As A Man
As a man, when your child dies, social convention is that you take care of your partner. You make sure she is OK and support her. In doing this, you leave no time for yourself to come to terms with what has happened.
When our son passed away, my partner was very unwell. She spent 2 weeks in hospital after our loss. She nearly died the night before giving birth as she had suffered horribly with pre-eclampsia.
I must say our 2-week stay at the Sunderland Royal hospital was amazing; such caring and great midwives. I am still grateful to this day for them letting me sleep there for the 2 weeks, such compassion at the time was needed and helped in the initial days after losing Oliver.
When we were finally released home, we were fortunate that some friends and Nicole’s family had been to the house for us and removed all the stuff we bought for Oliver and put it in storage for us. Nicole was released under the care of the community midwife (who I might add went on holiday and didn’t tell her cover about Nicole) and was still quite ill.
I had to give her daily injections into her stomach as her caesarean section was quite bad. One day her 'c-section' opened up. I rang 111 and all they could suggest was to get up to the hospital.
At this point, neither of us worked and we had no money, We had to borrow money for a taxi, I was due to go to a job interview and Nicole begged me to go to that and that she would be ok at the hospital.
I went for the Job interview and as you can imagine found it very hard to concentrate on. The interview went well and a few weeks later I found out I got the job, albeit a temporary one.
Before I started the job I visited my GP practically begging for advice and help and didn’t get much other than some tablets and he gave me some contact details for a well know charity in my area who said they had nothing to help dads.
I started on the tablets and they helped for about a week, however, my depression and anxiety attacks soon flared up when I started the new job. For about 2 months, I made it into work, after that, I started having huge anxiety attacks on the train and bus and never made it back.
As it got towards October I started feeling a tiny bit better. October was the month where we would find out about our contracts being made permanent or extended, sadly mine wasn’t. To be honest, as a company had been great.
In December that year, I decided to take up training for the Private Security sector. I passed that and got my licence in January of 2014. I started working as a Door Supervisor in and around Newcastle, working as many hours as I could to distract myself.
Then some news came that neither of us was expecting; Nicole Was pregnant, 7 months after we lost Oliver. All the emotions, all the worry came back 10-fold. I eventually caved and tried to seek out help again. A quick search brought me across Daddys With Angels (don’t let the name fool you, they support everyone)
It's an organisation set-up by Paul Scully-Sloan in memory of his son TJ who sadly died. Having spoken to Paul I was able to join the male private support group on Facebook. Within in 24 hours of being added, I had more support than I had in the last year from professionals who are meant to be doing this.
To be able to join a group where everyone has lost a child, all to different circumstances from all over the world and to log on to Facebook and post and get help and advice was amazing and helped so much.
As the months progressed and we got closer to our rainbow being born, the depression was still niggling away, but somehow I managed to bury it, and do what society dictates to as men and carry on. In case you're wondering, a 'rainbow baby' is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.
As the months progressed, I threw myself into work more. Evelyn was born in September. I had recently started a new job and couldn’t get time off paid as had not been there long enough, but our little girl was here and healthy.
I had bought into the 'Rainbow Baby' term and was expecting things to all be OK. Boy, was I wrong! The depression didn't ease, it got worse.
I once again supported Nicole and put my feelings aside, using the Daddys With Angels group to vent my feelings, all whilst concentrating on our new baby and Nicole.
So from then till present, I started volunteering for Daddys With Angels, giving back to those who had helped me in the darkest days of my life.
Every chance I get I will talk about Oliver and my journey from then until now. With one point made over and over again, don’t fall into the trap of what society expects from us as men, as a man. Grieve in your own way, but do not bury your feelings. Do not do what I did.
You can’t take from an empty jar. In other words, how can you support anyone if you are broken yourself?. I can promise you the longer you bury things, the harder they are to try 'fix' and face up to.
Talk to your partner, talk to someone, do not suffer in silence.
For anyone, the loss of a child could be the hardest thing we'd have to face. It's obviously going to take its toll on both parents, but all too often 'Dad' gets missed. It's a huge credit to Warren for doing his very best for his partner and finally recognising his own wellbeing needs attention. It's fantastic that he found kindred spirits in Daddy's With Angels. Have you lost a child? How did you cope? Can you recognise the things Warren talks about? Let us know in the comments below.
You can keep up-to-date with Warren on Twitter, where he's @_Warrenmorris_ or Daddy's With Angels who are @DaddysWithAngel. You can also find out more about the great work they do over at daddyswithangels.org