Transforming Conversations and Care around Women’s Wellbeing >

SUPERVISOR: Sneha Raman

RESEARCH QUESTION:

How might we transform current practices, conversations and care empowering women to negotiate difficult transitions such as miscarriage; and design tools and resources, including digital, to increase awareness and access to tailored, ongoing information and support?

RESEARCH CONTEXT / INQUIRY:

Many areas of women’s wellbeing, particularly pertaining to reproductive and emotional health such as pregnancy/baby loss remain a taboo topic in societies around the world. Information around these topics and depictions of experiences take either a sanitised, medicalised or idealised approach, and conversations tend to be restricted to closed groups involving people with lived experience and those providing care. This perpetuates the public perception of common and significant life course events to be shameful and isolating experiences for individuals [1]. Furthermore, information received during consultations/ appointments can be overwhelming and difficult to comprehend under emotional and stressful conditions, and poses a barrier towards accessing support. Lack of appropriate information along with the stigma around seeking support can often lead to not only physical but also emotional trauma, and have long lasting impact by preventing healing and interfering with general wellbeing over the life course [2].

INNOVATION CHALLENGE: 

Our work has highlighted the need to critically reflect on current practices and to transform conversations and care around women’s wellbeing following miscarriage [3]. Some of the key focus areas that emerged are:

  • increasing public awareness to reduce stigma, including a focus on schools, workplaces and community settings;
  • standardising information on emotional and bereavement support;
  • providing choice and empowering women to make an informed joint decision on care tailored to suit their needs – ‘how/ when to seek support’, ‘who to speak to’, ‘what to expect from their care’;
  • sign-posting and linking women with local resources, support groups and individuals for emotional/ bereavement support; and
  • developing digital resources including visual tools that allow women to find information and support in their own time to support bereavement and healing.

  

  1. Rowlands, I. J., and Lee, C (2010) ‘“The silence was deafening’: social and health service support after miscarriage”, Journal of reproductive and infant psychology, vol. 28. no. 3, 274–286
  2. Cumming, G. P., Klein, S., Bolsover, D., Lee, A. J., Alexander, D. A., Maclean, M., and Jurgens, J. D (2007) ‘The emotional burden of miscarriage for women and their partners: trajectories of anxiety and depression over 13 months’, in An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, vol. 114. no. 9, 1138–1145
  3. Raman, S., Tulloch, A. 2018. Ritual Respect. https://www.futurehealthandwellbeing.org/ritualrespect/