My personal experience tells me that we need an industry-wide miscarriage policy

Recently, creative agencies Lucky Generals and Creature announced miscarriage policies, the essence being to remind staff that they can take time off work for their loss (Lucky Generals gives two weeks off for the mother or one week as the partner), and that it needn't be something that they have to keep private.

An industry-wide miscarriage policy should be put in place, argues Nik Govier
An industry-wide miscarriage policy should be put in place, argues Nik Govier

This stirred a couple of powerful reactions in me: the first being deep disappointment that I’d never thought of doing this and the second that it was about time someone did.

I'm an over-sharer. It's part of who I am. But it's for a good reason.

I believe the downside of today's Insta-perfect world is that people assume stuff comes easy, when that's rarely the case.

So here's my overshare: I've had six miscarriages. Six. That's a big old number when you're taking about something so precious.

But the good news is I've had eight pregnancies, so the quick maths tells you that twice it ended in joy, and I couldn't be happier with my lot.

But it was damn tough – and even though this happened while I was at the helm of my own business, there was still confusion for me about how much time I should give myself to grieve and reset.

The first one was very public – as it happened while I was in the office and I was just too distressed to hide it.

Was it something I should be embarrassed about? Of course not! But such a public outpouring of panic and fear definitely didn't sit well with me.

For the first one I gifted myself a week off. Time to grieve, to question, to inevitably – and ludicrously – blame myself.

To buy something – a small toy to sit on a shelf and to forever represent that baby.

I was the boss, and it was in my power to do whatever I needed. What about those who weren’t in charge – those that maybe suffered in silence?

Nik Govier, chief executive and founder of Blurred

But I remember distinctly there was the time I travelled by train to Manchester to meet Lady Gaga for a high-profile launch, only to be hit by a mammoth migraine that left me vomiting in my seat.

I stayed on the train and came right back home.

Was I expecting too much of myself just three days after my second miscarriage?

Undoubtedly yes, but at the time I just didn't know what was right or wrong.

After a while, as the toys on the shelf grew in numbers, my time off dwindled to maybe just a half a day – such was the natural expectation. Deeply sad.

But here's the really sad thing. I was the boss, and it was in my power to do whatever I needed. What about those who weren't in charge – those who maybe suffered in silence?

That's why I have nothing but admiration for Lucky Generals and Creature tackling this head-on.

As an industry we focus heavily on maternity/paternity leave and planning for the best.

But when one in four pregnancies ends in heartbreak, we should equally help our colleagues plan for the worst.

And I'm deeply ashamed that this never crossed my mind until now.

Nik Govier is chief executive and founder of Blurred

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