The Strangford MLA, who has suffered a number of miscarriages herself, said a current storyline on Coronation Street helped highlight the issue but the grief suffered as a result is still seen as taboo in many quarters.
On the ITV show this week, character Michelle Connor suffers a late miscarriage, losing her baby at 23 weeks. Kellie said she hoped the story would help raise awareness of miscarriage and its effects.
“Of my 14 children, 13 did not survive pregnancy. I have suffered multiple early pregnancy miscarriages, including losses following IVF treatment. After my first loss, I suffered with depression as I grieved. I finally got the help I needed through the volunteer group Remember Our Child. They provided empathy but for many experiencing the same situation, there is no signposting to such help. Many women and their families suffer in isolation, not able to talk about their loss or to access the support that they need to help them through their painful bereavement
“One in four pregnancies end in in miscarriage. An Executive Miscarriage Strategy currently exists but it does not go far enough to help mothers and fathers following baby loss. It does not have any consideration for the long-term impact of miscarriage. Neither is there long-term funding for bereavement support or investigations into the causes.
“Those who suffer miscarriage are often left isolated in a very lonely pain. Parents feel adrift, not knowing how to deal with the loss of their child or work through their unspeakable grief. We need better care following miscarriage. Only then can people be helped to cope with the heartache they suffer every day.”