Father’s Day is 20th June this year in the UK. It can be challenging for bereaved dads in the run up to the day, seeing reminders in shops and hearing about other people’s plans for the day. If you have other children, it may feel a struggle to join in with celebrations when you are missing your child who died.
If you have no other children, it can feel as if you’ve lost your identity as a father. But, bereaved dads are still dads and that it can be really important to find a way to keep a sense of connection with your baby or child who has died. You are not alone, and we have listed some suggestions for things that can help and connecting with other bereaved dads below.
What can I do?
It can be good to plan ahead for the day and think about what would be helpful for you. Try and be compassionate towards yourself in accepting it may be a tough day and give yourself permission to feel sad.
We have permanent bonds to those we have loved, and their death doesn’t bring an end to that bond. Even though we may miss them or the things we hoped to do with them, terribly, we can honour that bond and love that remains.
It can help to write down your thoughts and get them out of your head and make a plan for the day. You might like to use something like this template from Whatsyourgrief.com. Try to plan something that could be uplifting for yourself as well.
It can be good to speak or message with other men who understand what you are going through. Some groups base support around an activity like going away for an activity trip or playing football. Others might have online support via Facebook or provide peer to peer support.
It’s important to find what works for you.
You might like to take on a challenge that could be linked to fundraising for a cause that’s important to you, in your child’s memory. Paul took on the February 50 challenge and cycled in memory of his son Toby.
By having support for yourself or an outlet to vent emotions, many men find they can be more supportive of partners and can cope better with life.
The Lullaby Trust have Dad Befrienders who you can speak with. You can read about Rob’s story, one of our Befrienders here. Our befrienders also answer our Freephone support line 0808 802 6868, 6-10pm on weekends and public holidays.
You might like to create a Lullaby Trust Memorial as a way of remembering your baby or child. It can be a focal point for family and friends to post messages and photos, light candles in remembrance or make a donation in memory
You might like to connect with some other groups and organisations for dads listed below:
- Daddy’s with Angels (DWA) are an international charity providing support and guidance to all family members affected by the loss of a child at any age or gestation and by any cause
- Sands United FC is a unique way for dads and other bereaved family members to come together through a shared love of sport and find a support network where they can feel at ease talking about their grief when they’re ready. The teams also commemorate their babies’ all too brief lives by proudly displaying their names on the kit worn for every match.
- Strong Men supports men following any bereavement through weekenders and peer to peer support
- Angels United FC A football club, support group co-founded by a group of dad’s that all have one thing in common
- Miscarriage For Men A page set up to help men through miscarriage; links for advice, blogs from personal experiences, a chat support function & forum to share experiences in order to support each other moving forward.
Our Bereavement Support Helpline
If you would like the opportunity to talk freely, for as long as required, with a sympathetic and understanding listener please call our bereavement support helpline on 0808 802 6868 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.