care.

Acknowledge the loss by asking when the baby was due to be born. If she doesn’t want to share she’ll say so. But steer clear of meaningless platitudes such as “everything happens for a reason” or “you can try again” (she can’t – that baby is gone for ever – and that was the baby she wanted). Anything that starts with “at least” will sound like you’re trying to minimise the loss – so don’t go there.

Do remember that everyone experiences grief and loss differently. I left a party in tears last year after someone made a point of telling me they’d miscarried twins and it hadn’t really bothered them. The conversation that followed was so painful – even 10 years after my last miscarriage – it took my breath away. So you had a miscarriage yourself and got over it in a few days. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean everyone else should do.

In fact a 2011 study found that the depression and anxiety experienced by many women after a miscarriage can continue for years, even after the birth of a healthy child.

If you’ve recently found out you’re pregnant yourself you can’t avoid the subject for ever. But a sensitive phone call (rather than a scan picture on a Facebook message – yep, that happened to me) is probably a better bet.

Remember, also, that miscarriage hurts dads too, but they are often so busy looking after their partner that their grief goes unacknowledged. A simple hug or “how are you doing?” can go a long way.

I was saved by a wise friend who didn’t try to offer explanations, “fix” things or tell me about her friend/sister/aunt who miscarried umpteen times but went on to have a healthy baby. Who was brave enough to turn up on my doorstep with a hug and box of chocolates and just listen. Who understood that “I’m sorry” was all I needed to hear. That alone was priceless.

Janet Murray is a writer, speaker and fundraiser for miscarriage awareness. She is running the 2018 London Marathon raise money for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust

  • Comments on this thread are will be pre-moderated.

What you should say to somebody who has miscarried – and what you shouldn’t | Janet Murray

“At least you know you can get pregnant,” said my doctor friend when I told her I’d had a miscarriage, 12 weeks into my first pregnancy, and following a painful struggle with infertility. “There was probably something wrong with the baby,” said one relative. “Just think of all the fun you’ll have trying again,” said another.

After my second miscarriage – a rare form of ectopic pregnancy – the focus was on the fact I was already a mother. “At least you’ve already got a child,” well-meaning friends told me, as did the surgeon who delivered the news that the pregnancy – and subsequent surgery – had left me infertile.

Not only did these insensitive comments hurt. They also made me feel diminished, as if I had no right grieving for a baby that never existed. As if I were greedy to want another child when I already had one.

As many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage so you would think we’d be better at talking to women who have lost a baby. But if you’ve experienced miscarriage – or are close to someone who has – you’ll know how clumsy people can be with their words.

Perhaps it’s because it can be uncomfortable discussing “female” things such as bleeding and cramps. Or maybe it’s because people don’t associate early miscarriage (generally defined as a loss that occurs before the 20th week of pregnancy) with a “real” baby. Whatever the reason, when you experience miscarriage you quickly discover that even the nicest people can say the most insensitive things.

I had a miscarriage. Why can’t we talk about losing a baby?

Almost every woman I know who has experienced miscarriage has a story about something inappropriate someone said following her loss.

After losing twins, one friend was told it was for the best “as she wouldn’t have been able to cope anyway”. Another endured speculation about whether her migraines were to blame, as “stress [caused by migraines] can kill babies in the womb”. “At least it was nice and early” offered little comfort to the colleague who lost babies six and seven weeks into her pregnancies.

But while words can wound, saying nothing can be just as bad.

I’m generally a positive person but both times I miscarried, I experienced extreme hopelessness. One minute I was imagining holding my baby in my arms, reading her a bedtime story or helping her take her first steps. The next I was in this dark, shadowy place, where I couldn’t see anything to live for. I thought I would never be able to stop crying. The worst thing was the crushing loneliness: the phone stayed silent – most people were too afraid to call.


I’m generally a positive person but both times I miscarried, I experienced extreme hopelessness

When a friend or loved one loses a baby, the worst thing you can do is stay away. Picking up the phone or calling round to their home – even when you don’t know what to say – takes guts, but is better than doing nothing at all. Offering to cook, babysit, run errands – or any other practical help – can be enough to show you care.

Acknowledge the loss by asking when the baby was due to be born. If she doesn’t want to share she’ll say so. But steer clear of meaningless platitudes such as “everything happens for a reason” or “you can try again” (she can’t – that baby is gone for ever – and that was the baby she wanted). Anything that starts with “at least” will sound like you’re trying to minimise the loss – so don’t go there.

Do remember that everyone experiences grief and loss differently. I left a party in tears last year after someone made a point of telling me they’d miscarried twins and it hadn’t really bothered them. The conversation that followed was so painful – even 10 years after my last miscarriage – it took my breath away. So you had a miscarriage yourself and got over it in a few days. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean everyone else should do.

In fact a 2011 study found that the depression and anxiety experienced by many women after a miscarriage can continue for years, even after the birth of a healthy child.

If you’ve recently found out you’re pregnant yourself you can’t avoid the subject for ever. But a sensitive phone call (rather than a scan picture on a Facebook message – yep, that happened to me) is probably a better bet.

Remember, also, that miscarriage hurts dads too, but they are often so busy looking after their partner that their grief goes unacknowledged. A simple hug or “how are you doing?” can go a long way.

I was saved by a wise friend who didn’t try to offer explanations, “fix” things or tell me about her friend/sister/aunt who miscarried umpteen times but went on to have a healthy baby. Who was brave enough to turn up on my doorstep with a hug and box of chocolates and just listen. Who understood that “I’m sorry” was all I needed to hear. That alone was priceless.

Janet Murray is a writer, speaker and fundraiser for miscarriage awareness. She is running the 2018 London Marathon raise money for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust

  • Comments on this thread are will be pre-moderated.

There is a cure for the NHS: give nurses a pay rise | Janet Davies

When money gets tight in the NHS, they go straight for the so-called low-hanging fruit. Politicians and economists who do not understand patient care cut the staffing bill to balance the books. Nurses, as members of one of the largest professions in the NHS, find themselves first in line. Failings at Stafford hospital and other recent scandals have not acted as enough of a deterrent.

Patients on wards feel the difference, but so does the older person waiting for the district nurse at home and those who visit local clinics. The number of trained nurses available to work for the NHS is getting smaller and hospitals have 40,000 fewer nurses than they say they need.

The NHS turns 69 on Wednesday and has relied on the best nurses from around the world since it began. Some years ago it became an easy but short-sighted option to recruit ready-made nurses from overseas rather than train our own, with UK training based on what could supposedly be afforded – not what was needed. Consequently, not enough nurses have been trained.

The government removed student funding from trainee nurses and degree applications for this September have fallen by a quarter, with would-be mature students in particular put off by the prospect of large debts. These students, who bring a wealth of life experience to the job, often make the best nurses and their loss will be felt acutely in the mental health and learning disability sectors.

Other routes into nursing have been opened but apprenticeships push responsibility on to employers who are already broke. Nursing associates, welcome as high-quality support workers, are unfairly being asked to take on tasks that should remain the preserve of trained nurses. When the level of skill and experience on a ward is reduced too much, the outcome for patients, including mortality, is affected.

In the year since the Brexit vote, the government has failed to make it clear that European nurses are welcome and needed in the NHS, and the number of new arrivals is languishing at a fraction of last year’s level. Not only have new European nurses stopped joining the official register, others have started going back home after years in the NHS.

British nurses, too, are getting ready to move abroad. Many more are leaving nursing all together – forced out by the poor pay, the unimaginable pressure and a feeling that they are not able to provide the safe care for patients that they want to give. When it pays more to stack supermarket shelves than walk the wards, it is little wonder people are rethinking their career choices. The Department of Health says keeping wages down means hospitals can afford more nurses but the 40,000 vacancies reveal the real impact.


It cannot be repeated enough: a pay ‘rise’ that is deliberately held below inflation is in fact a pay cut

Last week one nurse showed me a payslip from seven years ago and another from last month. Her pay had remained static while rent, food and childcare costs had rocketed. The 1% cap on pay “rises”, and pay freezes for years before that, have left nurses at least £3,000 a year worse off than in 2010. It cannot be repeated enough: a pay “rise” that is deliberately held below inflation is in fact a pay cut.

Now, in the first week since the Royal College of Nursing launched its “summer of protest” over low pay and unsafe staffing, there are encouraging signs that the government is changing direction. There is growing cross-party support for lifting the cap. Jeremy Hunt has told NHS leaders that he is sympathetic.

When a senior MP was recently asked how a 10% pay rise for MPs was afforded, he said it had been a salary “correction”. Nurses are waiting for the same correction after a 14% real-terms pay cut. For every day that the cap remains in place, the official register of those who can practise as a nurse is haemorrhaging more names than are added. The government must lift this cap and close the gap on lost earnings.

Tackling loneliness cannot rest with volunteers alone | Janet Morrison

Barely a day goes by without one story or another highlighting the crisis in social care, and flagging the contribution failures in the health service are making to the problem. Added to this are the pressures of an ageing population in which many of the people living for longer are doing so with complex conditions.

The government argues it has taken short term steps to address the crisis, but as yet has offered no suggestion of how it might solve the problem long term.

Independent Age, along with many other charities in the care sector, have long been calling for a cross-party solution to address the crisis in health and social care. We can’t kick this issue into the long grass yet again. As a society we need to ask ourselves, what kind of care we want in later life and how much we are we prepared to pay for it. But the costs involved also beg the question of what role volunteers should have in helping to tackle these issues.

Through our network of volunteers across the UK we offer friendship services to older people who are lonely. Our volunteers provide regular phone calls and visits, enabling older people to feel more connected to their local community and, crucially, helping to reduce loneliness.

A great example of how our work can help is Ron, who is nearly 90. Ron’s wife died a number of years ago, and following a fall at home in which he broke his hip, he very rarely gets out. Ron would go for days on end without speaking to anyone. He now has regular visits from one of our volunteers, Alison, whose employers so value the work she does with Ron that they let her work flexibly so she can visit him.

Crucially, we understand that volunteering is not a one-way street: our volunteers tell us they get as much out of the relationship as the person they visit or call. That might be through the pleasure of a joint interest, or through sharing life stories and experiences. There is evidence that volunteering can bring health benefits for the volunteer too.


Volunteers from across the health and social care sectors are already providing essential services.

There are, however, firm boundaries to the volunteer relationship. We’re clear that it is not the role of our friendship volunteers to offer advice on issues like benefits or accessing care and support (we have an expert helpline for that). And their role mustn’t be confused with the provision of statutory services that are the legal duties of bodies like councils and the NHS.

It’s essential that the boundaries of any volunteering role are clearly understood by the organisation arranging the service, the volunteer providing it and the person receiving it.

That doesn’t mean that volunteers have no role in health and social care though. Many volunteers from across the sector are already providing other essential services: from volunteer-delivered “home from hospital” schemes to lunch clubs and shopping services, driving people to GP and hospital visits, or acting as quality assessors for their local Healthwatch. And let’s not forget the 1.3 million older people who are providing unpaid care [pdf] for their loved ones – recent estimates put the value of informal care provided by older people at £11.4bn a year [pdf].

Up and down the UK, local people are volunteering to provide essential support for health and social care provision. Their contribution must be applauded and recognised as they continue to assist those who need it, now and in the future.

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AOL’s Tim Armstrong couldn’t be more wrong about ‘distressed babies’ | Janet Sheaffer Pickel

cade1

Cade, son of Janet Pickel when he was born (left) and now (right). Photograph: The Guardian.

On the day my twins were born, they racked up health-related expenses of $ 29,000 apiece.

They were delivered by way of emergency caesarean segment at 24 weeks’ gestation, meaning I was approximately five months along. Our daughter, Jaina, weighed just below a pound her brother, Cade, weighed 1 pound, five ounces.

They could not breathe on their personal. Their skin was so thin, their bodies so little, we could watch their hearts beat. They hadn’t developed cartilage yet their ears and noses have been flaps of skin. We didn’t inquire how a lot it was going to expense to deal with them we just wanted our infants to live.

Our several physicians talked about day-to-day survival, not lengthy-term payment strategies.

My employer – a newspaper not far previous a round of buyouts and price-cuts – did not inquire me how significantly it was going to cost to deal with them. My co-workers pooled money and bought us present cards so we didn’t have to cook as we drove back and forth to the hospital for months.

When I study AOL chief Tim Armstrong’s remarks blaming his company’s improved well being-care expenses on two “distressed” infants with million-dollar healthcare expenses, I wondered if that’s what every person imagined about our twins. Did we invest as well considerably of an individual else’s money to consider to conserve them?

I know my unplanned initial pregnancy (at 41) value a total great deal of money, a lot of which did not come out of my pocket. Insurance coverage and Medicaid picked up all but a handful of thousand bucks of the $ 2m we “invested” at the Harrisburg Hospital neonatal intensive care unit in four months.

Our Jaina lived only 49 hrs. In that time, she had x-rays, blood transfusions, IVs, a ventilator, an incubator, a devoted nurse. I never even know what else. All I know is she was quite sick and she died, and I would’ve paid $ 10m – any amount – to save her if I could have.

Cade appeared healthier at 1st, but had his initial (of 10) surgeries when he was two weeks previous. When he was 3 weeks outdated, struggling through his umpteenth infection, a doctor asked us if we needed hold making an attempt to hold him alive.

We did, no matter the cost.

Thanks to talented doctors and nurses who found the supply of the infection and fixed it, Cade turned the corner following that day. He was not out of the woods, however. He could not breathe on his personal right up until he was two months previous. He had sight-conserving eye surgical procedure at 3 months.

At one stage, we have been advised he likely had cerebral palsy and would be disabled in some way, perhaps mentally, maybe physically, possibly the two. Was a disabled youngster also expensive to maintain? No 1 asked that query. My husband and I in no way deemed it.

Cade was launched from the NICU when he was four months outdated. His very first week home, he had 7 physician appointments. He did not have cerebral palsy soon after all, but received government-paid early intervention companies to help him find out to stroll and talk and catch up with his non-preemie peers.

Today, Cade is a content, wholesome two-yr-outdated. He has mild asthma, but has not been hospitalized unexpectedly for a lot more than 18 months, which is trigger for celebration. He still sees a good deal of medical professionals, but not really frequently. His final surgery was only a month in the past, but his scars on his back, his belly and his arm never seem to bother him. Largely, he giggles and skips and asks to watch “Hi Elmo” (Sesame Street) all the time.

I wonder if AOL’s Tim Armstrong, who has apologized for his statements, understands how dehumanizing they were. Some have even advised his remarks violated America’s healthcare privacy laws. Remember when Obamacare opponents were speaking about grandma being subjected to death panels as an alternative of expensive care? It is the very same thing. It’s as if he wished price-benefit analyses to be done just before our daughter’s IV was place in or our son’s cardiac surgeon referred to as.

Thankfully, in our situation, my husband and I were capable to determine what was very best for our child with no worrying about the price. We have usually paid our insurance coverage premiums and taxes without complaint, believing that the frequent very good is well worth sharing the ache. We have tried to give back what we’ve been provided by means of perform and volunteerism.

Must I really feel guilty for possessing medically fragile babies? Was it worth it? Was it fair for other people to aid pay out for them? Must my son truly feel pressured to have a much better-than-common existence due to the fact his start price a lot far more than every person else’s?

Unanswerable concerns. I cannot put a cost on a priceless existence, and neither can any individual else.