Baby loss from a father's perspective

This time last year, Ben* was over the moon to be expecting twins, but devastatingly the pregnancy ended in miscarriage. In this blog, he reflects on the complex emotions he struggled to control as he tried to be a rock for his wife, and how isolated he felt in his grief.

About a year ago, my wife and I were having the best day of our lives: we found out that morning that she was pregnant and we were absolutely elated. It was our first pregnancy, planned to the point that we were trying but not so planned that we were religious about everything. We couldn't have been happier and after a few weeks we shared the good news with our close family.

Just before our 12 week scan was due, I was away with work 6 hours from home, when I got a phone call from my sister-in-law to say that my wife was having pains. It was late so the doctors agreed to scan her early the next day in an attempt to ease her anxiety. I travelled home overnight, had a shower and breakfast like a normal morning, but instead of going to work I took my wife to the hospital.

We'd spoken very little but I tried my best to reassure her that everything was going to be okay; I truly believed it would be. We sat there in the waiting room and it all seemed normal. I remember getting a cup of water as they called my wife into the little dark room to get the scan completed. I let her walk in first and there were 4 of us in the room: my wife and me, and the sonographer and her assistant.

After a very quick chat, we got on with the scan. For what seemed like an age, they were searching the screen and saying things like ‘measure A, now B’ while we sat there in silence growing more and more anxious. Eventually, the sonographer turned to us and quietly spoke these crushing words: ‘I’m so sorry, there were 2 embryos but we can’t find a heartbeat for either.’

My wife let out a harrowing, desperate cry and I held her hand, watching her heart break whilst I felt mine be pulled apart.

The next hour went by in a blur. We were spoken to by 3 or 4 doctors - I don’t remember what they said. We had to wait in a tiny room for someone else to come and speak to us. I remember vividly my wife saying that she just wanted to go home. When we eventually got to leave, we sat in silence the whole time, and when we arrived home my wife went straight to bed.

I went to tell the family members we'd celebrated the pregnancy with that they couldn’t find a heartbeat, while my wife sat at home, heartbroken. The next few days were horrible. We were completely devastated and grief-stricken. My mental and emotional capacity was stretched to its absolute limit.

For whatever reason, we were given a brief window of excitement and hope - we'd made plans together for our future - only to have it all ripped away.

My work were fantastic and gave me all the time I needed to be with my wife and support her. I remember the night before she was due to have surgery, she was in tears saying ‘I just wasn’t good enough’ and things that made it seem like she blamed herself. I tried my hardest to reassure her that it wasn’t her fault, that she was an exemplary mother-to-be and was perfect in every single way to me. 

I wanted to be a rock for her, but I struggled holding it together when speaking even the shortest of sentences.

The whole situation had me wanting to scream and cry, my head feeling like it needed to explode with emotion. Knowing how tough it was for me, I can’t begin to imagine how hard it has been for my wife. We struggled to get through it - but after months of pain, guilt, fear, heartbreak, and some very dark feelings, eventually we did.

A big turning point was finding out that my wife had fallen pregnant again in April. We’re now at 35 weeks and anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little rainbow baby. Nothing will ever take away the pain of losing our first pregnancy, but it has made us stronger and will always be in our hearts.

I never knew I could love such a tiny thing so much, without ever seeing or meeting it.

I hope that my writing and sharing this can help someone understand they’re not alone. I struggled to realise that I had any support, let alone the abundance that's there if I’d just reached out, and it took me a very long time to get through that. I felt I had no one, and I really struggled, and I hate to think that people out there are going through something similar.

So if you're struggling, and you need advice or support or just a chat, please reach out - there are lots of us who understand, sadly, and organisations like Tommy's who want to make sure that nobody has to go through baby loss alone.

*Name has been changed