Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

North-east bereavement midwife on privilege of role

Women and their families can receive support following loss on Rubislaw ward.
Women and their families can receive support following loss on Rubislaw ward.

It is often said that midwifery is not a job, but a calling.

To bring new life into the world, to hear the first cry and witness the bond unfurling is a privilege which only midwives can truly understand.

But as thrilling as it is for every mother who emerges from hospital with her arms and heart full, there are families who must leave with an empty car seat.

A couple holding hands.
Myra can provide families with support.

There will be the mother who never quite made it to the 12-week scan, or for whom pregnancy took a devastating turn after months of excited expectation.

One in four women will experience a miscarriage, and more than 100 miscarriages occur every month across Grampian alone.

Who do you turn to when the unthinkable happens, be that the heart-breaking decision of termination due to abnormality, or the tragedy of a still birth?

Myra Kinnaird is there should you need her, with her kind face and years of experience.

Myra has worked in pregnancy loss for 20 years.

There is nothing you cannot voice to Myra, no circumstance too complex, in order for her to make sure you receive the best possible care after loss.

Myra, who is based in the Rubislaw ward at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, has been working in pregnancy loss for 20 years, having qualified as a midwife in 1986.

Although she may not witness the day-to-day joy on the maternity ward, Myra sees hope bloom through supporting parents who try to conceive or fall pregnant again after loss.

Your Life recently explored why miscarriage remains taboo within society, and several women told their stories alongside the work of MISS – a miscarriage support charity which helps hundreds of people across the north-east every year.

Memory boxes can help parents come to terms with loss.

Here, Myra explains the changes which have occurred in a hospital setting, and what still needs to be done.

Support on offer

“I feel very passionate about giving bereavement care, when it used to be way down the list on maternity care,” says Myra.

It’s not really something people speak about or acknowledge, and it is only now that we are learning that great bereavement care can have so many implications

“The National Bereavement Care Pathway came to Scotland in 2018, and NHS Grampian was a pilot area.

“Everyone in Scotland will receive the same care wherever they are, it’s not a postcode lottery.”

Aberdeen offers a dedicated area for pregnancy loss at Rubislaw, meaning bereaved parents are not taken to the maternity ward following a loss.

Myra works with a team of midwives, based in both Aberdeen and Dr Gray’s in Elgin.

Myra is based at Rubislaw ward, where memory boxes are handed out to those who want them.

“It’s called the bereavement team, they give clinical care and signpost,” says Myra.

“They provide a follow up after a hospital setting, and after that if staff feel someone is really struggling, they are signposted to myself.

“I work very closely with MISS, and the support they offer can be incredibly helpful.

But sometimes people might want to ask more about their experience in hospital, and I know what an impact it can have to answer those questions about things they are really worried about

“I can support them and help them move on, and that’s the rewarding part for me.

“Students often say they really enjoyed their placement with me. Maybe enjoy isn’t the right word, but it’s to feel passionate about giving that care.”

Questions answered

“Why should people who have experienced a loss get different care from someone who has had a baby?

“Well, it is a different kind of care, absolutely, but it’s still a care they need to have.

“There’s much more input from staff through sitting and listening, there’s no checklist.”

Although we have come a long way in terms of speaking about baby loss, Myra believes there are still further changes to be made.

“We’re not there as a society,” she says.

“We’ve only just started speaking about later losses, never mind miscarriage.

People don’t speak about death enough in any manner. I think it’s that Scottishness in some ways, we are a bit guarded about speaking openly about things

“Sometimes when people ask ‘how are you’, they don’t expect a barrage back. They just want you to say you’re fine. You need someone to listen.

“Most people go through that grieving process, and life still goes on around you.

Memory boxes are offered to parents who are faced with loss, in partnership with MISS.

Rewarding role

“It’s how you get answers, that’s the key part. I love that people have questions, sometimes very simple questions.

“But the answer has a huge input on how they can process that grief.”

Bereavement care covers the “whole gambit”, from early pregnancy loss to termination for abnormality, mid-trimester losses, early neonatal deaths and still births.

Rubislaw offers eight rooms: five for early pregnancy losses, alongside cooling cots where parents can stay with their baby for as long as they wish.

“It has been a challenge, the realisation that women need this care in a dedicated setting,” says Myra.

“But it is a real privilege to be looking after women and their families in the first place.”