Support for fathers and partners when a pregnancy goes wrong is poor or non-existent and their grief can often be overlooked, according to research by the charity Tommy’s.
Just one per cent of people believe the needs of dads and partners are adequately met during pregnancy or in the event of a miscarriage, with just under 75 per cent considering support to be unavailable or of low quality.
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The baby loss charity Tommy’s said there was a need to improve support for all parents in the event of a miscarriage or a still birth with fathers and partners also liable to mental health problems, even when a pregnancy goes well.
A survey of 1,000 people found that three quarters of people believe that dads and partners feel a pressure to be “the strong one” when their baby dies and more than half feel mental health advice should be provided to counter the sense of isolation felt by many.
Suffering in silence
The study found that 58 per cent of fathers and partners reported feeling helpless or lost as a result of a miscarriage or still birth and a very similar proportion suffered in silence because they felt protective of their other half. Nearly two thirds felt that the desire not to burden the grieving mother would leave the other parent unsure who he or she could turn to.
Jane Brewin, chief executive at Tommy’s said: “From the moment a couple find out they’re pregnant, they can start to imagine their baby’s future. So having those hopes and dreams taken away can have a deep and lasting impact on both parents, and they both need access to specialist support.”
The new campaign follows the decision by a number high-profile women, including the Duchess of Sussex and American model and entrepreneur Chrissy Teigen, to make public their grief following the loss of a baby.
Research has shown that both parents can suffer postnatal depression with one in 12 partners developing long-term symptoms of post–traumatic stress following the loss of a baby.