Trigger warning: this post mentions baby loss and miscarriage. You may find it distressing if you have experience of either of these subjects.
Last week, I read a number of articles in the Scottish Press. These articles were calling for discussions about miscarriage to form part of a school’s sexual education curriculum. My initial reaction was that this was wrong. Because school children should not be taught about something so cruel and heartbreaking. However, after having discussions with a number of people I have changed my mind. So this is why I believe that miscarriage should form part of the national curriculum for Personal, Social and Health Education Classes.
Should Miscarriage Form Part Of School Sex Education Classes?
When I was 6 weeks pregnant with our first baby I attended an early bird midwife clinic. In it we discussed symptoms of the first trimester and how we should expect the pregnancy develop. But the only mention of miscarriage was when the midwife told us that:
“Miscarriages happen. And if you are going to miscarry there is nothing that you can do about it.”
There was no education about symptoms to look out for or what to expect if you miscarry. There was no mention of the physical, mental and emotional pain of miscarriage.
As a result, when I started to get abdominal pains with our first baby I had no idea what was going on. And all I was told was that I couldn’t be miscarrying because I was not bleeding heavily. (You can read more about this in my posts about the symptoms and diagnosis of my missed miscarriage and the medical management of that miscarriage.)
I also had never heard of a missed miscarriage. I didn’t even know that it was possible for the baby to die in the womb and for your body to hold on to it. So I was shocked and heartbroken when this happened to me. When this was how we lost our first baby.
More Education Is Needed
There is no doubt in my mind, that there needs to be more education about miscarriage and baby loss. This needs to come from midwives early on in the first trimester. But it also needs to come sooner than this. I believe that miscarriage and baby loss need to become part of sexual education in schools.
Not when sexual education is first discussed but further up the school when children have Personal, Social and Health Education Classes. These classes should discuss what it means to have sexual relations and the fact that the outcome of sex can be a baby. I believe that they should discuss many, many things surrounding sexuality and creating families. They should raise gender issues, different types of families and the process of starting a family. And infertility, baby loss and miscarriage should be a part of this.
However, it should be done in a sensitive manner because it is a sensitive subject. It is not about fear mongering but it is about educating. It is informing pupils of the statistics of baby loss and miscarriage. Of the symptoms to look out for and of some of the physical, emotional and mental affects of miscarriage.
More education means that less girls have to be scared and have to go through miscarriage alone. They don’t have to experience something so heartbreaking without any education of what they are going through. Surely it makes sense that miscarriage should form part of sexual education classes.
What do you think? Do you believe that miscarriage, infertility and baby loss should be part of the curriculum for Personal, Social and Health Education Classes?