Coping with grief after losing a baby - for dads and partners

Everyone deals with grief differently. Dads and partners may sometimes cope by keeping busy with hobbies or work. You may feel emotional all the time or you may avoid sharing how you feel. However you feel, there is lots of support available.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief after losing a baby. Everyone deals with grief differently. You may cope by keeping busy with hobbies or work. You may be emotional all the time. Or you may avoid sharing how you feel or getting upset in front of your partner.  

Some people cope by ‘shutting down’ their emotions. This can be hard for their partners to understand, especially at a time when they may feel they need to talk and share their emotions. 

Being aware of how you’re coping can help you open up to your partner and talk honestly about how you feel.  

Remember that you’re not alone and you’re not unusual for feeling the way you do. There’s lots of support available to help you cope with your grief.

We also have more information about talking to other children about the loss of a sibling.

Getting support

Family and friends can support you by listening and helping with practical things like making meals and doing shopping. But sometimes they might find it hard to understand what you and your partner have been through. People can sometimes try to help by saying things like, ‘You can always try again’ or ‘At least you weren’t too far along’. This can feel as though they’re dismissing your grief, but it’s often just that someone doesn’t know what to say.   

Sometimes dads and non-birthing parents can feel that everyone’s focus is on the mum or birthing parent and they can feel overlooked. You may have questions about your identity, especially if you lost your baby early on in the pregnancy. For example, you may not be sure whether to describe yourself as a parent. Your feelings are important so don’t be afraid to ask for help.   

Each time you do something you become stronger, you take another step forward and I promise you, with the love of good people around you, supportive family and friends you will eventually find what we learned to describe as your ‘new normal’.
Steven

If you’re worried that you or your partner are struggling to cope after losing a baby, talk to your GP or maternity unit. They will be able to help you get the support you need. The maternity team can also answer your questions about your baby. We have more information about supporting your partner after losing a baby.

If you’re looking for support following IVF, you can speak to your IVF clinic. Most clinics have counselling services attached to them.

We have a baby loss support group for anyone who has experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, neonatal death or termination for medical reasons.

We also run a pregnancy and parenting after loss support group if you are going through pregnancy after a previous loss.

Find out more about coping with grief and looking after your mental health after losing a baby.

If you want to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, our team of expert midwives are here for you. You can speak to them for free on 0800 0147 800, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can email them at [email protected]  

LGBTQ+ partners

Grief can sometimes be more complicated if you’re transgender, non-binary or in a same-sex relationship. It may have taken a long time and a lot of planning to get pregnant. You may feel guilty if you already have children and your partner doesn’t.   

Being honest about your feelings can help you and your partner understand how each other feels, even if you have different ways of coping with your loss. 

Sometimes health professionals can assume that you’re a friend of the birthing parent. This can mean that your grief gets overlooked and you may find it harder to get the support you need.

You can ask for your relationship to be recorded on your partner’s medical notes, so you don’t have to explain every time.

More support and information

  • Join the Tommy’s baby loss support group on Facebook to speak to other parents who have lost a baby.
  • Child Bereavement UK has support groups, offers counselling and lots of online resources. They can help siblings through a bereavement.
  • The Compassionate Friends (TCF) supports bereaved family members.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care helps people understand their grief and cope with their loss. They have a helpline and network of local branches where you can find support.
  • #DadsGrieveToo on Instagram shares dads’ and partners’ experiences of baby loss.
  • LGBT Mummies have a miscarriage and baby loss support group.
  • The Miscarriage Association provides support and information to anyone affected by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy.
  • Sands is the leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK, providing bereavement support services nationally and locally.
  • Saying Goodbye has a befriending service. You can also attend Saying Goodbye ceremonies across the country to remember your baby.
  • Twins Trust is the Twins and Multiple Births Association for support with losing a multiple birth baby.
     
  1. Antenatal Results & Choices (accessed February 2022) Help for same sex partners. www.arc-uk.org/publication/help-for-same-sex-partners/ 
  2. Obst KL et al. (2020) Men's grief following pregnancy loss and neonatal loss: a systematic review and emerging theoretical model. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2020; 20(1): 11.
     
Review dates
Reviewed: 15 June 2022 | Next review: 15 June 2025