Maritime employers urged to make provision for workers coping with pregnancy loss
23 February 2022
Maritime UK's head of diversity and operations Chrissie Clarke has shared some personal insights on her experiences of miscarriage in the hope it will break down the stigma and encourage better policy provision in maritime organisations.
Ms Clarke, who is also secretary to the Maritime Skills Commission, said in a recent LinkedIn post she felt compelled to share her story of her personal baby loss in 2013, because of how challenging it had been to find organisations who publicly reference the topic.
'Everyone has their own journey, and everyone will grieve in different ways. Please have policies in place to support your employees in the way that need whilst ensuring business can continue, and share best practice.'
Ms Clarke's personal experience with miscarriage took place in 2013 well after her second trimester, when a routine scan near Christmas showed her son's heart had stopped. It is estimated one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. 'I always thought miscarriage would only happen in the first twelve weeks, I was wrong.'
A week after the devastating news of her baby loss, Ms Clarke returned to work, but she said she 'didn't make any announcement as I needed to grieve in the only way I could – to throw myself into work and make a positive difference.'
Eleven rounds of fertility treatment later, and she now has 'two beautiful children and today I hug them even tighter. I am very very lucky, so many aren't.'
Pregnancy loss insights
Ms Clarke offers some guidance for dealing with the grief of loss:
• this is your experience and only you can know what you are feeling but you are not alone. There are a range of fabulous charities and organisations established to support people going through miscarriage and infant loss – reach out to them
• connect with your networks and friends – you may be surprised who has been through a similar experience
• self-care is key. You are NOT to blame. Grieve the loss, surround yourself with people who love you and do something lovely for yourself
• Bears of Hope suggests sourcing something to keep as a memory. I have a ring which will stay on my finger forever
• don't forget the partners and family members who are also experiencing the loss
Australia: Bears of Hope
UK: The Miscarriage Association is a charity that offers support to people who have lost a baby. They have a helpline (Tel: 01924 200 799, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm) and an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), and can put you in touch with a support volunteer
The Pregnancy Loss pledge – a UK campaign by The Miscarriage Association urges employers to commit to supporting their staff
Know your rights in the workplace: Miscarriage in the workplace
Nautilus members: Join in with further discussions through the Women in Maritime and Mental Health in Maritime networks, or the Union's Equality and Diversity Forum
Baby Loss Awareness Week: events will be held from 9 - 15 October 2022
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In recognition that over half the workforce will go through menopause during their working life – some for between two and 15 years – industry body Maritime UK launched a Menopause Hub. The online portal will be launched on International Women's Day 8 March 2022.