Approximately 700 babies are lost each day in the UK during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy, yet baby loss remains a secretive and deeply traumatic experience for parents. For men, however, the level of support they receive has been severely lacking.
A survey conducted by the Mariposa Trust (www.sayinggoodbye.org) a leading charity working in the area of baby loss and bereavement support, saw 193 men share their experience of losing a baby, and it highlighted worrying results.
Eight key points from the survey:
- 98% of men reported that they want more support available for men who suffer baby loss.
- 60% of men reported they received no support when they and their partner went through baby loss.
- 71% of men reported that they needed more support through their loss.
- 63% of men reported that medical staff did not acknowledge their loss and need for support, only
- their partners.
- 60% of men reported that medical staff focused only on their partners, and did not address them as
- a couple.
- 73% of men reported suffering long-term effects following going through baby loss.
- 79% of men reported that they grieved in a different way to their partners.
- 45% of men reported that their relationship suffered as a result of their baby loss.
The Mariposa Trust has a campaign called 'Dad's Matter Too.' This acknowledges the needs of fathers, provides targeted support, and advocates for better short and long-term care of partners.
Andy Clark-Coates, co-founder, and co-CEO of the Mariposa Trust, (who has lost five babies) commented on these troubling survey results. "We have known for a long time that men can often be side-lined, and as an organisation who support around 30% men, we are trying to change this. What we are seeing from these statistics, is that nearly two-thirds of men experienced a lack of inclusion whilst going through this most traumatic life-altering event, with only their partners being supported...this is unacceptable. The fact that nearly three-quarters of men surveyed suffered long-term effects following the loss of a baby, and nearly all men are asking for more support, clearly shows how crucial this is. We need to allow men to grieve fully and that in turn could help improve relationships and mental health.
Dylan Jones from Wales was one of the men who took part in the survey and said "I was devastated when we lost our babies. I was unable to process anything at the time as we had medical decisions to make and also as my wife was the one physically affected, I needed to 'stand strong,' make sure that our children were being looked after, and let friends and family know what was happening. I felt I had to put my feelings aside just to get through the immediate situation. Once things had settled down, I found it hard to deal with and even harder to talk to anyone about. I would like to see the NHS make changes to how baby loss is dealt with across the board, firstly by acknowledging and supporting the emotional loss, not just the medical side of things. Part of that should be support offered for both parents. Recognition that we didn't just undergo a small procedure, we lost a child, one that we never even got to meet."
Baby Loss Awareness Week - 9th to the 15th October 2017. This is a time when baby loss charities across the globe, hold events, services, and acts of remembrance, to show the world the impact of baby loss, which sees around 38,000,000 babies lost during pregnancy, at birth or in early years each year. It is also a time to show Government, media and the health service how important this issue is.
For support, you can get a new book called 'Saying Goodbye'. This book offers 90-days of support for men and women post-loss. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Saying-Goodbye-Zoe-Clark-Coates/dp/1434712265/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
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