For all the fathers this Father's Day

This time of year can be especially difficult for any father who has lost a baby.

Fathers Day

Tommy's News, 17/06/2018 

Fatherhood comes in many forms. For some dads, this means having to say goodbye before they even got a chance to say hello. 

A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health revealed that 40% of men experience vulnerability and powerlessness after the loss of a baby yet many feel unable to talk about it.

This fathers day, we are opening up the conversation around fathers and baby loss to show men that it’s alright to grieve.

Blogger Nick Harrison says that he felt bad for getting emotional after receiving the news that he and his partner had miscarried.

‘I had no words of solace for my wife because very obviously everything wasn’t going to be okay. Through the blubbing I apologised to her, driven by the fear that I’d not met some outdated notion of a stoical impassive husband.’

Nick is not alone. Another study published in the National Library of Medicine has found that men internalise and deny their grief, or attempt to distract themselves rather than speaking about their loss.

Al Ferguson, founder of The Dad Network, took part in Tommy's #misCOURAGE campaign for Baby Loss Awareness Week to encourage more dads to open up about their loss with their partners, for their own sake and their partner's.

Al said;

'I think for our first miscarriage I would have benefited from somebody saying to me, "tell your wife how you feel". Don't say you're fine, and don't say, "uh, I'll be alright". You have to be honest. We went through a day or two where I was just carrying on, and then I thought I can't any more, let's just have the conversation and let's both just cry about it. I think Jen found it so useful to know that I was feeling...that I was feeling. Otherwise, I think she just would have felt isolated.'

A study of 323 men found that whilst men display less 'active grief' than their partners, they were more vulnerable to feelings of despair and difficulty in coping eight weeks on from loss.

This report from the Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology shows that we must do more to support men after loss and show them that it's alright to grieve and seek support.

Changing attitudes 

Tommy’s CEO Jane Brewin says that attitudes need to change around men and grief so that those who want to talk feel supported and able.

‘Fathers suffer as much as women do. In addition to their grief and heartbreak, society expects them to support their partners, be strong and hold it all together whilst they cope with their own grief. It seems unfair that men have the burden of so much expectation, yet there is so little done to support them.’

Recently, there has been a positive shift, with conversations opening up online, with father who have experienced baby loss coming together to support each other. In honour all the fathers today and all those dads who might be feeling alone, we are opening up the conversation around men, pregnancy complications and loss, because your health is about more than just the physical and your story is important. 

Here are some men who are opening up the conversation for men everywhere. 

Online Dads opening up about loss 

Matt @Papa_Pukka

Papa Pukka

What to expect:

The other half of @Mother_Pukka, Matt posts about life with Anna and 4-year-old Mae and baby Eve, while working on their #FlexAppeal campaign which supports flexible working hours for all parents. 

Matt also speaks candidly about mental health about the mental pain which is shared by both mother and father. 

Do not say, ‘at least it happened early’ when she is curled under your arm on the sofa and you have paused Netflix because she started crying. Because it doesn’t matter that it was early, it matters that it was there, and no amputee was ever made to feel better by being told they should be grateful for a clean cut.

Matt has put together a man's guide to miscarriage for those fathers out there who are feeling alone. 

Richard of Shoebox full of memories

What to expect: 

After the stillbirth of his Twin sons, Richard created his blog which covers some of his experiences and shares useful blogs and articles on the subject of grief, bereavement, stillbirth and miscarriage. 

I started writing about my sons and my grief as a way to work through all those complex feelings of grief, sadness and rage that followed their loss. I wanted to share those stories and feelings to encourage other fathers to talk about their experiences and not feel alone. 

Richard has written about a father's experience of baby loss for Tommy's which you can find here.

Al @TheDadNetwork

What to expect:

Al Fergusson created The Dad Network after experiencing a devastating miscarriage on his wedding day. Today, The Dad Network is one of the fastest growing communities of dads in the UK. Al’s personal Instagram account goes behind the scenes of life with his wife and son, and his live events. 

Al oftern speaks candidly about loss and the affect it had on his mental health, even sharing his story of miscarriage with Tommy’s for Baby Loss Awareness Week.  

Dads have the same emotions; they have the same experience except from the physical side of miscarriage. It has to be a focus on both mum and dad for dealing and coping with miscarriage.

We at Tommy's agree with Al and think that more needs to be done to support fathers and partners in this situation and we feel it is important that men feel that their story is important. 

We believe that men should be able to share their story of loss and not feel that they are, as one blogger describes, “collateral damage”.

If any fathers need support, advice or just someone to talk too, then please contact us. We’re here to listen, help and support without you feeling judged.

It can be difficult for fathers to step forward and have the confidence to ask for help but it is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

Support 

If any fathers need support, advice or just someone to talk too, then please contact us. We’re here to listen, help and support without you feeling judged.

It can be difficult for fathers to step forward and have the confidence to ask for help but it is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

You’re not alone this Father’s Day.

Contact the Tommy’s midwives on 0800 0147 800 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm or email on [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.

Share your story 

If you want to share your story, you can submit it in our Online Book of #misCOURAGE or email [email protected]

Help us break the silence and show men that it’s OK to talk about baby loss or complications.

#ItsTimeToTalk

Read stories from men on baby loss

Support and information on baby loss

Source

Sources

[1] Journal of Women’s Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825726/

[2] National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8989980

[3] Journey of Reproductive and Infant Psychology: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02646839908404587

 

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