When a baby passes away because of stillbirth or neonatal death, it’s very sad. There’s no right way for you and your partner to feel or to grieve. People deal with this grief in their own ways.
Research from the British Miscarriage Association suggests that more than 50 per cent of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage or stillbirth, but that almost half of all men whose partners miscarry never speak about their grief with their partner for fear of saying the wrong thing.
The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) understands how important a support network can be during times like these and this is why it launched the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to help deal with challenges during bereavement.
The Charity’s Programme ensures that employees and their immediate family members have a shoulder to lean on at the most difficult times, by offering them vital support services including bereavement counselling, legal advice and financial assistance and grants.
One example where the Charity has offered a helping hand in a time of need is in the case of John and his family. John initially came to the charity for support after the tragic loss his little baby girl, Rosie, who was stillborn.
The loss of Rosie caused significant distress to John, his wife and their young daughter. John’s experience had a detrimental effect on his relationship and own wellbeing. Men often grieve loss as intensely as women. They just have fewer opportunities to express this. As a result, great sadness may sometimes morph into anger. To manage the psychological distress, John had closed himself off and shut down his feelings and consequently engaged in self-harming behaviours to relieve the pain and trauma he was going through.
The EIC stepped in to provide John with care and support with regards to his self-harming and the charity also sourced and funded bereavement therapy with a specialist counsellor for both John and his wife to regularly attend and provided support in the form of a child psychologist for their daughter. The therapy and counselling the EIC provided was instrumental in giving the family an individual space to discuss the pain they were experiencing.
Recent research suggests that men are more likely to engage in increased alcohol consumption to deal with a loss. Furthermore, men tend to engage in behaviours of avoidance which can lead to a relationship breakdown and prolonged grief.
John completed a psychiatric assessment and was diagnosed with a mood disorder. John’s circumstances were further complicated by relationship difficulties which had started due to past intermittent substance misuse and a previous history of personal trauma.
However, now dealing with the severe trauma of losing their child, John and his wife had found they were struggling with their relationship even more so. John had communicated that he and his wife had always been turbulent, however, the relationship had become dysfunctional.
Their destructive relationship persisted until after months of therapy John decided he felt strong enough and able to break from the cycle. He unfortunately left the family home and found a space of his own; he also limited communication with his now ‘ex’ partner and maintains a civil relationship for their daughter’s sake.
John has periods of ups and downs and the Electrical Industries Charity sourced further assistance for John in the form of EDMR therapy, which is defined as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy, in which he attends regular sessions. This is an interactive psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress. During EMDR therapy sessions, you relive traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses while the therapist directs your eye movements.
The EIC maintain regular communication with John, and he recently completed his psychiatric follow-up. These are important as it allows the EIC to track changes and progress. John is doing much better and feels more in control of his life.
Thanks to support from the industry, every year the Electrical Industries Charity is able to offer hundreds of our industry colleagues both practical and emotional support during their time of need.
If you or someone you know is struggling to deal with a traumatic event and requires support, please contact the EIC support team: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 652 1618. For more information visit: www.electricalcharity.org