Why I’m Changing Our Policy on Miscarriage Leave

Brittany England (Horn)
4 min readMar 26, 2021


This week’s news about New Zealand’s decision to provide paid leave to workers after a miscarriage was a win for women in the country. It spoke not only to the implicit need for women to be supported during such loss but also laid a foundation for this historically taboo topic to be on the table in the workplace.

As a business owner and a woman in leadership, but most importantly, as a woman who is working through the very recent aftermath of a miscarriage, I reflected on my own experience.

I poured through the article and the comments that followed on other platforms. I felt a collective embrace and sigh shared between the women who have experienced the hardship of a miscarriage — a topic so rarely discussed yet experienced in upwards of 25% of known pregnancies. This law validates the need for this topic to have room in all areas of our lives.

As women, we are often expected to compartmentalize our experience to benefit the collective. We are expected to check a part of ourselves at the door, and we often do so willingly and without question.

We do this as a form of protection, and in the workplace, it’s often to protect our careers and the way others view us. When it comes to pregnancy, women can only check that at the door so long as our growing bellies aren’t seen by others. The topic of miscarriage, on the other hand, if experienced before our bodies make noticeable changes, is often kept in the dark.

I’m privileged. I own a business with my husband, and I can set my schedule. My job allows me to work from home. Our work culture does not ask anyone to check themselves at the door. We embrace vulnerability, and we support our employees and their whole human experience.

Despite all of that, I didn’t share the news with our team. I worked straight through it all. I did it to protect the vision that I pride myself on — a strong woman who is stopped by nothing. That thinking implies that miscarriages make us weak and vulnerable, and not in Brené Brown’s sense of the word. Despite all of the work we have done at Kinship to build a culture that puts people first, I still struggled to share my own experience.

How can we expect women in less privileged scenarios to do the same and feel safe and supported?

To start, we change workplace policy.

While the government should be at the helm to make this change in the U.S., I won’t hold my breath. In the meantime, companies need to step up. We need to include these policies in our handbooks. We need to create the space to allow women to show up just as they are and leave the office when our focus should be elsewhere — without consequence.

Not having this policy in place was a miss on our part as a company. It didn’t appear on our radar until my husband and I experienced a miscarriage. These policies shouldn’t be enacted only when someone in leadership deals with a miscarriage, who then has the power to take action. This topic needs more awareness, and it needs space to be discussed openly and without shame or fear.

No longer should women work through a miscarriage behind our desks or Zoom calls, in the bathroom at the office, on the production line, or at the checkout stand.

No longer should we burn through our PTO or tell our boss we missed work due to food poisoning.

No longer should we lose our wages or our jobs to take the bare minimum time off to work through a loss and the reality of our changing bodies.

We shouldn’t have to choose to undergo medical intervention solely to navigate our work schedules.

We should have the choice as to how we move through our experience.

We should be home, or in a safe place, outdoors, or with our toes in the water supported by those we need most.

As I began to share our story, I witnessed other women do the same in unsuspecting places. I was blown away by their rawness and willingness to share their experience with me. While my close friends and I have openly shared these stories in the safety and comfort of our relationship, these were women on the peripheral of my life.

As the tears streamed down their faces, even years after their experience, I felt held by them. They were sharing to support me, to make me feel less alone, to help guide me through what was to come. They shared to feel held and seen by me too — to be validated that we were in this together. We need more of this.

We will be changing our bereavement leave policy effective immediately for anyone impacted by miscarriages in our office.

My hope is that this change will remove the stigma of this conversation in our workplace and give people the time and support they need to move through their loss. This policy will also apply to employees who are partners of those experiencing a miscarriage. Providing leave only to a woman during a miscarriage continues the false and biased idea that all things related to pregnancy and childrearing are up to women.

This narrative hurts our careers and our earning potential. It also leaves us with no choice other than to experience our loss alone.

Start the conversation no matter who you are if you feel safe to do so.

Use your voice to speak up for others. Talk to your HR department, your boss, or your company leaders. Change the policy if you have the power. This matters.



Brittany England (Horn)

Co-Founder & President of Kinship Creative