There are growing calls for special work leave for people who suffer from an early miscarriage to allow them to grieve without claiming sick leave.
Lunchtime Live host Andrea Gilligan said she has several friends who had a miscarriage but did not “have the time to acknowledge that it is a bereavement and to grieve”.
“They need some time to process what's happened and they're given a sick note from the doctor to give to their employer,” she explained.
“It might then say in brackets ‘pregnancy-related illness’... and for a lot of people I know that is very upsetting because they’re not ill, they’re grieving.”
One caller, Sinead, told the show she suffered three miscarriages early in her pregnancies – and she doesn’t feel she had the appropriate time to grieve.
“[In March 2020], I started to miscarry at home,” she said. “Initially, I didn't take any time off work. I logged in the next morning, and I was just all over the place.
“I didn't know how to approach my manager about it... I ended up ultimately having to take a couple of weeks off in April."
'I had surgery on Monday and logged into work on Tuesday'
Sinead and her husband found out they were pregnant again in July 2020, but unfortunately miscarried two months later.
“I had the surgery on Monday and then the following day, I logged back into work because I was so worried that I had taken two weeks off in April,” she said.
On her third miscarriage in January, Sinead said she felt “numb”, and while she eventually had a child, it remains a traumatic period for her.
Sinead said her manager was “so supportive” during this time – but the lack of official bereavement leave for early miscarriages put a lot of pressure on her.
“It was probably more on me that I felt very aware,” she said. “It’s a very personal thing.”
'No matter how far gone you are, it's a loss'
After having two children already, Sinead was not prepared to deal with multiple miscarriages and felt “completely traumatised”.
“We have a long way to go in terms of supporting women when they're going through this,” she said.
“These ‘little sparks’ as I like to call them, they mean so much to people from the moment you see those two lines on the test.
“It doesn't matter how far gone you are... it’s a loss.”
Sinead said the Government need to recognise the loss of all people who suffer a miscarriage, not just those after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
“It would be absolutely incredible for the Government to actually bring in some paid miscarriage leave for women and families to grieve for the life they had imagined,” she said.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in the piece you can contact The Miscarriage Association of Ireland at 085 822 0046, 087 055 4382 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to Sinead's full story, and other women's stories, here: