Dr. Amanda Selmser is a holistic medicine practitioner in Cochrane who has witnessed in her practice and through her own personal experience the devastating effects caused by a loss through miscarriage.
It was after New Zealand’s parliament moved to provide paid leave for parents suffering the loss of a miscarriage or stillbirth, Selmser felt the need to bring to light the plight of those grieving families in Canada. Selmser initiated petition e-3369 to recognize a paid leave from work for birthing peoples experiencing a miscarriage. She is lending her voice to find support, appropriate language, rights, and education to a subject that is often avoided by society. Selmser says, “We are bringing attention to miscarriage itself and having compassion for the people that are experiencing that. “It is not a sickness it is a sadness it is a bereavement for any employee who is in that situation.”
When Selmser approached MP’s with her petition to recognize miscarriage as a bereavement she was unaware of Motion 110. The motion was passed in the House of Commons by Banff/Airdrie MP, Blake Richards to ask the Standing Committee on Human Resources to undertake a study of the impact on parents who have suffered the loss of an infant child. That was back in 2018 and Richards says, “For more than two years, the House of Commons report entitled, “Supporting Families After the Loss of a Child” has gathered dust. This report includes seven recommendations made by an official Parliamentary committee that would help ease the pain that grieving parents face following the death of a child.”
Once aware of Selmser's petition, it was decided to combine her petition with Motion 110. Petition e-3369 which MP Blake Richards is sponsoring and is once again asking the House of Commons to adopt and enact the recommendations from the motion. Richards says, “Meanwhile, New Zealand’s parliament recently moved to provide paid leave inclusive of all family makeups following a miscarriage or stillbirth. It is time for Canada to follow our Commonwealth partner’s lead and enact similar changes.”
Selmser says, "We are just bringing light to it again, for the second time and just letting everyone know that we have changed some of the language and that it’s now inclusive to miscarriage and loss.”
For Selmser it is not just about benefits but the recognition of the situation so that it can become a part of a conversation with an employer and not a source of shame, fear, and secrecy. She hopes that the conversation of loss will be more normalized and allow for the conversation to be more accepted. “With less challenges, with less stress, with less fear knowing that it something that is more talked about that the government has supported, there’s more language around.”
Petition e-3369 will remain open until July 2, 2021, you can click here to go to the link.
The petition can also be accessed through Dr. Selmser's website click here.