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Advice On Supporting a Bereaved Daddy

Father’s Day and the build up to it, can be a very difficult time for all dads whose baby has died, however long ago.

Our friends over at Sands have shared this guide with us, to help improve the support that bereaved daddies receive.

Bereaved dads who have other children may worry they can’t enjoy the day with them in the way they want to. And for those men whose partner suffered an early miscarriage, friends and family might not even know that it happened.

Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death charity) is opening its Freephone Helpline on the weekend of Father’s Day so that any dads affected by pregnancy or baby loss can reach out for vital emotional support.

The extended helpline opening hours are:

–  Saturday 15 June – 9.30am to 12.30pm.

–  Sunday 16 June (Father’s Day) – 9.30am to 11.30am.

The confidential helpline provides a safe place for anyone affected by the death of a baby to seek comfort and support, and  the charity’s experienced bereavement support team is there to listen and signpost to further help.

Throughout June, Sands is running the #FindingYourWay2019 campaign to tackle the taboo and help continue to break the silence that can exist around baby loss for men.

Bereaved men sometimes struggle to reach out or find ways to deal with the emotions they experience. Sands wants to make it easier for any man affected by the death of a baby to be able to find the right kind of support for them in the easiest possible way.

Clea Harmer, Chief Executive of Sands, said: “Bereaved parents tell us that Father’s Day can be a highly emotional day for them as they spend time with their close friends and families and remember their babies who have died. So we have responded by extending the opening hours of our Helpline at a time they may need us the most. I would urge anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby not to suffer in silence and to get in touch if they want to talk to us on Father’s Day. We are dedicated to providing emotional support and information right from the early hours after a baby’s death, through to the weeks, months and years ahead.”

Sands has also put together the following advice for bereaved dads and for anyone who knows a family member or male friend whose baby has died and wants to offer them support around Father’s Day.

Advice for bereaved dads:

  1. Remember the build up to Father’s Day or any anniversary may feel much worse than the day itself. Think about who you can turn to for support. If you’re working, consider letting your employer know you are finding this week hard and whether you need to take some time off.
  2. Whether you have other children or not, it’s important to remember you are still a dad to your baby.
  3. Think about what you could do – on your own or with others – to make Father’s Day special for you. That could include visiting a special place, looking at photos if you have them, and simply having quiet time to think about your baby.

Advice on supporting a bereaved dad:

  1. Talk about their baby and if you know it, say their baby’s name.  Follow their lead, if they change the subject they may not want to talk about their loss but you have let them know you care. Let them know that you’re available to talk or share stories about their child.
  2. If you want to, you could give a thoughtful gift, or write a card that they can read when they’re ready. If they have other children give a card that celebrates that relationship and a separate one to acknowledge their baby, or simply add their baby’s name to the same card.
  3. On the day just being aware and sensitive, showing that you understand that it can be hard may be enough. Don’t be afraid to laugh or use humour – you’ll know if it isn’t appropriate, but it can break tension and allow someone to open up a bit.

With love and light, from Team BBY & Team Sands. Xx

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