21 Mar 2024

Helping men who have experienced the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth and antenatal death

By Peter Dunn, Counsellor at The Eaves

Research has shown that many men who experience the death of their baby struggle to talk about the experience, which can be devastating. Most feel they have to ‘be strong’ to support their partner. When a baby dies before birth, the mother still has to deliver the baby. Supporting his partner through this process, then perhaps taking on practical tasks like informing loved ones and arranging a funeral, can leave men struggling to find a safe space to talk through their feelings about such a huge loss.

Many men experience depression, feelings of anger, and even sometimes PTSD arising from their bereavement. A survey by SANDS (a charity supporting people who have lost a baby) found more men than women felt anger, isolation, depression and even guilt over their loss. There is a Facebook group for bereaved men, support groups, and even a football team of bereaved fathers. Yet, many men are not signposted to support, despite its availability. Perhaps the ‘be strong and don’t talk about it’ approach inhibits professionals from making referrals, as well as deterring bereaved men themselves.

My own experience of having a stillborn child was over 30 years ago. Years later, I decided to have counselling and for the first time I talked of the void that my daughter’s death had left. Now, I can live with the sadness, and I can even find some positives in it. It was my own experience of being helped that, a few years later, led me to train to be a counsellor. Being able to work through my feelings with a skilled therapist enabled me to accept the loss. I would urge men who have experienced the death of a baby to not suppress their feelings. You have a right to be helped to overcome your anguish and counselling is an effective way of receiving that help.

Useful links / references:

The Eaves Counselling and Psychology

Peter Dunn, Counsellor and Psychotherapist at The Eaves, is based at our Guildford practice. To find out more about Peter, or to enquire about his latest availability, please visit his profile here

The Eaves Counselling and Psychology Ltd is a select professional body of Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Psychologists, providing high quality psychological care Monday to Saturday between 9am and 9pm from our practices in Guildford, Godalming, Farnham, Haslemere and online.

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