Tommy’s blog, 23/05/2017
Independent film project CRY is about the grief and denial of a father whose daughter is born sleeping.
Andrew always wanted to be a dad but is faced with a heartbreaking reality when his baby girl is lost in childbirth.
Sophie McVeigh, writer of CRY, was prompted to write this script when she read about a couple who divorced in their 50s after having never properly dealt with the loss of their child years earlier.
Sophie was particularly interested in showing baby loss from the father’s perspective as she feels that stillbirth is too often ‘considered to be primarily a female experience.’
Men often feel they cannot show their emotion after the loss of a baby, thinking that they must instead remain strong for their partner.
Blogger Nick Harrison wrote that he felt guilty for crying when he and his wife found out that they had suffered an early miscarriage.
‘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 Through the blubbing I apologised to her, driven by the fear that I’d not met some outdated notion of a stoical impassive husband.’
CRY follows Andrew after the stillbirth of his daughter and explores the way in which his grief and denial affects his relationship with his wife Ella.
Andrew keeps being confronted by young parents with children when he ventures into the outside world, reminding him of what he could have had.
Producer Lea Dettli was motivated to take on this project due to the upfront way it addresses a subject that has historically been taboo.
‘I’ve never come across anything that openly talks about this and that’s what really moved me and inspired me to make it happen.’
Projects like this are vital steps towards breaking the silence around baby loss. Exploring baby loss from the father’s perspective also emphasizes the fact that dads grieve the loss of their baby too.
Guy Wilson, CRY’s Director, said that the focus on Andrew’s experience and how it affects his relationship with his wife is important to the project.
‘One of the important themes of this story is about men’s grief and men’s capacity and need to share their pain and be vulnerable. And our culture traditionally doesn’t really allow that to happen. It’s a sign of weakness.’
We think it’s great to see the subject of men’s grief being addressed so unflinchingly in CRY.
It is important that we show fathers that it is ok for them to grieve as well. Many women who get in touch with Tommy’s say that they didn’t know what their partners were going through until much later.
One mother told us,
‘Looking back now I know my husband was trying to be so strong for me and I was so confused as to why he wasn't showing his grief the same way I did. He told me sometime after that he used to cry in the toilets at work or in the car on the drive way as he was so heartbroken but felt he had to be strong for me. That really upsets me, even now…’
After hitting their £5,000 crowd funding target to get the ball rolling on this project, CRY will be filmed from the 10th – 13th of June.
The final film should be ready to watch from the 7th of September.
You can read more about this project at CRY’s kickstarter campaign page here.
If you have suffered the heartbreak of stillbirth, you and your partner, family and friends will all be processing what has happened. You may all experience different emotions at different times. You can take a look at our feelings and emotions after stillbirth page here.
Coming to terms with your loss is an extremely personal process and one which is going to take time. One thing which can help is commemorating your baby. For ideas on how to do this, you can see our page on remembering your baby after a stillbirth here.
Deborah is 37 and lives in Borehamwood with her caring and supportive husband Ben. Their baby Yaeli was sadly stillborn at 40 weeks + 1 day after Deborah noticed reduced movements.
Gaynor and Ben from Yorkshire were devastated when their daughter Kallipateira was stillborn in 2018. Sadly, their second pregnancy ended in miscarriage in 2019. Gaynor self-referred to Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic in Manchester later that year and was supported by Professor Heazell through her third pregnancy. Their healthy rainbow baby Apollon was born during lockdown in 2020.
Frankie's first pregnancy was low risk, largely problem free. At 38 weeks and 2 days, Frankie experienced reduced movements and sadly baby Esme was stillborn. With small children in her wider family, Frankie turned to books to try and explain the tragic loss of Esme - but couldn't find anything suitable. It was then that she created the beautifully illustrated book 'These Precious Little People', for families affected by the death of a baby.
Sharon Manatsa from Bedfordshire was delighted when she found out she was pregnant in 2016. Devastatingly, her baby Melkiah was stillborn. Sharon is now determined to break the stigma around baby loss, particularly within Black and minority ethnic communities. This is Sharon’s story.