Baby loss and mental health - for dads and partners
It will take time to come to terms with losing your baby. You may find you have good days and bad days. There’s support available to help you through this difficult time.
Your relationship with your partner
You may feel you need to be strong for your partner. You might find it hard to show how you’re feeling or ask for help. But keeping your feelings to yourself may worry or upset your partner. Try to be open with each other about how you feel so you can support each other. Remember that you’re grieving too and you may want support from family, friends or your GP.
We were different in the way we grieved and the way we approached things. Shana wanted to take lots of pictures and spend lots of time with our daughter, who we named Shafia, whereas it was too heart-breaking for me.
We have more information about supporting your partner after baby loss.
The midwifery team should tell you and your partner what emotional support is available for you. They can also refer you for specialist mental health support.
For some parents, losing their baby can lead to anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These problems can affect dads and non-birthing parents as well as mums and birthing parents. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and support is available from your GP, midwife or health visitor.
You can also talk to a Tommy’s midwife for free, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You can call them on 0800 0147 800 or email [email protected]
Taking time off work
Some people find that going to work helps them cope with their grief. Others feel unable to cope with work and need time off to deal with their loss. Telling your employer about your loss will help them support you.
If your baby died after birth or after 24 weeks of pregnancy, you may be able to take 2 weeks parental bereavement leave from work. You may be able to claim parental bereavement pay. ACAS has more information on taking time off work after losing a baby.
You may need to go back to work earlier than you would like. If you’re finding it hard to manage at work, you could speak to your employer to find out what support they can offer. You can also speak to your GP.
More support and information
- Join the Tommy’s baby loss support group on Facebook to speak to other parents who have lost a baby.
- The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has details of counsellors and psychotherapists.
- ACAS has information about getting time off work after baby loss.
- Maternity Action has information about time off after miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.
- Money Helper has information about financial help if your baby dies.
- The Baby Mailing Preference Service helps reduce the number of baby-related mailings you receive.
- ACAS. Time off for bereavement: Parental bereavement leave and pay when a child dies. www.acas.org.uk/time-off-for-bereavement/parental-bereavement-leave-pay (Page last reviewed 10 June 2021)
- Antenatal Results & Choices (2019) Help for fathers. www.arc-uk.org/publication/help-for-fathers/
- Daugirdaitė V, van den Akker O, Purewal S. (2015) Posttraumatic stress and posttraumatic stress disorder after termination of pregnancy and reproductive loss: a systematic review. J Pregnancy. 2015; 2015: 646345.
- Hogue CJR et al. (2015) The association of stillbirth with depressive symptoms 6–36 months post-delivery. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2015; 29(2): 131–43.
- 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.
- SANDS (2020) National Bereavement Care Pathway: Stillbirth. Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society https://nbcpathway.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-02/Stillbirth%20short%20guidance_Jan%202020.pdf
- Westby CL et al (2021) Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD after stillbirth: a systematic review. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2021; 21(1): 782.