Straight off, let’s be clear, I am 100% behind the Mumsnet Miscarriage Care campaign… Time and again we work with parents who have been treated with such a lack of compassion ,that quite frankly, it is inhumane.
As Mumsnet point out from their own surveys:
- Half of all women treated for miscarriage are treated alongside women with ongoing pregnancies.
- 58% of women wanted support or counselling after miscarriage but only 12% received it.
- Only 23% of women who miscarried spoke about it to their friends.
Read here for the other 4 shocking facts
BUT, and sorry there is a but, as admirable as the Mumsnet campaign is (and it is) they are still missing something important. WHAT ABOUT THE DADS?
Dads are almost completely ignored when it comes to miscarriage, it is almost as if we are non-existent: there is no support, no offer of counselling, no real recognition that it would impact on us. There does need to be recognition that a miscarriage is the loss of our child too, and we are going through a grieving process as well.
I will never forget the class I ran where, whilst we were dealing with men’s fears, one dad suddenly piped up about suffering another miscarriage and his fear about losing another child. His ‘secret’ that he had not been able to open up about before was that he was refusing to bond with his unborn baby as he didn’t feel he could go through the complete despair and sense of loss again. Before I knew it, I had three dads sharing their experiences, all having suffered one or more miscarriages. What became obvious was these dads had never before spoken about their trauma before, had received no support or recognition that they may be grieving, and this wasn’t just from medical staff but also family and friends. Being able to share their experiences with other dads that had gone through it was at once both emotional but also such a relief for them.
Dads also need someone to talk to, some of us need counselling, ignoring this is potentially harmful not just to the men affected, but also to their families. Miscarriage can have such a devastating impact, leading to further complications – from depression to suicide, from resentment to relationship breakdowns, and the list goes on.
If anyone is any doubt of the huge impact miscarriage has on dads then read this piece that was published on Dadzclub from two dads.
So what would I like to say, firstly Mumsnet have published their 5 things that need to change, I support all of them BUT, yes there it is again a but, to really make their campaign as far-reaching as possible, I would like the wording to be more inclusive of all parents. I know I speak mainly from a dads perspective but I include same-sex partners in this as well. We should do everything to treat the family as compassionately as possible, counselling and support should be offered to both parents.
There is absolutely no point in offering support and counselling for one parent and ignoring the other… Families where this happens will in many cases be left dealing with silent, secret grief; with the ramifications for the grieving parent who has not been acknowledged nor received any specific support, impacts on family life & relationships for weeks, months and possibly even years to come.
Mums, Dads and families deserve better than this – we need better care for any parent affected by miscarriage loss.