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Charity urges support for ‘forgotten party’ of dads and partners in miscarriages

By Emma Bowden, PA
·3-min read

Dads are often the “forgotten party” in miscarriage and should receive more support, a charity has urged, after the Duchess of Sussex detailed her and the Duke of Sussex’s heartbreak following the loss of their baby.

In an article for The New York Times, Meghan described watching husband Harry’s “heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine”, while revealing she suffered a miscarriage earlier this year.

Zoe Clark-Coates, founder and chief executive of baby loss and bereavement charity The Mariposa Trust, said she hopes Meghan’s openness about Harry’s emotions shows miscarriage is “not just a women’s issue”.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex book
In the article, Meghan recalls being in a hospital bed while holding husband Harry’s hand (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “(Meghan) is clearly expressing here that it’s not just her that’s going through it, this is both of them as a couple that are going through it.”

Author Mrs Clark-Coates, who is co-chair of the Government’s review for pregnancy loss in the UK, said a “big part” of her work was looking at how what support is offered to men and partners.

“One of the clear things that’s been identified is the fact that women are often offered some sort of support, sometimes not great, sometimes amazing,” she said.

“But men are often the forgotten party and aren’t given any support at all. And that needs to change.

“That jumped out to me today, the fact that Meghan clearly was saying that both her and Harry were in equal agony, they were weeping together, they were heartbroken together.

“And I really hope that shows the world at large the fact that this is not just a women’s issue, this is something that affects couples, but also extended families, it affects other siblings, it affects grandparents, and extended family members too.”

The Mariposa Trust launched a campaign called “Dad’s Matter Too” in 2017 in order to highlight the issue and ensure men who experienced baby loss received the support, information and advice that they needed.

Meanwhile, Tommy’s, the leading UK charity for research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, has launched a campaign aiming to provide specialist support to dads and partners.

Dads and partners are “often overlooked” and there is very little support available, according to the charity, which hopes to build a community to “break the silence”.

Sophie King, a midwife at Tommy’s, said research by the charity found that both parents can be left with post-traumatic stress following baby loss.

“People often focus on the mother who carried the baby which can mean the partner is overlooked but both have been through a loss and may need support,” she said.

“Attitudes to miscarriage and grief must change so that anyone who wants to open up or ask for help feels able to do so.”

In the article, published on Wednesday, Meghan recalls being in a hospital bed while holding husband Harry’s hand.

The duchess wrote: “Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realised that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, ‘Are you OK?’”

She goes on to say: “Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few.

“In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage.”