Young people – developing a place for you

young person with persona

When we started this project there wasn’t much support out there for young people who experienced miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Your voices and experiences were missing and your needs were not being met. We’ve been working to change that.

We’ve created a leaflet, an infographic and a new page on talking about miscarriage. We’ve created a new section of personal reflections for young people and linked everything together on our new youth support page.

Here’s how we did it.

Stage 1 – the workshops

First we wanted to understand what you know and what you’d like to know. We wanted to hear about the support that works best for you and how you like to get that support.

A workshop in London

collage materials

We kicked off our research with a workshop at Brook’s headquarters in London.

We used collage to create characters who had experienced miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (or knew someone who had). We discussed how they and their family and friends might be feeling, what information and support they might want and whether they might face any difficulties accessing this support.

The next step was to get inside the characters’ heads to explore the Miscarriage Association and Brook websites. Why would they use it? Why wouldn’t they use it? How easy was it to find the info they might need?

A workshop online

It was fantastic to meet and work with some really interesting young Londoners but we also wanted to talk to people from all over the UK.

To do this we created an online workshop space. Signing in meant people could discuss and share views safely and privately from wherever they lived.

workshop homepage

Our workshop space

We were really pleased that so many people signed up – thanks to Brook, CALM, YouthNet and The Student Room for helping us advertise.

The workshop took place over three days in June. New activities were added each day and people completed them whenever they had a spare 30 minutes.

One of the workshop personas

This time we used Lego people as a basis for our characters. The first activity was to choose three of the characters, tell their stories and answer some questions about their support.

We built a fantastic range of situations for the characters.

One story focused on the impact of cultural and religious differences on managing the impact of an ectopic pregnancy, another on an experience of sexual abuse and miscarriage.

Some characters were at school, some at university, work or college. Some were in relationships; some were single.

Some had planned the pregnancy; others had not. Some had family and friends around them; others went through their experience alone.

All the answers explored the support that the character might need and the difficulties they might face.

People were also given the opportunity to tell their own story – and some people bravely chose to do so. Sharing and reading personal stories helped everyone feel comfortable within the group – everyone knew they were among others who understood.

“I’ve honestly literally never spoken about my experience with anyone since I left sixth form, this is the first (and possibly last) time – but I’m happy that I’m using it to hopefully help others”

We made a Wordle of all the stories and comments from the first day to help us see which ideas and words we used most.

Words people used

Wordle helps you to see the words people use most

 

On Day 2 & 3 of the workshop, we looked at the Miscarriage Association’s website, went exploring online for examples of support we liked and thought about what our characters would type into Google – and what they might find when they did.

To finish the workshop, everyone gave us the top five things they thought we needed to think about. Ideas included online chat, more support for young fathers and friends and lots more personal experiences.

“I loved how my ideas were listened to even though I felt they were silly sometimes. I also felt very comfortable with sharing my thoughts and ideas. I enjoyed it a lot and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

What’s next?

We came away from this stage with 50 pages of experiences, thoughts and comments from people aged 16 – 21, many of whom have experienced miscarriage themselves or know someone who has. We’ve found some volunteers who want to stay involved, give us feedback on our plans and help us with the new resources.

“Thanks for the opportunity to get involved with this and thank you for making me feel comfortable enough to. I really enjoyed the experience.”

 

Stage 2 – the resources

You told us that our leaflets were useful but a bit too ‘wordy’ and needed more pictures. Girl with schoolbooksWe’ve just published a leaflet that brings together all the most important information and with great illustrations too, from cartoonist Kate Evans.

You told us that there was not enough information for people who were single or who had a miscarriage after an unplanned pregnancy. We have included lots of information about this in the new leaflet and changed the text on our website too.

You told us you found it hard to talk to family, friends and partners about miscarriage. We have written a new ‘Talking about miscarriage’ article to help.

You told us you felt nervous calling the helpline. We’ve designed an infographic to answer your questions about calling and to help you feel more comfortable.

You told us that the number one thing you would like to see is more short films showing stories from other young people who had experienced miscarriage.

“I particularly found the personal stories the biggest emotional support”

We’ve created a number of short films showing young women talking about their experience of miscarriage. We’ve also published a number of personal stories from young women in our personal reflections section.