Support For You

Hello. If you are bereaved, we know it’s not easy to ask for help.

Most people can’t imagine what you’re going through.

But however you’re feeling now, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s important to remember you are not on your own. There are lots of men who’ve been through this pain.

You can meet some of them here… 

Here’s five things that might help you:

How can I get through this?

What you’re going through is really tough but we can help you find the right kind of support that works for you.

Grief doesn’t come with a manual. There’s no right or wrong way to react.

Sometimes you might want to be busy and then need quiet time alone with your thoughts.

Don’t feel bad about needing this time to recover, let people know you might not be always available.

If you’re working, for yourself or someone else, check out your options for having time off.

Have a think about what you enjoyed doing before this happened. It’s OK to do something that makes you feel better for a while. That doesn’t mean you’re letting your baby or your partner down.

When you’re ready, Sands is here for you. Find out about the different ways we can help you find your way through grief.

How can I ever talk about this?

You don’t have to talk about it. For some men that’s the last thing they want to do and that’s OK. Talking isn’t the only way to get through this.

There are other ways to get your feelings out that will release some of the pressure. If you are able, being active is a great way to do this as it relieves the tension in your body and mind without talking about your loss.

Being physically active is proven to have a dramatic effect on mental health. Something as simple as going for a walk can help hugely.

Some days you might not want to even get out of bed. Try something you know you enjoy and build up gradually, after all your body is in recovery mode.

If you’re up for it why not set yourself a new challenge in memory of your baby? Sands has challenge events and activities which provide an opportunity to remember your baby. You can run, cycle or literally do anything you want in their name.

When you feel ready to talk you will find a way that’s right for you.

If you have someone in your family or a friend you can talk to that can help hugely. And it may also help your partner to share their feelings too.

There are people at Sands you can talk to – confidentially and anonymously if you prefer. That could be face to face, on email, online or webchat – there are options listed at the bottom of this page.

You can also download Sands Bereavement Support App from Apple Store or Google Play on your smartphone.

What you’ve been through is unimaginable to most people so finding other men who’ve been through similar experiences can help. Joining a running or walking group or a Sands Group or a Sands United team can offer a space to talk without it being the reason you’re there.

And these days lots of men find that social media gives them a space to open up about how they’re feeling.

How will I ever feel better?

Grief will tire you out – physically, emotionally, mentally. Remember to look after yourself.

You might not feel like it, but it is important to eat regularly and drink plenty of water. Sleep when you can, take it easy if you can’t. Do stuff you enjoy, don’t feel guilty about it. Spend time with other people if that helps.

Be on your own when you can’t face anyone. Let people know you won’t be answering your phone or messages for a bit. Binge on a boxset, listen to music, go for a walk, play a game, play sport. Do whatever works for you.

Speaking to another bereaved parent may also be helpful. Sands has a helpline (call 0808 164 3332 or email [email protected]) and trained befrienders around the country who are there for you.

How can I stay strong for my family?

It may feel like men have to be the strong ones. But you really don’t and that’s OK.

As a bereaved dad it can be doubly isolating as much of the focus from friends, family, colleagues and professionals can be on your baby’s mother and you may also feel you have to be “strong” for them.

Your emotional needs are as important as your partners, they just may be different.

You might feel pressure to be the one who breaks the news to the rest of the family and friends, maybe because you want to protect the baby’s mother. Perhaps you can share this burden together, or ask someone close to you to help with letting people know and respond to messages of condolence.

There may be a lot of decisions to make about saying goodbye to your baby. You don’t have to bear all of this on your shoulders. Don’t be worried about asking for help.

If you’re the baby’s grandad, uncle, brother, Godfather or even a best mate, you will be dealing with your own grief and wanting to support mum and dad too. Just remember to take time to look after yourself too.

What if I feel like I can’t go on?

It’s frightening but not unusual to want to be with your baby.

Many parents who contact Sands have these thoughts.

It’s normal to have a passing feeling about ending your life. But it can be dangerous if you notice those feelings lasting for a long time or becoming too intrusive or overwhelming.

When thoughts about ending your own life start taking control you should talk to someone about how you’re feeling.

The Sands Helpline  0808 164 3332 is open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 9.30 am to 9.30 pm on Tuesday and Thursday; or email [email protected].

Outside of these hours, you can access our Online Community  or download Sands Bereavement Support App from Apple Store or Google Play on your smartphone.

If you feel you need professional help urgently, you can contact your GP surgery, ring 111, visit your local walk-in centre, or A&E. You can also contact the Samaritans.

How to help a man who is grieving for a baby

Being there for a male friend or family member whose baby has died may seem really challenging and you may not know where to start, but there are a few simple steps you can take.

Be there to listen

The benefits of simply listening to someone are incredibly powerful.

Don’t worry about saying the right things, just ask them to tell you about their baby and give them time to talk. Ask them what their baby looked like, or what name they decided to give them, this will show you’re interested and want to listen

Give reassurance that they are valued and important.

Don’t try to problem solve and don’t say, “Everything will be ok” or “You can try for another baby”.

Listening will be more helpful.

Silence might feel much louder for you than for them. Just being with someone whilst they think and sometimes speak is incredibly helpful.

Offer practical help

The simple things in life will feel impossible so be ready to step in.

In the early days, it can be hard to put one foot in front of the other, let alone, go shopping, eat, or pick children up from school. Anything you can do to help, like cooking a meal, or doing some shopping will be helpful.

Keeping things real

It may not feel possible but life does go on – you are a vital part of that.

If you’ve always done a regular activity on a particular night, try to keep this going, even if you don’t talk much whilst you’re there. Routine can be really helpful and knowing you’re there will mean a huge amount. 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.

Be aware: they may feel like they can’t go on

If you think someone is really low and may be at risk of taking their own life don’t be afraid to ask.

Ask a question and be specific “How are you feeling today – you seem low” or “How’s this week been?” Making it specific sounds like a real question that you want a proper answer to, rather than general politeness.

Listen more than you speak, use open questions or reflect back what they’ve said – “So you’re feeling really down today?” and leave time and space for them to respond.

Don’t be scared to ask if they’ve been thinking about taking their own life or have a plan – if they have, it may be a relief to admit to this and shows you’re not afraid to be supportive in their distress. If they haven’t got a plan, then you won’t have made anything any worse.

Warning signs that someone may be feeling suicidal

Sometimes there are no warning signs because the person wants to keep their personal crisis private, and so will work hard at hiding their thoughts and feelings.

Unexpected mood changes – including suddenly being calm and/or happy after being very depressed

Social withdrawal

Change in sleeping and eating patterns

Lack of energy

Neglect of personal appearance

Reckless behaviour

Increased drug or alcohol abuse

Anger or irritability

Talking about suicide or wanting to die– their statements may be vague or appear to be joking about it

Giving away possessions

Saying goodbye – to friends and family as if they won’t be seeing them again

Get advice for them

When someone’s baby has died they may not feel able to spend time looking for support for themselves. You can do the leg work for them.

At Sands we have support groups, an online community email and telephone support. You could get in touch on their behalf.

For details, please scroll to the bottom of this page, or visit www.sands.org.uk/support

Sands

Helpline: 0808 164 3332

Helpline open hours:

From 9:30 am to 5:30 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

From 9:30 am to 9:30 pm on Tuesday and Thursday

Outside of these hours, you can access Sands Online Community at sands.community

Alternatively download Sands Bereavement Support App from Apple Store or Google Play on your smartphone.

Ways Sands offers support: www.sands.org.uk/support

CALM

0800 58 58 58

thecalmzone.net

Helpline & web chat available 5pm to midnight every day

Samaritans

116 123 (24 hours)

www.samaritans.org

Maytree

020 7263 7070

www.maytree.org.uk/index.php

A sanctuary for the suicidal

MIND

0300 123 3393 (Mon – Fri 9am – 6pm)

www.mind.org.uk

Papyrus

0800 068 41 41 (Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm / 7pm – 10pm. Weekends 2pm – 5pm)

www.papyrus-uk.org

Prevention of Young Suicide

GriefChat

Losing a baby before, during or shortly after birth is arguably one of the hardest things anyone has to find a way through. What takes many people by surprise is how strong the emotions can be, how they can change very quickly, and how long they last. People around you may seem to think you should be ‘back to normal’ after a few weeks or months. You might appear to be your usual self to other people, but you know that on the inside, you’re not even sure what normal is anymore.

Everyone grieves in a way that is unique to them. Well-intentioned people may say to you, ‘Time is a great healer.’ Sometimes, however, it can seem that life is more difficult as the weeks and months go by.

We know that no-one can understand exactly what losing your baby feels like to you. But we do understand that it’s sometimes easier to talk to someone outside of your friends and family about grief and the impact of bereavement of your life and this is why we offer the GriefChat service, alongside Sands’ Helpline and our other support services.

GriefChat was created by bereavement experts and by clicking on the GriefChat box below, you can chat directly to a specially trained bereavement counsellor. GriefChat counsellors are experienced in supporting bereaved people and will listen to your story, explore how your grief is affecting you and help you to find any additional support you might need. GriefChat is a completely free service and is available Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm. You can email or message Sands or GriefChat outside of these hours.

GriefChat provides emotional support for bereaved people, access to trained bereavement counsellors and referral on to Sands’ specialist bereavement services.