Navigating Pregnancy Loss with Compassion and Support: A Conversation with Angel Leung

The truth is that miscarriages are very common, but our healthcare system, unfortunately, sometimes we're stretched so thin that we can't hold women's hands through these losses. So in turn, women are made to feel that they should be okay and they shouldn't make a big deal out of it.

Angel Leung:RN and Founder of Baby Bean Consulting

CONTENT WARNING: This audio episode contains some sensitive content, such as discussions of addiction, the ongoing opioid crisis, suicide, grieving, and loss. As such, we recommend that you listen to it with caution.


In this episode of the Care to Listen podcast, Angel Leung, a registered nurse and founder of Baby Bean Consulting, shares her moving journey through personal loss to professional advocacy, highlighting the gaps in healthcare support for women facing pregnancy loss. Her story emphasizes the vital need for compassionate, individualized care and the critical role of healthcare workers’ well-being in delivering effective support.


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Sean Burke: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Care to Listen podcast. Today, we’re privileged to have Angel Leung, a registered nurse and founder of Baby Bean Consulting, for a profound discussion on healthcare and support. In this episode, Angel shares her background, lived experience, and insights into some of the challenges healthcare workers face as it relates to pregnancy loss.


Today’s episode is being broadcasted to you on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh Nations. Trigger warning. This episode includes discussions about sensitive topics, including abortion and pregnancy loss. Hello everybody and welcome to season two of the Care to Listen podcast.


I’m your host, Sean Burke, and we are so excited to kick off this season, um, with a special guest, Angel Leung, um, who is a registered nurse, care provider, and now founder of Baby Bean Consulting, uh, which is supporting women going through miscarriage, pregnancy after loss, and postpartum. So we are so excited and grateful to have you on the show today, Angel.


Angel Leung: Thank you, Sean. Thank you so much for having me today.


Sean Burke: Well, We love starting off this show just by giving an opportunity to all of our guests, um, to be able to introduce themselves, um, and share a little bit about yourself. So why don’t we start there and you can, uh, yeah, give us a little bit about who you are.


Angel Leung: Sure. That sounds great. Um, I’m a registered nurse by profession and I’ve been in nursing for, uh, Almost 15 years now and a lot of my experience comes from being in the neonatal intensive care unit at BC Women’s Hospital and also at Lionsgate Hospital, but I’ve also had the chance to be in this educator position for both the health care authorities and also at UBC School of Nursing.


So that’s kind of where my nursing experience and profession kind of stems from but it’s my personal lived experience and As a patient, that’s kind of guided me into my new venture now, um, as the [00:02:00] founder of BabyBeanConsulting.


Sean Burke: Fantastic. And I know so many of our listeners, um, today’s story is going to resonate.


Um, just the impact, obviously, that pregnancy loss, miscarriages has, um, on, on all families. Um, and now being in a place where going through your lived experience, then being able to support others, um, must, must be pretty meaningful and make you feel good.


Angel Leung: Yeah, absolutely. It does. It’s, um, it’s through my lived experience that, um, has now translated into this driving force and passion behind this book.


Baby Bean Consulting. So at Baby Bean Consulting, what we do is we bring nursing support to women who are going through miscarriages, are pregnant after a loss, or just navigating that really hard postpartum transition period. And um, as a nurse, I know the healthcare system quite intimately and quite well.


And I know that we have resources, but we also There’s gaps in our healthcare system, and it can be really hard for people to navigate those resources. And so what we do at Baby Bean Consulting is we come alongside women and their families, and we help fill that gap. We help them advocate for themselves, be informed, and be empowered to make decisions that are right for them as they go through these really hard seasons.


So, I think, looking back at my own experience, and, My, my experience as a nurse and now doing baby bean consulting, it’s, it’s very, very fulfilling. And it’s something that I’m really passionate about. And it’s, it’s rare, I think, for people to say they absolutely love what they do. And I, and I can say that I do love what I do.


And it is something that I’m really, really excited for every day when I wake up to think about the job that I’m doing.


Sean Burke: And I see the passion. I hear it in your voice every time. You know, we’ve. We’ve connected and prepared for this show. So let’s jump into, you know, some of the numbers or some of the impact right now when it, when it comes to, uh, pregnancy loss and, you know, [00:04:00] dealing with that postpartum, um, time in, in women’s lives.


Um, you know, being a father of two young women or two young girls, um, and hearing, you know, some of the stories from my friends, family members, um, Um, that have, you know, gone through that process of having to process the loss, um, of a child. And I’m just thinking from, from your perspective, maybe could you back us up a little bit and, and shed some light on to your, your own personal story and your own experience of, you know, what that was like.


Angel Leung: Yeah, of course. Um, right now, um, the statistics are one in four pregnancies. And in a miscarriage, and when you take a moment to think about that, and think about the words that it’s pregnancies, not one in four women, but one in four pregnancies, you realize just how common it really is. And then when you actually think about like, oh, a miscarriage, and then you kind of like, look around, either in your own life, or just around you, your friends, your family, your colleagues, your community, you start realizing that.


It’s actually so common, and it’s more than likely that you yourself or someone you know personally has had a miscarriage. And when you think about that in the big grand scheme of things, it’s like, wow, why are we not pouring more resources and paying more attention to this? Like, why aren’t there more support for women when this is something so common?


And I think And when I reflect back onto my own personal journey and also of those around me, I feel like our healthcare system is unfortunately, we’re stretched quite thin. And so when I went through my losses, um, I was always told that, you know, I’m so sorry for your loss, Angel, but miscarriages are common and you’re young and you’re healthy.


So come back when you’re [00:06:00] pregnant again. And that’s kind of like, The standard response women get when they go through a pregnancy loss and Yes, that might sound, you know, quite professional and quite like, you know, oh, the doctors or your healthcare professionals are saying what they need to say to get you through this point.


But when you think about it on a more of like a personal level, you realize that like, I Oh, wow. Like my pain, my grief and my experience seems to not really matter. It seems to just feel like it’s so common that I shouldn’t feel sadness. I shouldn’t grieve for the loss of my pregnancy. I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it and I should be okay and move on.


And so I feel like, um, the truth is that miscarriages are very common, but Our healthcare system, unfortunately, sometimes we’re stretched so thin that we can’t hold women’s hands through these losses. So in turn, women are made to feel that they should be okay and they shouldn’t make a big deal out of it.


And so I think that can then become this vicious cycle of not receiving the support and therefore feeling like you’re falling through the cracks.


Sean Burke: Yeah, it’s almost like that, you know, we don’t have the time or the space to Provide you that those supports or the words that we’re sharing. It’s a bit more scripted.


Um, instead of being tailored to the needs of that, that specific individual. And so with your, you know, experience again, what was that like having to, you know, try to process that, that loss and then, you know, go back to work.


Angel Leung: Um, I experienced recurrent pregnancy losses and That is, of itself, a whole other level of complexity and, and just level of grieving and sadness.


Um, my very first pregnancy ended in an [00:08:00] early loss. And, um, at that time I feel like, you know, as a nurse, I know all about miscarriage stats. I worked with families who have gone through miscarriages. So, I am fully aware of it. But, I think it isn’t until It actually happens to you that you really take a moment to realize that, oh wow, I am one in four.


Oh wow, this is happening to me. I just lost my baby. This pregnancy is no longer viable. I think it hits you really hard when it, when it happens to you. And, um, I think for me personally, in my experience, I had an early loss, but then I went on to have a term pregnancy. I had. A sweet little girl who is about to who who is five years old now.


And then, um, so I think it’s easy for health care professionals and for people in general to look at someone who’s had a loss, but then had Then move on to have a life birth to say, Oh, you know, you were just unlucky, um, you know, to kind of brush off that experience of loss. And then, but for my husband, I, we went on to have recurrent losses.


After having my daughter and it also, our losses included a second trimester loss. And, um, I remember distinctively every time we had a loss, we were always told. That, you know, it happens. I’m sorry it’s happening. We don’t typically test or send you for additional diagnostic investigations unless you’ve had three losses or you’ve had, you know, a second trimester loss or a stillbirth or other complications.


And I remember as a nurse, I felt like I understood what they’re trying to tell me, but I also understood I like I understood the limitations of our health care system. But as a patient, I remember wanting to scream at them and being like, well, why doesn’t why doesn’t my pregnancies [00:10:00] matter? Why don’t why doesn’t my losses matter to you?


Why do I have to have had three losses before you would take me seriously? Why do I have to be in this limbo stage of not knowing whether I should try again, whether I’m going to miscarry again? Or just all of that. Uncertainty and feeling like I’m all alone and I have to navigate through that myself.


Um, I remember feeling like that time and time again throughout our recurrent pregnancy losses and in conversations with my husband in hindsight, um, he recalls me fighting so hard to ask for additional support, additional resources, additional referrals or testings, and, you know, investigations of why were we having these miscarriages, what’s happening and what can we do to prevent it.


And, um, I think from his perspective of my spouse, but also as like a general public who was not involved in the health care system, his perspective was, Angel, like you had to fight so hard for yourself. I watched you advocate so hard for your own health care and for, for, you know, our future as a family, whether we were going to grow and he, Always told me it was like, if it was me, I wouldn’t know what to do.


And it is only because you’re a nurse and you have the knowledge and you know, the healthcare system that you can do this, you know how to navigate this system and advocate for yourself. But what about everyone else? And I think that’s really stuck with me as we, as we, journey through our fertility journey and now into baby being consulting.


I think that’s always been something that comes back to me, my own personal experience, but also like, just like the question of like, what about other people who have no one else to hold their hand and they don’t even know where to begin to navigate through this. So I think That’s kind of where my own experiences crosses over to what I do now.


Sean Burke: Yeah, it’s such an important, uh, service that you’re [00:12:00] providing. And, you know, I just want to pause as well, too, and say, thank you. Thank you for sharing your, your personal story. I know so many of our listeners in particular, um, you know, where an industry, um, that you work in is dominated by females. And so in particular, you know, these stats, hearing them.


You know, I’m one of those people who, who knows somebody, and I’m pretty sure that everybody, if it’s not themselves, it’s, there’s somebody that, that they know, and it’s such a big, um, thing that happens in society and having those supports, having those resources to turn to, um, and providing navigation services that, again, are important.


accessible, simple, and, you know, make that journey a little bit easier, um, is such an important, um, offering that you’re able to provide. Um, and in addition to that, I think, you know, something that our listeners, I hope that they will take as well too, is that, um, there’s also the potential for supports. So given the fact that you are a registered nurse, you continue to, um, to practice, there may be some financial support that, People looking for your services might be eligible for so just want to jump in there and you know Have you shed a little bit of light on on that as well?


Angel Leung: Yeah I think in terms of Support so obviously what I do now for baby bean consulting is consider private nursing care but the beauty of it is is that people The majority of healthcare professionals and the general public, I think, most of us have coverage to a certain extent in terms of extended health benefits or, you know, um, Other coverage, and the beauty of it is that because we provide registered nursing care at BabyBean Consulting, we are able to run that through your extended health benefits so that you do [00:14:00] have coverage, and um, it’s more than likely that you will be covered.


So I think a lot of times people don’t So, they don’t really think about it. They don’t really think about like, oh, I could get a registered nurse who really knows how to advocate for me, who can really care for me and help me and coordinate the services that I really need in this time where I don’t have the physical or mental capacity to do it.


And I am going through an acute situation, whether it is. You know, going through a miscarriage or, you know, having had a stillbirth or you’re navigating complicated pregnancies after a loss or, you know, you’re going through a really traumatic postpartum transition. All of that. If I think People don’t realize that, you know, support are out there and and we think it’s easy to think about like, oh coverage Like, you know the typical like, you know from an rmt or from a from a chiropractor from a physio But registered nurses are also part of many people’s coverage And I think that that is a resource that people can tap into or look into


Sean Burke: and such a great opportunity to connect with somebody who Has had that lived experience who is a registered nurse so you know on the one side you were the patient and then now You know you’re the health practitioner.


Angel Leung: Yeah, exactly, and I think I think there’s there’s this this full circle For me at baby bean consulting is is to provide that is to be that person who you know I’ve been there I’ve I’ve been there I’ve experienced this so I can hold your hand and I can walk you through it. And, and I think like for me, when I reflect back on my own journey, I remember desperately looking around, seeing like, is there someone else who I, who can hold my hand as I go through this?


Is there someone out there who, who. is also like a health care professional who can tell me what to do and I couldn’t find anybody and I think that was kind of like the driving force and the push to, to, to do this because it is such a need. We have such health care gaps and what we’re [00:16:00] lacking is not that.


Specifically resources. We have resources. They just are often siloed off and have limited accessibility to people. And so what we need is someone like myself, who is a registered nurse who can be your health care advocate and coordinate the services. And I think that makes a huge difference when you’re going through a loss


Sean Burke: and having that, um, fine line between, you know, taking care of yourself and providing care to your, your patients in particular, if somebody was experiencing or going through this and not taking time off work, you know, what sort of tips or what kind of advice might you offer somebody who, who’s going through that?


Angel Leung: That’s a great question. And, um, I think maybe if I can like share a little bit about like nurses in general, cause that’s my background. But I think, I think as nurses. It’s important for, for us to maybe like talk a little bit about the realities of who we are and what we do. And, and the reason for that is because, um, you know, as nurses, we’ve gone through years of training to become a nurse.


It’s, we’ve been trained to, Do our jobs really well and that is to care for our patients and essentially to keep them alive. And so So we do whatever it takes We have a very specific skill set and we do whatever it takes to show up as a nurse For our patients and I think that spans into other areas areas of health care, all health care professionals.


We are all trained to do our jobs well, and we’re all trained to show up. We’re essential workers. We don’t take a break. And so with that mentality, I think nurses and I’m speaking from, I guess, a nurse’s perspective is that we show up because our patients need us. And in term Ourself, our own physical and mental well being is often pushed aside or left on the back burner because we are needed.


So we, we [00:18:00] have to be there. And I reflect back on my own nursing training. And I think, to be honest, I don’t think I can ever recall a specific course or a lecture or clinical placement where the focus was on. Myself on self care on how to take care of myself so that I can be the best nurse for my patients.


Like I and I think I’m pretty sure many of my nursing colleagues would agree that, like, in school, in training, in clinical placements and in the real workforce, that was never an emphasis. That is never a priority. Things may have shifted a little bit now. I think throughout the pandemic, there’s a lot more focus on sustainability and how do we retain, retain our workforce and how to keep people going.


But the truth is that like our patients will always come first. And so I that is that that’s how the foundation of Nursing and health care has been set up. So then in turn, like your question of what are some tips and advice for for us to take care of ourselves, and I think In previous episodes, there was another guest speaker who had, um, alluded to you can’t take care of anybody unless you take care of yourself.


And there’s that, you know, good old saying, um, that we always hear on flights about cabin crews saying, you know, you have to put on your face mask first before you help someone else. And I think that rings so true. And it’s important. It’s only recently that it’s been brought to light that we’re putting more focus on that.


And so I, I think that that is the advice is that how are you going to keep your patient alive if you are barely alive? And I, and I think that that just rings really true. And I think people in general need to like take a moment to just let that sink in and recheck their focus of my work matters. My patients matter, but I also matter too.


Sean Burke: That was so well [00:20:00] said, um, and I think what’s interesting about The way that you’ve navigated your career, your personal experience, something that we, you know, we jumped over having gone from your own personal experience and then into baby being consulting. There was this period of time where, you know, you were that clinical instructor at the school of nursing at UBC.


And just like what you mentioned there, there was this gap when it came to acknowledging or putting more emphasis around that self care. priority and making sure that, you know, you’re well before you can support your patients and that fine balance in line between the two. So having seen that, having, you know, been a strong advocate for the profession to support and prioritize this, what else do we need to do when it comes to supporting caregivers, when it comes to prioritizing



Angel Leung: I think, I think. Awareness is key. And I think that it’s so easy for caregivers, healthcare professionals to just hear, hear all these things about like self care, take care of yourself, take a break, don’t burn out. But the realities are that, you know, sometimes you maybe need to implement something into your daily.


schedule, your routine into the protocol, into something bigger, more systemic. But I think just talking about it might not be enough. Bring awareness to it. It’s just such a small little piece. And like, I think we’re all aware and we can all agree that change is hard and change will often be met with resistance.


And I think that there isn’t a clear cut, like, And it one answer that fits all that can change health care overnight, but I think realities of like people accepting that like [00:22:00] I can’t do it all and that I need to take care of myself and then having people within their team, their department, their colleagues who are also supportive of that, like the pure support, the manager support, the leadership support.


I think all of that can contribute to a more Bigger scale change of people being able to take care of themselves. Then in turn, we have a more robust and healthy health care professional pool to then take care of of our general public.


Sean Burke: It seems like such a simple thing. Um, and immediately, as soon as you talked about You know, the expectations almost that are false expectations that are created when it comes to healthcare workers and being these superheroes.


Um, you know, I think back to the pandemic when there was the six or seven o’clock, um, you know, support and there was the label that was created healthcare heroes. And absolutely when it comes to the work and the impact, um, healthcare workers are heroes. But then when it comes to taking care of. Their own selves, um, not putting that expectation around being a superhero, taking care of everything, being able to support, you know, your families, um, and also being mindful of your own mental health.


It seems like that’s an area where. Um, a lot of the work that you do is helping people to discover that self awareness, you know, what that individual needs and then being able to find a path forward to best navigate that. So I’d like to just kind of jump into that a little bit when it comes to those communities that you’re creating.


And I know that you’ve been a strong advocate, um, to empower women to, to build that sense of community and to support. Women who are facing that pre the pregnancy loss. Mm-Hmm. . So could you maybe talk a little bit about what you’re doing there and, um, you know, what you’re seeing?


Angel Leung: Mm-Hmm. . Um, in terms of communities, I think, um, baby being consulting [00:24:00] in terms of the work that we do specifically to supporting women through loss, um, and pregnancies after loss.


I think we are. We’re tapping into many, many different communities, many, many different pools of people and hoping to bring awareness to, to everyone. And it’s a slow process. And I think like I mentioned earlier, change can often be met with resistance. And so it hasn’t always been easy, but in terms of just little things like bringing awareness to people.


Of of the statistics of miscarriage of loss of how common it is and just opening up the door for safe conversation for people to feel like it’s okay to talk about my loss because in my experience, um, I reflect back on on my own nursing career and the amount of times I’ve had a nursing colleague in the bedside, um, while working bedside, like Share about like, Oh, yeah, um, I was off sick yesterday because, you know, I actually had a miscarriage or, you know, like women coming into work while they’re still actively miscarrying because they’re needed at work or because they were scared to ask for time off or they didn’t have like their, their request was being denied, like these little things.


I think it’s just bring awareness to like, we can take time to take care of ourselves. And so like, bring awareness to, you know, HR and letting them know that like, Hey, miscarriages are common. Women will experience it and they will need time off. So how can we better support them? What are tangible resources we can give them and support them through this rather than just telling them, I’m so sorry, you know, take some unpaid leave and, you know, good luck.


Um, I think Stuff like that. And [00:26:00] also just bring the awareness to like different levels of community in terms of like, we’ve had the we’ve had the privilege of partnering with different clinics and different entities within British Columbia to bring more awareness of baby being consulting about pregnancy loss and the support that is available out there.


So community involvement is huge because that’s how we reach people. That’s how we make sure that We are there for the women who may be falling through the cracks.


Sean Burke: And for somebody who might be listening to the story, um, experiencing or going through some of the challenges that we’re talking about, your voice matters.


Um, speaking up, talking about it, having conversations, while maybe so difficult. I know that, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s help, it’s helpful. Um, it may be helpful. It also helps to create these conversations where it becomes more normal, um, where we reduce those stigma. And from a pure mental health perspective, um, it can be, you know, the first step in terms of getting that additional support, um, and putting your hand up and, and saying that you need that pause.


How do you work with, um, those health practitioners or health practitioners who are going through that, uh, becoming the patient? How, how do you encourage them to You know, have those open conversations when maybe they might be thinking, Oh, you know, this is, this is just me. Uh, I need to suck it up and get through it because that’s what I’m so used to doing.


Um, and what my job demands of me. How do you sort of help encourage and have those conversations of taking that next step?


Angel Leung: Mm hmm. I think sometimes these conversations are hard. And they’re hard because, you know, we put that expectation on ourselves that we need to be okay. That, you know, it’s It’s, it’s unfortunate.


It’s a tragedy. I lost my [00:28:00] baby. I, you know, these things are happening to me. And so I’m going to push through or sometimes work becomes an escape. We go to work because we feel better about ourselves because we can help other people. But I think for, um, Me at BabyBean Consulting, it’s really, really important and it’s one of our main focuses.


It’s to actually connect with our patients, with our clients, and to take the time to hear their story. To take the time and to understand their end goal, because not everyone’s end goal is to get pregnant again. Not everyone’s end goal is to have a baby. Maybe someone has gone through multiple losses and they’re ready.


To close that chapter and move on and they just need they need to be able to vocalize. I think they need that safe space to talk about it. And so we focus on getting to know our patients and our clients because oftentimes they were never awarded that time and that space by their doctor or their specialist because everyone else is too busy or doesn’t have the time.


And so they don’t have the time to do that. We want to know your story. We want to hear your voice and your thoughts and your end goals. And then we want to help map out the resources that you’re already connected to, the health care team and the providers that are already supporting you. And we want to identify the gaps that are there so that we can fill it.


We can get you connected to mental health. We can get you connected to local resources. We can get you connected to any services that you need in this journey so that you don’t feel alone. And so I think It all starts with having that open, genuine conversation of how are you and where are you at in this journey?


Like what’s going on? How can we help? And I think oftentimes it’s, it’s surprising to hear that many women will respond saying that no one’s ever actually asked me that. No one has actually taken the time to ask me, how am I? 


And. What do I [00:30:00] want right now? Like, what is my end goal? People often, it’s easy, like, and I admit it as a nurse myself, it’s easy to look at someone and look at them medically and say, Oh, based on your chart, based on your clinical assessment, this is what you need.


But we often forget that they have a story. They have desires and, and. It’s more than just what we see in their charts in their lab results and in their doctor’s notes or whatever it is And so I think that is something that that really makes a difference. It’s is to actually have that conversation and then going from there


Sean Burke: Again, I think from some of the learnings on previous podcasts that we’ve hosted.


There’s this this competing challenge between Operational efficiency and getting through what you need to get through, but creating those spaces to have those pauses where you can actually get to know the patient where you can spend the time to ask those questions to listen to provide, you know, those safe places and, uh, you know, In a busy day where you’re running, you’re, you know, covering from a short staff, uh, shift and whatnot, it just seems like that becomes so difficult to do.


Um, so to be able to take that step back and then prioritize yourself, um, to give you that opportunity by creating some of these sessions, you know, with someone like yourself or someone else, um, it’s really just about prioritizing your well being. Um, and so it’s such a great such a great service. I’m so happy to hear about it.


I’d like to know what’s, what’s next for baby bean consulting. So if you, if we think about the next five years and look out, what, what do you hope, uh, baby bean consulting becomes?


Angel Leung: Oh my goodness. What a, what a good question to ask. I think my heart is for all women to be able to receive the support and the care that they need.


While they’re navigating through a loss. And I think, um, [00:32:00] right now we’re focused on British Columbia. We’re focused on across this province of how can we reach people across our province, but you know, miscarriages don’t discriminate. They don’t just stop at the borders of our province. They don’t stop at the borders of our country.


Miscarriage happens to anyone, anywhere. And I think if you ask me, like my big goal, Of um, what BabyBean Consulting can achieve, and what we can do, and how we can reach people. I’d love for it to I love for it to go across 

North America. I love for women in general who are in need, who are struggling because they’ve lost their baby and they feel all alone because no one else is there to hold their hand and tell them what to do and that they will be okay, to feel okay, and to have that support.


And so, yeah, big grand plans are that, you know, we will grow in a sense that, you know, we will be able to support each other. All women who need the support that they need.


Sean Burke: One conversation at a time. It’s something, you know, that I’ve been thinking about. And just by hearing, you know, how you go through that process, tailoring a customized solution and, you know, journey map for somebody that they can follow that’s unique to their needs.


Um, you know, it doesn’t happen by just putting out a course, um, and tailoring it to the, that individual is so key to, to seeing some of those impact and that results. So. You know, I, when we kicked off this, this show, you know, you started talking a little bit about some of the stats you talked about, you know, how just right now it doesn’t discriminate pregnancy loss.


And from that perspective, do you have any stories or any real world experiences where you’ve maybe gone out anywhere, um, hosted different conferences and what’s that reaction being like when you’ve shared, you know, your personal [00:34:00] experience, but also to how you’re here to help. Others.



Angel Leung: hmm. Yeah.


Actually, just earlier this week, um, I had the privilege of going up to Squamish and, um, I was invited to go and just speak to a group of parents and it was just like a community parenthood meetup type of thing, but, um, I was invited to speak specifically on pregnancy loss, pregnancy and postpartum and how, you know, that’s, that is, and, um, I shared a bit about.


My own journey. And I also shared about the stats of miscarriage and, um, typically for an event like this, you know, maybe 50 to 75 percent of the participants would share that they themselves have also experienced a loss, but, um, earlier this week, um, a hundred percent of the participants that were there, um, experienced a loss themselves.


That is a hundred percent. Every single family that showed up that day have had a personal experience with loss. And that is mind blowing to think about. And, and as we chatted and when I was, we opened up the space to be safe for people to share their stories and like, you know, Talk to each other about it.


It was like, wow, like we’ve all had similar experiences and like some of us have had really, really great support and it’s amazing. And then some of us have fallen through the cracks. And so, but, but at the end of the day, the truth is that we’ve all had a loss and we all needed support. And the only difference was that some people had it.


Really good support. And some people didn’t have support. And, and I think that’s, that’s the conversation piece of, it shouldn’t be that way. Every woman should be able to say, you know, I’ve unfortunately had a loss, but I had great [00:36:00] support. That should be the story rather than someone saying, I’ve had a loss and another loss and another loss.


And I never felt supported. And I felt like I fell through the cracks and no one cared. And so I thought that was. A really eye opening experience for me in terms of just seeing it in real life that, you know, these families right in front of me, like, this community, um, That, you know, it’s, it’s real, and it’s their story.


Sean Burke: It certainly is, and hearing, you know, the education that you’ve been able to share with me, um, one of the things that really stood out was this need to, to be clear in the language that we’re using. Um, and something that, you know, You know, I, I, I remember asking you, like, is there a proper way to talk about pregnancy loss?


Um, you know, or, you know, what, what should we be saying when it comes to language? So could you share maybe a little around what that looks like and, you know, best practices when it comes to, you know, words of talking and dealing with, uh, miscarriages and pregnancy loss?


Angel Leung: Mm hmm. Um, I think I, In terms of that, yeah, the language is very important and it makes a huge difference.


And I think I can speak of it from my own perspective as like a second generation. Immigrant to Canada. Um, I think clinically, oftentimes when a woman goes through a miscarriage in their chart, in their medical chart, doctors will use the term, you know, a spontaneous abortion, and that’s like the medical clinical term.


It’s, it’s nothing to pin a woman on their choices or on what You know, their lifestyle or anything, but it’s just clinically that’s the word that we use, that it’s a spontaneous abortion, but for someone like myself, without my medical background, when I look at that, [00:38:00] when I look at my own chart and I look at the word abortion, I automatically flinch because in my mind, I feel like That wasn’t my choice.


I didn’t choose to abort my child. It was a very much so wanted pregnancy and wanted child. So it’s, it can be very jarring when someone has to reconcile their personal experience with their medical records, with the clinical jargons and the words that’s being used. And sometimes I’ve, I’ve come across Clients who have shared and, and these are clients who are, you know, well past the childbearing years and, and they’re, they’re coming to me just sharing that, you know, Hey, I had a loss 20 years ago, 30 years ago.


And my doctors told me I had a abortion, but you know, maybe the word spontaneous wasn’t, you know, specified. And so they’ve carried on that weight for all these years, all these decades of feeling like. It was taboo. It was, it was a no, no, I had an abortion. And then, and so in turn, they didn’t share that with anybody around them.


They didn’t tell their families. They didn’t tell their friends because they didn’t want to say the word. I had a spontaneous abortion. I had an abortion. And so, um, I think. When it comes down to it all, language matters. As healthcare professionals, I think we, we can have the compassion and, and the kindness to explain to people and say, you know, medically, you are experiencing a spontaneous abortion, not an elective abortion, a spontaneous one.


And in reality, that’s a miscarriage. And this is, you know, what you can expect, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. But at the same time, I think like, it is important to bring that to light because oftentimes it’s so As healthcare professionals, we’re just so caught up in our world of taking care of people, making sure they’re alive, and then moving on to our next patient, because there is so many of them that, [00:40:00] you know, we forget that words matter, language matters, and how we interact.


How we deliver these news can be so, it can make such an impact for someone else’s life and potentially their whole life. It’s something, it’s a weight that they might have to carry because they heard the word abortion and now they feel like I can never share this with anyone around me because it’s.


Maybe culturally not appropriate. Maybe it’s too shameful. Maybe it’s, it’s just too much to talk about. And so yes, language matters. And I think that just being, you know, bring awareness to that is a huge first



Sean Burke: I’m so grateful that we’re able to touch on that because. You know, when you hear that word, and I think it’s the word that gets so charged, the word abortion, right, whether or not you have, you know, the precursor to the word, um, or not, I think it just immediately, it triggers something in a lot of people.


So being mindful, you know, one, if you are that healthcare provider, and you’re working with a patient, but also to recognizing that, you know, there may be some. Trauma related to that individual and trying to be mindful, you know, in that communication creating those safe places. And again, like you said, um, being careful and intentional in the language that we use.


Angel Leung: Absolutely. And I think I love how you brought that up, Sean, that like, you know, everything we do in this day and age is, Trauma informed care. Everything that we do has to shed light on the fact that like we have to be mindful of what we say, how we do things, and we have to bring in trauma informed care.


And with that like Maybe being consulting, we can’t do what we do alone. Like at the end of the day, like our healthcare system, we have to work together. I work alongside all of my clients and their medical team. I’m not a solo practitioner that can [00:42:00] fix everybody’s problem. But at the same time, it’s like, it’s being able to speak the same language, being able to be on the same page and being able to make sure that I’m not Our client, our patient’s best interest always comes first.


And I think that that is something that is, you know, a work in progress at times, but it’s, it’s something that I think the more we talk about it, the easier it becomes that the more People are able to recognize that and be like, Oh, we’re not fighting against each other. It’s not about, Oh, you know, my doctor’s better or my nurse is better or my specialist is better or, you know, everyone failed me and no one’s taking care of me.


It’s about, how can we collectively just be better at caring and prioritizing our patient and their wishes and just being compassionate about what they’re going through.


Sean Burke: Kindness matters. Yes. Well, with that, you know, I couldn’t think of a better place to, to end our conversation today, um, to reemphasize the importance of somebody to prioritize their wellbeing, to, you know, to show up for their patients, you know, it’s important for them to be their best selves.


And, you know, no matter what you’re going through, um, with respect to pregnancy loss. Um, postpartum, there’s people like you with great services that are available, um, and we hope that all listeners on, on the call today, you know, are able to access some of those supports. We’ll make sure to leave some of those links in the show notes below.


Um, but Angel, it’s been a pleasure to have you on this call today. Um, and we’re just so grateful that you could be here.


Angel Leung: Thank you, Sean. It was such a pleasure to come here.


Sean Burke: Thanks for listening to this episode. Be sure to visit the links in the show notes for resources and supports from the Care for Caregivers program.

If you’re interested in sharing your story on the Care to Listen podcast, please reach out to us at careforcaregivers. ca forward slash podcast. [00:44:00] And don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast platform to be notified when new episodes are released. Thanks again for joining us and see you next month.