An Open Letter to a Grieving Dad

I am so sorry that you are in this devastating situation, I am so sorry that you have lost your precious baby and I wish I could take your pain away and make everything ok again. It is hard being a dad walking this path, everyone is asking how your partner is coping, how are your other children coping, if there’s anything they can do to help your partner and do you think she would benefit from extra support like bereavement counselling. You answer this questions, you field the phone calls, you try to protect her and comfort her; while all the time inside you are screaming ‘what about me!? I’ve lost a baby too!’.

As a man you feel you need to be strong, you feel protective towards your partner, and you feel that you need to give her a shoulder to cry on; well, I need you to know that in this situation you don’t need to be strong, you can be protective whilst also grieving your loss too, and you also need to have a shoulder to cry on, to vent at, to shout and scream about how unfair this is… because it IS unfair and it IS ok to express that, to let it out, and to hate the world.

Right now, you might have more questions than answers; you may not have received the test results yet or they might not give a definite reason for your baby passing. This limbo is horrible, it really is, and it is my hope that that one day you will find the answers that you seek. I know that you probably feel numb, angry and upset, and I also know that you feel you will never be able to accept what has happened… how could you? How could you possibly accept that your baby will not be coming home? How could you ever accept that you had to leave your baby with strangers, cold and alone, while you returned home to an empty house, and a nursery full of things that your baby should be using? I also know that as time goes on, more people will almost expect you to carry on (much sooner that your partner), they will expect you to return to work (maybe before you are ready), they will expect you to be the strong one… I want you (even though it’s hard) to block these people out, there is no time limit on grief, it ebbs and flows; these are people that fortunately don’t know how it feels to lose a child; they are the lucky ones.

I want you to know, even though you feel like it, you are not alone. I want you to know that you and your baby matter, and I need you to know that there are people who you can talk to, other dads who have been through the same, devastating and life changing thing… because losing a child is life changing, and no matter what others might say, things will never be ‘normal’ again… but you will, in time, find a ‘new normal’. One where you find ways to honour your baby, whilst also looking towards the future.

I know (from my husband) that as a loss dad it can be very hard, people need to realise that you lost a child too, and you are hurting. Please share your baby and your experience as much as you want; your baby is not just a statistic… he or she is a baby with a family who love and miss him/her, and therefore he/she deserves to be recognised and remembered. I know that, occasionally, as a loss dad, you may receive negative comments when you talk about your baby, or share their photos. These comments may put you off sharing, you may feel like you ‘have to move on’ and not share any more, you may then feel more isolated, upset and alone.

When I first started to share Sophie I received comments like this, mostly from people who care a great deal and thought that I was torturing myself. At first, it really upset me, and I stopped sharing Sophie’s story and her photos; but after a short while I realised that sharing her, as much as I share my other children, was helping me and not hindering me! If people don’t want to look then they are welcome to scroll past, and the positive comments certainly outweighed the negative, which made me happy! For the people who do post the odd unhelpful comment, I no longer feel upset or angry; instead, I feel grateful, grateful that they don’t know, and don’t understand, what it’s like to lose a child; because I would never wish this on any one.

I want to let you know that it’s ok to not be ok, I say this to people on Sophie’s Angels because it’s true… sometimes breathing IS enough! Sometimes you may not feel like doing anything, or you may want to do things to keep busy… both of these are perfectly ok. Taking things one step at a time, taking each minute as it comes… all these things will help you to get through today; and that’s ALL you need to do.

Lastly, I want to let you know that it is ok to not be ‘strong’; it is ok to shout, scream, cry; it is ok to shut yourself away and it is ok to not want to talk about your baby if that helps. However YOU need to grieve is ok, everyone grieves differently; and sometimes we can be triggered by things long after we ‘think’ we’ve finished grieving… because grieving a child never really ends, it ebbs and flows like the waves. However, there will come a time, when you find yourself smiling again, you find yourself wanting to look to the future, and you find yourself enjoying life once more; you may not see it now, but it will happen.

Lots of love and hugs to you, your family, and your precious angel



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