Self Care, What not to do
There is a Quote that has been kicking about in my family for years now and its "You can't take from a empty jar"
As a man when your child dies , social convention is that you take care of your partner , 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 ,
My Background When Our son passed away my partner was very unwell almost spending 2 weeks in hospital after our loss due to her nearly dying the night before giving birth. She had suffered horribly with pre-eclampsia (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-eclampsia/). I must say our 2 week stay at the Sunderland royal hospital was amazing , such caring and great midwife's.
I am still grateful to this day for them letting me sleep there for the 2 week, such compassion at the time was needed and helped in the initial days after loosing 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 and her C-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 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 few weeks later I would find out I got the job , be it 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 noting to help a 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 month 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 they as a company had been great.
So there I was back unemployed , depression creeping back in, During all this I concentrated my effort on Nicole who was still suffering with really bad depression.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 were 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 we support everyone)
A Organisation set up by Paul Scully-Sloan , set up in memory of his son TJ who sadly died, Having spoke to Paul I was able to join the male private support group on face book , within in 24 hours of been 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 is 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 some how I managed to bury it away, and do what society dictates to as men and carry on.
As the months progressed I sunk myself into work more , Evelyn was born in September, 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 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 till now , With one point made , Don't fall into the trap of what society expects from us as men , Grieve in your own way , but do not bury your feelings , Do not do What I Did. 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 As I said at the beaning You can't take from a empty jar" How can you support anyone if you are broken yourself