Why don't we talk about men and baby loss?

A study has shown that up to 40% of men experience vulnerability and powerlessness after the loss of a baby yet many feel unable to talk about it. We need to open up the conversation around fathers and baby loss to show men that it’s alright to grieve.

Man alone

A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health revealed that 40% of men surveyed experienced a strong sense of vulnerability and felt powerless to help their partner after a loss.

Yet many men feel that they cannot talk about their own loss and that they must remain strong for their partner.

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 Through the blubbing I apologised to her, driven by the fear that I’d not met some outdated notion of a stoical impassive husband.’

Another study published in the National Library of Medicine has found that men internalize 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.

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.’

In honour of #MensHealthWeek, we are opening up the conversation around men, pregnancy complications and loss, because your health is about more than just the physical. 

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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