Sands, a not-for-profit bereavement service in Australia, has launched a new helpline run by fathers for fathers who have been affected by miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death.
Sands CEO, Andre Carvalho, said “A father’s grief following the death of a baby tends to be overlooked by society. There is no doubt that carrying a child results in an intense emotional bond for the mother, however research and anecdotal evidence from our work shows that fatherhood for so many dads begins as their child is in the womb. Dads can also experience acute grief following miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death.”
An estimated one in four pregnancies (103,000) ends in miscarriage in Australia each year, while approximately 3,000 babies are either stillborn or die in the first 28 days after birth.
Luke, a father who lost his third-born to stillbirth said: “The pain was so intense. I wanted to grieve, but I felt like I had to support my family – my responsibilities as a husband and father came first. It was so tough on my wife and suddenly she wasn’t able to take care of our children and I had to shoulder all of the work and parenting alone. I didn’t know where to go where to go or who to speak to.”
Calls to the support line are answered by a team of trained male volunteers who understand what a grieving father goes through, having been through it themselves.
Photo: madaise. “Big sister says goodbye.” Creative Commons.