Sunday, 15 October 2017

October 9th - 15th has been Baby Loss Awareness week across the world, culminating with the Wave of Light this evening at 7pm.

We know that not everyone will be able to make it to an event due to many reasons, from work to family commitments, so we ask that where possible you can light a candle for an hour between 7 - 8pm.
If you know someone who has lost their baby or child and are unable to light a candle please try and light an extra one for their angel.

Becoming a bereaved family is something no one ever wants to become but once you are you become part of this 'family' that understands and appreciates the pain people are in. You will not be judged nor criticised for how you grieve and you will always be able to find someone who wants to talk about your angels.

Going along to a memorial event today can be the first step for some families in seeking help and support. Even if you are not a religious family just getting together with other bereaved families can make a big difference. Not all events are held in churches if this is something that could deter you from going, and many events can be found on social media or local newspaper websites.

Charlies-Angel-Centre Foundation are going along to the Candle Lighting for Miscarriages, Stillbirths & Infant loss event to be held at Church of the Epipheny, Beech Lane, Gipton, Leeds. The event starts at 18.45 till 20.00. We will be there to light candles for our own precious angels as well as being available for support for any of the families attending.

There will be thousands of events like this all across the world and at each there will be many many candles lit. If all those lights could be seen together I'm sure all our angels would be able to see them and feel how much they are all missed and loved.


Charlie Arthur Curtis - born at 04.11am on the 29th December 2012 and gained his angel wings 19 minutes later at 04.30 in the arms of his mummy. He was and always will be a very special little boy who was so greatly loved by all of his family and is missed every single day. Charlie and his mummy have inspired so many people to fight for improvements to bereavement support following the death of a baby or child and his legacy will live on for many years to come.


Our candles will shine brightly for you tonight Charlie

Sunday, 8 October 2017



We are supporting so many more families each and every week and one of the most frequent things we get asked is Can you get through this feeling of total and utter despair.


What we always tell them is you're entitled to whatever feeling that comes up. You may feel intense anger, guilt, denial, sorrow, and fear, all of which are normal for a bereaved parent.
Nothing is off the table, nothing is wrong. If the urge to cry comes up, just do it. Give yourself permission to feel.
Keeping your emotions bottled up is just way too hard. If you keep your emotions inside, you'll only make yourself feel worse about the saddest thing you have ever experienced. It's perfectly natural and even healthy to let yourself feel everything you can about this loss, because this will put you on the path to accepting it.


You won't ever fully be able to get over it, but you'll be able to build the strength to deal with the death of your child. If you don't embrace your feelings, you won't be able to move forward.
There is also no timetable to your grieving process. Every individual is just that: an individual. Bereaved parents may experience many of the same emotions and difficulties; however, each parent's journey is different depending on personality and life circumstances and experiences.


When you go on your computer or read a book about bereavement it always used to give you 5 stages of grief that begin with denial and end with acceptance. We know from experience that this does not happen, yes you will possibly experience a lot of the emotions but many will go through many different feelings. New thinking is that there is no series of steps to be completed in the grieving process. Instead, people experience a grab bag of feelings and symptoms that come and go and eventually lift.


Because the grieving process is so personal to each individual, couples sometimes find themselves at odds because they can't understand the other's way of dealing with the loss. Understand that your spouse may have different coping mechanisms than you do and allow him or her to grieve in the way that suits them.


During the grieving process, many people will experience a state of numbness. In this state, the world may seem like a dream or seem to go on separate from them. People and things that once brought happiness evoke nothing at all. This state could pass quickly or linger for a while, it's the body's way of offering protection from overwhelming emotions. With time, feelings and connections will return.


For many, the numbness begins to wear off after the first anniversary of your child's death, and then true reality can hit very hard.


Many parents say that the second year is the most difficult.


Some parents find the thought of returning to work unbearable while others prefer to throw themselves into the daily activity and challenges that work offers. Find out what the bereavement policy is at your workplace before making your decision. Some companies also offer employees paid personal days or the opportunity to take an unpaid leave.


Don't allow fear of letting your company down force you to return to work before you're ready. When someone we love dies, we lose the ability to concentrate or focus, your brain doesn't work right when your heart is broken.


Try to wait at least one year before making any major decisions. Don't sell your house, change locations, divorce a partner or alter your life significantly. Wait until the fog has lifted, and you can clearly see the options available to you.


Be careful of impulsive decision-making in daily life. Some people adopt a "Life is short" philosophy that pushes them to take unnecessary risks in the living of their lives to the fullest.


If you find comfort in your faith, turn to it now to help in your grief.


Some families we have helped have said that the loss of their child had damaged their religious beliefs, and that's okay.


In time, you may find that you are able to return to your faith.


The phrase "Time heals all wounds" may sound like a meaningless cliche, but the truth is that you will recover from this loss in time.


Initially, memories will hurt you to your core, even the good ones, but at some point that will begin to change, and you'll come to cherish those memories. They'll bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.


It’s important to know that it's okay to take time off from grieving; to smile, laugh and enjoy life. This does not mean you're forgetting your child that would be impossible.


While your impulse may be to blame yourself for what's happened, resist the urge. There are simply things that happen in life and nature that cannot be controlled. Beating yourself up about what you could have, would have, should have done is counterproductive to healing.


For some parents, all they want to do is to sleep. Others find themselves pacing the floors at night and staring blankly at the TV. The death of a child takes an extreme toll on the body. Science has shown that a loss this big is similar to a major physical injury, so you absolutely need rest. Give in to the urge to sleep if you have it, otherwise, try to establish a night time routine that can help ease you into a good night's sleep.


Sometimes, in the days immediately following your child's death, relatives, and friends may bring you food so that you don't have to cook. Do your best to eat a little each day in order to keep up your strength.


It's difficult to deal with negative emotions and everyday activities when you're physically weak.


Eventually, you will return to making your own meals. Keep it simple. Bake a chicken or make a big pot of soup that can last for a few meals.






Whether or not you're finding it difficult to eat, try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Sip on a cup of soothing tea or keep a refillable water bottle with you. Dehydration is physically draining, and your body is already being drained enough.


While it's understandable that you may want to blot out the memory of your child's death, excessive use of alcohol and drugs can aggravate depression and create a whole new set of problems to deal with.


Some parents find that a sleep aid is a necessity, and that anti-anxiety or anti-depression medication helps them better cope. There are many varieties of these medications, and finding the right one that works best can be a daunting task, and one best undertaken with the help of your doctor. Work with your doctor to find what works for you and to make a plan for how long you'll be on medication.


It's not uncommon for friends to pull away during this grieving period. Some people simply do not know what to say, and those that are parents may feel uncomfortable with the reminder that the loss of a child is possible. If friends urge you to get over your grief you may want to distance yourself from them for a while whilst you deal with your grief.


Knowing that you're not alone in your grief and that others are facing similar challenges can be comforting. Bereavement support groups for parents are available in many communities. These groups offer a number of benefits including the chance to tell your story in a supportive, non-judgemental environment, a decreased feeling of isolation and people who validate and normalise each other's emotional reactions. We have been running a support group for the past 2 years and families have said to us that they have found them really useful.


October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month, a time to honour and remember babies who died during pregnancy or as newborns. Each of us will find our own way of honouring our angels, whether it is lighting a candle or releasing a balloon.





This month is a time when we could all reach out and support other families that we can see are struggling or someone who just needs a friend to talk to.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The death of a child not only changes a parent forever, it can also permanently alter a couple’s marriage/relationship. 
As individuals you have to deal with the confusing, and painful emotions. You also have to deal with the pain and totally overwhelming feelings that come with the death of a child. As a couple you then must deal with how each of you has been affected.
Initially it might feel like you have become strangers to each other. You are both trying to process what has happened and how to keep going day to day. Then it can feel like your relationship cannot be the same as it was before.
What you need to remember is it is the marriage/relationship of two people who have shared a very tragic loss. You are two people who have seen each other grieving, two people who are going through the hardest relationship struggle that couples can experience.
You will become new people, a new couple who have no idea if you can or should return to being your old selves. You are beginners at dealing with this kind of grief, and beginners at coming to terms, as a couple, with whatever is going on in your life as individuals and as a couple. Grief is likely to drain you for weeks, months, or even years and you may feel that you are in some kind of limbo, just trying to do the minimum to get along.
Your child’s death makes you feel different from most people you know. Although there are so many families that have lost a child, you may not know anyone. Often others are reluctant to come and comfort you as they are unsure what to say or do to help. Most will never have had a similar experience and may not feel comfortable approaching you.
Added to all this, grieving can make your relationship difficult. Feeling down so much, being needy and looking at everything in new ways after a child dies, it is easy for you and your spouse to see many negatives in each other. It may highlight negatives in each other and in your relationship that may have been ignored or were not present in the past. So in addition to dealing with the loss of a child, you may have to deal with how to change your relationship, or even with the possible loss of it.
If you can work together and grieve together, you may have success at reducing the arguing, blaming, and hurt feelings. You may have success dealing with communication difficulties, disappointments, and other issues that can undermine your relationship. And you may be able to offer support, help, and understanding for each other.
Parenting together is a shared journey, and dealing with a child’s death is as well. In bereavement, the journey will be hard, but it does not have to end in disaster.
After a child’s death, most couples worry that it will be very hard to stay together. Even if they do, they often worry about whether it will change everything.
I think bereaved couples have the same reasons most couples have for staying together—their history together, the emotional investments their relationship represents, the ways they depend on each other, and feelings of affection. But I also believe many bereaved parents are motivated by an additional factor. Their commitment is rooted in a sense that no one else knew the child as well or could understand as much what was lost when their child died.
You will also find that you and your partner will not grieve the same way. You are both very different in personality, upbringing, current responsibilities, the relationship you had with the child, and life experiences. Even if those things didn’t guarantee that you and your partner will mourn in your own way, women and men differ in numerous ways that will show up in how you deal with your child’s death.
In some couples, one partner believes how and when the other grieves is wrong, or one partner’s grief make the other feel uncomfortable. If over a long period, you let such differences upset you or if your differences lead to conflict, they can be a wedge that pushes the two of you far apart.
Everyone has different paces through grieving. 
One of you might have stronger feelings or a certain feeling soon after the loss, while the other might feel those things later. Whichever happens to you is the right way for you to grieve.
You might both move quickly into talking, reading, thinking, and feeling to deal with the death. However sometimes one of you might feel ready to talk while the other might not. Again, accepting the difference is so important.
One of you may try to be “strong” while the other is grieving intensely. Strong might mean doing necessary things around the house instead of focusing on grief or feeling that there was no point in doing things. Strong might mean not being swamped emotionally, or it might mean acting like things will be better. Lots of men feel the need to be strong for their partner, holding off their grief in order to be strong and supportive
Differences in outward emotions can lead to resentment in some couples. When one feels down and the other seems okay, each may resent the other. One might think, “How can you be so upbeat when our child is dead?” The other might think, “When you are down like this you drag me down as well”. They may also think “I am worried about you.” But these differences are to be expected and accepted.
There can also be misunderstanding on both sides. 
The partner who controls emotions less can resent the other for seeming not to care about the child. The partner who controls emotions more may not understand how much the one who is more emotional must be that way. In some couples there seems to be turn-taking in emotional control. When one partner is deep in grief, the other controls his or her emotions enough to do the everyday things. 
The main point is that you should expect and tolerate differences between you and your partner. Doing so is not likely to make the grieving process any easier. However, it should help you and your partner to maintain a stronger relationship as you deal with the death of your child.
Some couples have no serious problems after their child’s death. But other couples, even years later, struggle to build back their relationship. For some, serious difficulties never arise in dealing with their child’s death. But for others, there are real struggles.
People learn and change. 
You can find things in yourselves that can change you and your relationship. Together you can get your relationship back on track.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

We know from our own experiences how important having memorial things for your baby or child are. They give you the opportunity to make memories together with other family members and give you something/somewhere that you can go to whenever you want to. A family that get to take their child home can go away and make many many memories over the years together and can sit and share them whenever they want to.A family that has to leave the hospital with empty arms are not able to make any future memories together, the memories they managed to share in those brief but important days after their baby's/child's death are the only ones they will have.When you lose a baby or child, whether it through miscarriage, stillbirth, shortly after birth or during early childhood the grief is unimaginable. This can be compounded by not having something or somewhere to go to grieve your child. There is no typical way to commemorate these children and no socially acceptable way to grieve. Parents can feel confused and alone in their sorrow.As a family we were driven by a strong desire to do something to remember Charlie. We all had our own ideas of what we wanted to do and over the years we have all added more and more things to our memorial items. I always buy a new Christmas tree bauble every year, most of the family have had tattoo's in Charlie' honour and we have all found many different things. 

Finding your way to memorialise your child can bring some comfort.The thing many families struggle with is not being able to take any new photographs as your child changes and grows. This makes the pictures you took at the hospital so precious and being able to put them onto canvas or have them framed beautifully can help with the memory making.There are now charities that will come along to the hospital and take pictures for you. They are very discrete and are able to get photos that will be so important for the family.Some families I have spoken with have had the pictures they took put into a video with special songs playing along with some video footage of their child. Whilst it is very emotional to watch it can bring such comfort to them.Other families have told me how they sent out cards letting their friends and family know what has happened. Whilst this may sound strange it can help the family by not constantly having to be asked what has happened.A lot of people I have met have had tattoo's to honour their child, many having their footprints or date of birth along with a poem or a piece of writing they have found comforting. I have a few tattoo's over the years in memory of family I have lost and am proud to show them off and talk about them.

Jewellery is another way a lot of families choose to remember their child. There are so many companies that now do special memorial jewellery and will also place some of the ashes within so they can have their child with them at all times.I think this is such a lovely thing to have and brings so much comfort and love to bereaved families.Some families who lost their child through miscarriage can often feel forgotten as they will not always have been able to take pictures or have any ashes to place anywhere. They still need to be able to grieve and desperately need something to help them honour their child. As a charity we understand how important a memorial gift can be and this is what made us start having memorial gardens made to give to the families we support. They are all unique with no other one being exactly alike. Recently we have delivered quite a few to families and everyone of them has said how nice it is to have something just for their child. Regardless of how grieving parents acknowledge their loss, finding a concrete or symbolic action that is meaningful to their family can help with the healing process and bring comfort over time. We provide our memorial gardens for free to the families we support. We fund them by having a Just Giving campaign that donations can be made to to enable us to keep giving them out to bereaved parents and families.https://www.justgiving.com/…/charlies-a…/memorialgardengifts

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Last night was our 2nd Charity Ball and what a fantastic night it was.

Saturday afternoon saw 10 of us arrive at The Hunslet Club armed with decorations and chair covers. 
After our first event in 2016 we felt confident that we would be able to get the room ready in record time, I think we even surprised ourselves at just how quickly we had it finished and looking stunning, we really are an awesome team when we it comes to room dressing.


We then all headed home to get glammed up for the evening.

White Rose Photo Booth hire set up their booth ready for everyone to go along and have a bit of fun with all the costumes and silly poses it was asking you to do. There are lots of pictures from the evening. Click on the link below to go to the event page to see all the other pictures.



Our guests began arriving at around 6.15pm and a few butterflies began charging around in our stomachs. We have definitely found out over the last few years that we are very good at appearing calm and in control when inside we are very nervous but excited. We also have learnt that we always manage to pull off any event we plan and Charity Ball 2017 was no exception.

The room looked awesome and everyone commented on how nice everything looked.

Quickly the tables began to fill and the evening began to unfold.



The caterers did an amazing job of getting everyone served and satisfied in a speedy time. The pudding went down very well !!



Whilst people were eating and socialising we had magician Adam Casper going around the tables entertaining the guests. He is such a talented magician and certainly left many people looking very confused and baffled. Thank you for coming along Adam.



Next came the speech to welcome everyone to the evening and was followed by a video telling our story and reason behind the charity as well as remembering & honouring many families angels. It was a beautiful video but also a very emotional one, it really puts the evenings true cause in the front of your mind. There were so many photos that showed their beautiful faces, it really hits you that they are no longer with us. 
I am sure there were a few tears shed within the room but that was okay, this charity is a group no one wants to become a member of but once you are in it you become part of Charlies Angel Centre family. This makes it a safe and comfortable place to share feelings and show support. 

Last year we gave out 2 awards to Charlies young cousins for their amazing dedication to the charity. 
This year has seen the charity grow way beyond our expectations which helped us to honour many more of the people who have supported us either by fundraising for us or by attending events.

The first award of the evening was presented to Lyndon Campbell from Bevan Brittan Solicitors for their amazing support so far this year. Eight of the staff took part in the Leeds 10k and raised over £3000. We were also informed by them last night that they were not just doing the 10k they are going to be fund raising for us for 12 months. What an amazing bunch of people they are, thank you doesn't seem a big enough word but we are truly thankful to them.


Our next award went to Maria Davidson who makes the beautiful memorial gardens we give to families as a way for them to honour and remember their angel. Each garden is unique and they are so beautiful, Thank you so much Maria.

                                 


Award 3 went to Pauline from LHA Car & Commercial Ltd. Not only have they been our main sponsor for the evening but they are also making regular donations to us by asking their customers to make a donation to us when they go in for bulb changes instead of paying for them. What a brilliant idea, Thank You so much.



We then had 2 awards that came about through our contact with families. There have been so many families that mentioned two people who had really made a huge difference to how they managed to deal with and get through those immediate days and weeks after the loss of their baby or child. 
 The award for Outstanding Contribution to Bereavement Support went to Sam Oakes (Nurse Specialist in PostMortem Consent), she will go above and beyond her role and families speak so highly of her. She has also been very helpful to us whenever we have needed help or advice.


The award for Bereavement Support Officer went to Sharon Mobbs who works in the Bereavement Liaison Team based at St James's hospital.Sharon is always there for the families who go in to see her, many are often in a very distressed state. Sharon will make sure that they leave knowing the next steps that need to take place and feel like they are being looked after, she will also check in on the families to make sure they are okay.



Our 2 final awards went to Rhiann & Amy Curtis (Charlies cousins) for their continued energy and enthusiasm in their fundraising efforts. Earlier this year they both raised over £500 by taking part in the Radical Run.



Next came the auction and the raffle. The comedian who was supposed to come along to compere the auction had been unable to attend and I was getting a little nervous thinking I would have to do it. Thankfully one of our friends and guest, Lorraine, agreed to step in. Lorraine was amazing and has definitely missed her true vocation in life.

The auction raised a phenomenal total of £1166.50.

We had our expert raffle ticket seller Gemma on the case and she did another amazing job. The total raised from the raffle was £310.

With all the formalities out the way it was now time to let the music begin. there were some very fascinating dancing going on but everyone looked to be having a wonderful evening.

The total raised from the Ball is a huge £2,926.50

Yet again our supporters have blown us away, this is such a brilliant amount and will allow us to continue to provide the free help and support to the families who come to us. We have been sharing lots of pictures from the night on our facebook site, please go and check them out.

We are all feeling shattered today but are already thinking ahead to how much bigger the evening will be in 2018. 

Thank You for all your support for 2017, we hope to see you all again next year.

Friday, 8 September 2017

When someone close to you dies, your world is totally torn apart. 
When that loss is your baby or child that feeling is magnified a hundred fold. You feel as fragile as the thinnest tissue paper, feeling as if the slightest breeze might break you up completely. 
Friends, with only good intentions at heart, may try to console you, but so many of them don't know what to say or how to say it.
“What if I say something stupid?”. “What if I say something that makes them cry?” 
On most occasions there is nothing you can say that will make them feel sadder than they already are and just by trying to support them you will make them feel that you care.
However, there are some things that you really need to avoid saying to anyone that is grieving. Over recent weeks when I have visited families nearly all of them have mentioned at least one of the things I am going to cover. Whilst they really appreciated that people had made the effort to visit them they felt that some of the things they said they had really not thought about.
A common response that many families have said they have been told is
"Cheer up, your loved one would not want you to be sad"
I can almost understand the reasoning behind this but when you have just lost a loved one you cannot even think about feeling happy. You may feel that you are relieved that they are not suffering anymore but you have had a huge part of your life turned upside down and inside out. Grievers need to be sad in order for them to get to the other side of grief. When you love deeply you grieve deeply and the sadness is an important part of that.
Another common reaction is
"Try to focus on all the good things you have in your life."
Again, they are trying to give you support but it is not what a grieving person wants to hear when they have just had their world shattered into pieces. Trying to think of anything positive in your life at that time is almost impossible to do.
In time trying to look on the good things in your life may be possible but at that moment they will not want to be standing there saying look how lucky I am. 
"She/he is in a better place"
When you have just lost your baby or child the last thing you want to hear is this sentence, no matter how well meaning the person is. The best place for that child to be should be in their mothers arms with their family around them. Even people I have met who have a strong faith have said that this is where they have questioned their beliefs, some even struggling to return to their place of worship as they are questioning all they have been told over the years.
 “It’s been awhile since they died, It’s time you get over it.”
There is never a time limit on grief and people who say this have never experienced the death of someone close to them. Some people may find that they can move through their grief quicker than others but there should never be pressure put on them to move on and stop grieving. Most families will grieve for many many years and they will learn to live their life in a different way to before their loss, this does not mean they have moved on they have just found a way that enables them to keep going.
 “Cherish all of the wonderful memories. They will bring you peace.” 
I think this statement can be true, in time. But the last thing a newly grieving person wants to hear is to cherish the memories. When their heart is hurting and their mind is spinning and their faith is broken, thinking about memories cuts them because the only thing they want to do is create new memories, which they can no longer do.
 Also when it is the loss of a baby before birth, at birth or soon after birth, the families only have that small window of time before the funeral to make the memories that they will have forever. Knowing that these are the only memories you will have is not a comforting feeling, it feels as if your world is being pulled apart.
 “Pull yourself together because you need to be there for your kids.”
Grief, in its initial stages, is the emotional equivalent to having major surgery. The person is fragile and needs to heal. Following surgery, health care professionals will advise the patient to take it easy and focus on herself. No one would expect the patient to hop down off of the operating table after undergoing heart surgery so that she can fix her kids dinner. So please don’t make a grieving parent feel even worse by suggesting that she’s neglecting her children due to her grief. That’s just cruel.
Grief affects every aspect of someone’s physical and emotional health. It interferes with one’s ability to sleep, eat, concentrate, and function. Therefore, no one has the right to ask another person to swallow her pain in order to focus on others. Doing so only prolongs grief.
 “So, how about the match at the weekend?”
Though it may seem like you’re doing the griever a favour by keeping conversations at a superficial level, what grievers need is someone who is willing to let them be real. They need someone who isn’t afraid to talk about the tough stuff. The sad stuff. The human stuff. They need someone who will sit and listen and maybe even cry with them. This isn’t to say that you must never discuss sports or the weather. Just try to keep in mind that real healing comes from some of the heavier conversations.
 “I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now.” 
You need to do just that. Stop and think about how you would feel if you were faced with the griever’s circumstances. Consider their feelings, contemplate their pain, imagine their struggle. 
Doing so will spark empathy in you. And empathy is the best thing you can offer someone who is hurting because when you empathise, the right words will come more freely.
Reading this might be making you feel like you don't want to ever talk to someone grieving because you don't want to make their pain worse. You can never make their pain worse, the worst thing that could have happened to them has happened. Just remember to be there for them and let them cry, talk or even sit there in silence. 
Doing this can make such a difference to the grieving family and by doing so you have been a caring, loving friend.

Friday, 1 September 2017

 Understanding and helping a grieving father can sometimes feel difficult. 

But it isn't and it shouldn't be.

Often people will shy away from offering support because they think the man is 'coping'.

Through our own views, from what society has taught us, on how men should behave we can think that they don't need help.  
Men tend to handle their emotions very differently to women and grief is no exception. It is also a sad reality of our society that we deem that men should be the strong ones and don't need to grieve like the mother.

A couple going through the loss of their baby or child need to be able to understand and accept that they will both grieve very differently. The loss of their baby/child is such a devastating event that if the couple can not understand how their partner is reacting it can lead to them growing apart or even splitting up. 

Being able to understand and accept that everyone is different and deals with grief differently can be a way of being able to support each other in a positive way and can even lead on to them not becoming bogged down by 'destructive blaming' that can happen.
Grieving together can bring a couple even closer and make the relationship even stronger.

Grieving fathers can respond very differently to the mother and may even not show any emotion. 

This does not mean that they do not feel the pain as deeply as the woman or grieve the loss any less.

Men are often bought up to feel that they are the provider and the protector and they must keep strong for their family in times of distress.

Society is now beginning to realise more and more that 'men grieve too' and that it is acceptable for men to show their emotions in life situations. 
With mental health becoming a more understood area and so much emphasis nowadays being put in to mental well being and mindfulness hopefully it will be much more easy and expected that the father needs to be able to grieve openly.

We are beginning to see the change in attitude to men needing help and support through grief. We are now more frequently getting men referred to us or are ringing us up after finding our website when looking for help.
Some men may never feel comfortable showing their emotions but that is also true of some women. 

An area that can make the man try to hide or bury his feelings is the return to work. 
When a woman experiences the loss of a baby at birth they are still entitled to their maternity leave but the father is still only entitled to the 2 week paternity leave. 
The added pressure of being the main wage earner can make men return to work when really they should be at home with their partner grieving the death of their child. They may also work in an environment where there is no support available to him which can lead to them burying their emotions.

Some men may divert the feelings they are feeling into activities or exercise, they can go along to a gym and express their anger and frustration by lifting weights, hitting the punch bag or running for miles on the treadmill. Whilst this is a brilliant way for them to release their pent up emotions they still need to be able to talk about their child.

Whatever way you respond to your grief is okay for you and whether you are male or female should not influence the support you find offered to you. 

We need to start realising and acknowledging that Daddy's grieve just like mummy's do. They need someone to acknowledge their feelings and not to make them feel like their feelings are less valid than any one else's.

There are more and more groups starting up to support men through grief and we are hoping in the future to be able to offer a support group at our office for men. Hopefully this will continue to grow and eventually there will be as many places for men to go to as women. 

Grief affects everyone and no father should ever feel that they can not find or deserve help and support. 

Charlies-Angel-Centre.org.uk