A former graphic designer who suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage is determined to help others through her counselling research at the University of Chester.
Masters student Ella Haselden wants to support people ‘on their journey to freedom’.
She will present her findings on how the loss of an unborn child can often be overlooked by society to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Ella, from St Helens, has also run a retail business alongside her sister which they inherited from their mother in 1999.
She suffered a 12-week miscarriage which would eventually become the starting point for her university research in 2005.
The 52-year-old said: “I was planning on telling others about the pregnancy after the first scan, but this point never materialised.
“I was left with little support as I found it difficult to articulate what had happened.
“When I did, responses were sometimes uncomfortable and indifferent, which silenced me.”
After her father became ill in 2011, she closed her own graphic design businesses which she had run since the mid 1990s. He sadly passed away in June of that year.
This led her to taking an introduction to counselling course and she enjoyed it so much she wanted to pursue an MA at Chester.
Ella said: “Personal therapy, journaling and quiet reflection offered me time and space to recreate a narrative and make meaning of my loss, which has been fundamental to my grieving process and journey of reconciliation.”
After applying ‘on the off chance of a miracle happening’ she said it was an ‘amazing moment’ when she was offered a place.
The mature student added: “Gaining the MA in clinical counselling has been life changing.
“It has enabled me to break free from the restraints of low self-worth; I am now competent in facilitating others on their journey to freedom.”
Ella’s presentation ‘Ways in which women who have experienced a miscarriage acknowledge the life and death of their unborn child’ will be made at the annual BACP conference in Chester in May.
She said: “It highlights how early miscarriage can be overlooked by society as a significant loss and that traditional ways of marking the event are therefore often withheld.
“Due to this, many women create their own ritual, ceremony, or use symbols to acknowledge or mark the event in a way which is meaningful to them.”
Rev Professor Peter Gubi, professor of counselling and spiritual accompaniment at the UoC, said Ella’s research had been ‘fantastic’.
He said: “Her willingness to present her research, and to publish it, will help others in coming to terms with their own loss, and raise the awareness of the counselling profession in helping clients to work through these issues.”
Looking forward, Ella hopes to combine running her business with counselling work, including volunteering at the Brooker Centre for mental health at Halton Hospital.
If you have been affected by miscarriage, the Miscarriage Association offers information and support at www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk.
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