Pregnancy Loss Awareness with Krista Simser

Jordan D’Nelle 0:01
Welcome to vaginas vulvas and vibrators with Jordan D’Nelle. This is a safe place to learn about women’s health and sexual wellness. I’m your host Jordan D’Nelle, physician assistant, women’s sexual health educator, and intimacy coach.

On this week’s episode, we are talking about pregnancy and infant loss. October is pregnancy and infant loss Awareness Month and so I thought this would be a perfect time to talk about this topic a little bit more. Talk about how common miscarriages are and how to support your friends when they are dealing with loss. Before we get into today’s episode, I have something special for you. Are you wanting to have mind blowing sex and get the sex that you desire, but you’re not really sure what that even looks like? Or how to make that happen? Then this is something you will not want to miss. I am currently enrolling in my Get the Sex you Desire program. This self paced course is to help women unlock their pleasure, discover their desires, and make their fantasies come true. If you were hearing this and thinking wow, I would love to learn more about myself. or thinking Hmm, I don’t even know what my deepest desires are. Or if you just want mind blowing sex, then don’t miss this. To register go to desire@JordanDnelle.com. Trust me, you are about to have your mind blown. Get the Sex you Desire is off the chains and it is so hot and juicy and fully loaded with everything that you could have ever imagined to have better mind blowing sex. So I hope you enjoy; I can’t wait to see you in there. Joining me today is Krista Simser. She is a birth and pregnancy coach and doula. She promotes the benefits of a physiological and undisturbed birth. She currently lives in Canada and has her own podcast as well. I’m super excited to chat with her today to learn a little bit more about miscarriages, still birth, pregnancy loss, infant loss, and all of that. Krista, do you want to go ahead and start by telling us how you decided you wanted to become a doula?

Krista Simser 2:34
Sure, I actually liked the story because it’s very unconventional. So, I always thought the only way to work with pregnancy and birth was to be a pediatrician or a doctor. And that’s something that we are just told in mainstream that seems to be the only option. And I have really zero interest in going to medical school, in going to school for seven years. Anything that was university. I was interested in that but I always had this desire to work with children. I loved pregnancy. I love talking about it. I just loved families, all of that stuff. So, it actually came across my path, the word doula, during a radio interview, CBC radio talk radio. I used to listen to that in my car when I was driving. I just thought it was more soothing, then listening to music. And it was interesting because you got to hear all these conversations. So, I was listening. And one day this girl was on and she mentioned the word doula. And she mentioned what she does is she works with pregnant pregnancy. And it’s kind of like a coach and you have childbirth education, and I just stopped. I was like, what? I was like, there’s a way to work with birth and pregnancy without being a doctor? I was like, I gotta listen to this more. So I remember I pulled into my driveway. And it was one of those things where you didn’t get out of the car, I had to have like wait 20 minutes for the interview to be over. And as soon as it was done, I knew that was the way that I needed to go. So I contacted the girl right away. And it happened to be that a doula training was taking place, I think like two weeks later, that she was attending. So I went with her. And the more that I just got into this world of pregnancy and birth and education, I knew that’s where that was the thing that I was looking for my entire life where I felt that connection, and I found it in doula work. So I just spent the last six, seven years just studying all that I can, reading all the books, watching all the movies, attending births, talking with people. The more I found myself in that world, the more I wanted to be a part of it.

Jordan D’Nelle 4:27
I love that. And Isn’t it crazy how in life, you know that there’s something more and you don’t necessarily know what it is and then it falls into your plate magically,

Krista Simser 4:38
Especially when you’re not looking for it because I’d almost given up on that desire to work with pregnancy because like I said, at the very beginning, I didn’t want to be a doctor and I didn’t want to be a pediatrician. So I thought my entrance into birth world was closed forever. And then it came to me without me even looking for it. And that’s how you know when something is right when the universe delivers it to you?

Unknown Speaker 5:01
Oh, that’s so beautiful. I love it. Now, I thought you were the perfect person to bring on to talk about pregnancy loss. And October is National pregnancy last month and the 15th I believe is National infant loss and miscarriage day. So do you maybe want to tell us a little bit about what is a miscarriage? And how common is it?

Krista Simser 5:26
Okay, for sure, because there is a difference between miscarriage and stillbirth. And we’ll get into that. And miscarriage statistics are actually not really known because a lot of women who experienced them don’t talk about it. That can be even miss missed miscarriages where you don’t realize that you’re having a miscarriage. So, as of right now, the statistics that are out vary between one and four and one in three women. So that’s 25 to 33% of pregnancies will end in a loss. And that is just, we have to I think as a society recognize that that is a variation of normal; loss happens. And you might realize when you’re talking to your girlfriends that well it doesn’t seem that common because no one’s really said that they’ve had a miscarriage, but there’s so much stigma around pregnancy loss. And the women who carry, carry a lot of shame thinking that it’s their fault, or they did something wrong, where it could be something as simple as it was just there was a variation in the cell and the cell stopped developing. And that was nothing that the mother had control over. So, because there’s so much stigma around pregnancy loss, and it’s not talked about women who experience it don’t even feel they have a safe space to share their story without having shame put on them. So it is way more common than it is expected. And it’s one of those things that even though people aren’t comfortable talking about it, the more that we talk about it, the more comfortable we will be about talking about it. So it’s like a catch 22.

Jordan D’Nelle 6:57
That is so right. And that’s like exactly why I have this podcast is so that we can talk about these things so that it’s being talked about more. Now I work in fertility right now. And I would say that it’s very high risk for miscarriages in fertility. And one of the statistics that we kind of use is that or like some of the studies that have been done is that if you start checking HCG, or like that pregnancy level, the day after ovulation, there is a large number of pregnancies that don’t continue before you would even get to that point of a lost period. And I think that that’s kind of interesting that miscarriages are way more common than we know about. And most of my girlfriends, I haven’t seen a handful of them who are attempting to conceive have gone through a loss.

Krista Simser 7:47
And sort of what you’re saying too, about how the levels can be recognized right away. And that we only think miscarriage is something that once the woman knows that they’re pregnant. And I do want to speak about this, too. It’s about the whole waiting the 12 weeks thing, the safe window, I’m not going to share my excitement, my joy, the fact that I’m carrying a child for 12 weeks, because if I do experience a miscarriage, I don’t have to share that with the world. But in a way, that’s what we were saying about earlier about how there’s so much stigma around it, it’s why should you feel that you have to deny yourself the joy and the excitement of carrying a child for the percentage that it can end in a loss where there’s still a 75 or 66 to 75% chance that that child will more than likely end up being a live birth. So that’s something that I really work with my clients and even in my community, I’m really trying to change the wait like the 12 week wait. I really think we need to end that because even if you announced that six weeks or as soon as you find out that you’re pregnant, and you end up in a loss, that’s okay. Like we have to start recognizing that a loss is okay. And you’re allowed to grieve in public and you’re allowed to think that this was a child that I was expecting to have. And then you at that point, even as soon as you get pregnant, you already have hopes and desires and dreams for yourself and for that child. So if you’re now have a loss before 12 weeks, and you don’t even get to share that there’s so much grief around losing the child but also losing all of those dreams and those thoughts that you had with that child as well.

Jordan D’Nelle 9:25
Yeah, absolutely. What are some common causes of miscarriages?

Krista Simser 9:30
It can be so many. Now there can be I said earlier that the mother is not to blame. Now there are instances where based off of lifestyle choices or other things that the mother can be doing. They can cause a miscarriage, whether it’s intentional or not. But there are a lot of the times miscarriages when they actually look into it. The cause of it is unknown because it’s just could be really early and if the baby just stops developing or the cells just stop for any reason. Most of the time, it’s there’s no explanation why. And that’s the variation of normal. Same as I don’t want to compare seeds of fruits or vegetables that we plant to the same as babies, but you can plant a full garden for harvest. And for some reason those seeds just don’t grow that year. And it’s just happens to be that that’s how the seeds were, maybe on a cellular level, they didn’t develop properly, they weren’t nourished as well as that seed needed to be nourished. So it’s the same as the cells of the embryo, it could just be that for some reason, they stopped growing, or they needed to be extra nourish that they didn’t get the exact combination of nutrients that they needed, and they just ended up dying. Things we live in a world where things are born and things die, and sometimes things die before they’re born. And that’s just a variation of normal.

Jordan D’Nelle 10:50
Yeah, I would say some common causes that I see a lot of times is going to be like genetic. So if there is a trisomy 21, trisomy 13, something, sometimes they are compatible with life, but a lot of times if it is incompatible with life, it will end in a natural miscarriage. The other thing that you can see, especially with like later, miscarriages or second trimester losses is going to be blood clotting issues, or some type of blood situation going on. Not always, but that is a potential cause. So how do you personally support women who are actively going through a loss?

Krista Simser 11:37
I personally do that on, just a personal side, the work that I’ve done, I have just with my clients happened to have clients that have had live births. So I didn’t start with a client who ended up having a miscarriage, but just on a friendship side, people who have come to me and asked me questions, or even when they experienced that, I find the biggest thing that you can do is just have that space available for them to come to you. And whatever they need, whether they want to grieve or talk about it, or even sometimes they don’t want to talk about it. And that is okay. You don’t need to be like, you know what, I’m here if you want to talk about it, like what are you feeling. And for them, a miscarriage can be something that because it wasn’t a live birth, or if it was early, they can be totally okay with the fact that it was a loss and they don’t need to share it with another person. So the way that I personally provide support is I offer space, and then I do provide resources, I do have a list of resources, whether they’re local, whether their internet base, and just you provide I give it to them. And I say these are some things that you may whatever time line that you feel comfortable, whether you want to look into it or not, you can access them and just being available that if they want to chat or if they don’t want to chat if they’d rather just go for a walk or go for coffee, or go bowling or do something fun. Having fun is okay, like you’re allowed to, even during a grieving process, we’re so thinking that again, you have to hold space for your friend to come over and cry and get it all out. But maybe going out bowling or having fun doing karaoke is what they need. They just need to get out of that mindset and be away if everybody in their entire community is just holding space for them to grieve. It could be too much and like I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I want to go have fun.

Jordan D’Nelle 13:26
I think that’s a really good point. I have supported a lot of friends throughout their pregnancy losses, and even infant losses. And I think one of the biggest things that I’ve learned being an infertility is that supporting women by being there for them, however, that looks for them, and asking them like, Hey, what do you need, because I think everybody deals with it differently. And you’re right, some people don’t want to talk about it, some want to go do something, maybe to take their mind off of it. Some women do want to talk about it, and learning to kind of adjust to what each individual needs. Because if you have four friends that go through it, each one of them is going to respond differently to the situation.

Krista Simser 14:09
And I think one of the biggest things, too, is not to be there to analyze their story or give them an answer if this happened because or it wasn’t your fault or blah, blah blah. They get to just share their experience or their story and however they perceive it is the right answer. So whether they feel that you know what I did do something and this could have been my fault. It’s it’s not up to you to tell them anything different. It’s up to you to hold space for them and it’s up to you to be a comfort for them in whatever capacity they need at that time.

Jordan D’Nelle 14:41
That is so beautiful in your right. I think so many of us want to come in and fix the situation. And I think that that’s a really, really good point. Now you brought up something earlier about stillbirth. I want to talk a little bit more about that. How is a stillbirth different than a miscarriage?

Krista Simser 15:00
So the information that I have is that after 20 weeks pregnancy, it is considered a stillbirth. So it’s just that there’s a week that they decide that if your baby is born before 19 weeks is considered a miscarriage. If it’s born after 20 weeks to 40 or till birth, it is considered a stillbirth. So what it is is just a baby that was born, not breathing so they had died at some point in the womb. And it’s the same as a miscarriage or miscarriages. When again before 19 weeks a baby has died in the womb, a stillbirth so it’s very similar. The same thing. It’s just language has changed at 20 weeks.

Jordan D’Nelle 15:43
That’s perfect. And how common are still births.

Krista Simser 15:46
I don’t actually have the exact statistics between the two now. Miscarriages in my experience with friends and with the research that I’ve sort of done, I haven’t done a ton of work just because my work more often ends in a live birth. But miscarriages are seem to be more common up to that 12 week window, which is why a lot of people wait, now stillbirth to use the right language after 20 weeks is there still they still happen because you can be 39 even 40 weeks and experience a child loss. Now, I don’t have the exact numbers to tell you how common it is. But it does happen.

Jordan D’Nelle 16:28
Yeah, it does. But miscarriages in that first trimester are definitely more common. I don’t have the exact statistics on stillbirth either. What else would you like to add about like miscarriages, still birth infant loss?

Unknown Speaker 16:42
I think that one of the things that I try to share with my community is that it doesn’t matter if the loss happened at six weeks or 39 weeks. I think when people like we’re saying about holding space and not giving the answer, one of the most common things that I hear in communities when people have losses, especially early is at least that happened early. Now try to tell that to the mother who lost that child at six weeks or 39 weeks, the timing doesn’t matter whether how long that it happened, quote unquote, early as opposed to later in pregnancy, the fact is, that child was still a loss. And that is still the space to grieve. And you see it a lot where someone has might be in their first preg the first year first month of pregnancy and they experienced a loss. And they’re grieving a lot. And then other people look at them like Oh, why are you so upset about this, like you should be over it by now. But you wouldn’t tell that to someone who had a live birth and their child died, you would never say why you still grieving and you should get over this a loss is still a loss regardless of what age of conception, or what age of development that child was that we tend to view verse differently than death. So any death before birth is definitely view different as a death after birth. And again, a loss is a loss. That’s all I can just have to keep saying that to that mother, it doesn’t she did not care that her child was only six weeks in the womb, it was still a loss of her child.

Jordan D’Nelle 18:15
That is so important in your right like I have had friends who lost a child, I don’t want to say seven days after he was born. And you’re right. It doesn’t matter where in the process a loss happens. It is a loss and every parent has the right to grieve that however they feel they need to grieve.

Krista Simser 18:37
And we need to have that space available for that as well. Which is why again talking the more we talk about miscarriage, stillbirth and death after birth, there’s a space for all three of them. And we The more we talked about it, the more people feel that they have a they’re able to share their voice in their grief. Yeah.

Jordan D’Nelle 18:58
Do you have any, like resources that you would like to share to help people dealing with one of

Krista Simser 19:05
The things that’s not really it’s not like an organization, but if you have access to a therapist, I would fully recommend that and the reason why is because sometimes talking to someone who is unbiased to you, as in, it’s not a friend, a family member, your partner, someone who literally is just there to listen to you speak can be a little bit more freeing, because what happens with friends and this is not just for miscarriage, it can be for anything. Your friend is there to possibly hold space for you to grieve but at the end you’re actually ended up comforting them because they can be triggered or sad for you and by seeing that it’s like oh now I made my friend sad because I talked about my grief and I can’t open up fully so if you can speak to someone if you’re experiencing grief or that something that you feel talk therapy is really beneficial for you having someone who’s impartial or who doesn’t know you who Literally is just there to listen to you, it might give you that freedom to fully express yourself without the expectation that you have to maybe hold back saying certain things because if you know that you are friend also had a miscarriage and you’re trying to share your experience with them, you can be afraid to say something because it might trigger them. So having that space where you just get to say what you want, unfiltered, could be possibly the best therapy and then I just said, therapists therapy, but that could be the best space for you, as opposed to going to a miscarriage support group where everyone there is experiencing the same thing. But you still could be maybe filtered because if someone has, if you experienced a loss at 12 weeks, and they experienced one at 27 weeks, you might feel that your grief isn’t on par with them, they get to grieve more because their baby was quote unquote, older. So it’s like, well, I don’t even feel like I have a space here because I was only seven weeks, and she was 29. So obviously her grief is more important than mine.

Jordan D’Nelle 21:04
That is so valuable to recommend therapy, I think that we don’t recommend that enough. And the support from a non biased person is really helpful. And you’re right. Like, when we talk to our friends about our situations, a lot of times we maybe hold back or we put up these like, Oh, well, I didn’t have it as bad as them. I have no room to grieve, you know, this is slightly irrelevant. But that’s something that like I’ve worked with my life coach on, as far as like I grew up in a perfect life. Like, it wasn’t perfect, but it’s wasn’t a bad life. And recognizing that, well, what I experienced is valid still. And I think that a lot of times, like when we’re dealing with loss, realizing that your experience is valid, no matter what.

Krista Simser 21:59
And not telling someone sort of, I want to kind of speak just on what you said. And the reason that I recognize that to be so powerful, because when I have live births with my clients, and then I talk to them after we have women’s circles together, when we share birth stories, it seems to be kind of the opposite is true. So a woman who has a really gentle kind birth doesn’t have a place at the table when someone who has a really traumatic birth and they’ve had rush cesareans, or they had like fourth or fourth degree tears, they get to share their birth story. But because you had a really kind, gentle one. And that’s not sort of what’s promoted as like birth, you don’t get to share your story. So it’s the same thing like I was mentioning and sometimes in support groups, it can be that if your grief isn’t as extreme as the others, you don’t get to share your place.

Jordan D’Nelle 22:50
Yes, I love that. Well, this has been a wonderful conversation, very educational about, you know, miscarriages, stillbirths kind of the difference all of that. If the listeners take one thing away from today’s episode, what would you want it to be?

Krista Simser 23:03
I want it to be that whether you’re experiencing a loss or whether you’re supporting someone who is experiencing a loss, how they feel is the only valid, or how you feel or how they feel is the only valid way, whether they’re excited because we didn’t really speak about this, but let’s just touch base on it quickly. Sometimes a woman experiences a miscarriage, and to her that’s a positive thing. It could be an unwanted pregnancy, and having an abortion was something that’s not on her plate. So the fact that she had a miscarriage could be a really something that was wanted. Now that doesn’t get talked about because it’s like miscarriage only seems to have the grief. So again, you can’t say that Oh, are you like Why aren’t you sad about this to her? It’s like well, I wanted this so however they feel how you have to acknowledge that that’s the most valid one, whether it’s super intense grief at one month after they found out they’re pregnant or no grief at all. And whether it the same thing goes whether it’s up to 39 weeks that can be a super extreme grief or none at all. And it’s not your place to tell them how they’re supposed to feel it’s up to you just acknowledge and validate their experience.

Jordan D’Nelle 24:17
I love that and that is something we did not talk about at all. And I think that I’m glad that you brought that up because yeah, some people don’t always feel that a miscarriage is unwanted.

Krista Simser 24:30
They could almost be like a relief.

Jordan D’Nelle 24:32
Yeah, absolutely. Well thank you so much, Krista for joining me. Where can the listeners find you at?

Krista Simser 24:38
Right now i’m most active on Instagram so you can find me at my name Krista Simser, that’s my handle. I also have a website that I will be revamping over the next few weeks when I decide to dedicate time to it, but it’s just my name Krista Simser.ca.

Jordan D’Nelle 24:53
Beautiful. I love it. And thanks again.

Krista Simser 24:56
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

Jordan D’Nelle 24:58
This episode is sponsored. Pure romance by Jordan Jones offering top bath and beauty products and relationship enhancement items. Check out the link in the bio to start shopping today. By shopping you are supporting this podcast.

Thank you for joining today and continuing to bring awareness to women’s health. If you love the show, please subscribe so you never miss another episode. And leave a review for others to see. If you want to see me on the daily you can check out my bio for links to all my pages. Be sure to share this episode with your girlfriends thanks again and see you next episode.

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