The voice of dads

by Claudia Ravaldi

Perinatal bereavement is a very painful experience that affects all members of the family: parents, grandparents, uncles and siblings, however, little is said about it and the attention, when there is, is almost totally turned to the mother. There is still too little concern for fathers and their mourning.

There are still many cultural prejudices that see the father, the man in general, as the one who MUST be strong and who MUST support his partner by not showing his pain and emotions.

The man is expected to react and to overcome the bereavement in a short time and to devote himself to the care of his partner.

Many fathers, on the other hand, experience very intense emotions such as helplessness, anger, pain, lack and feel misunderstood by those around them who, often, not recognizing the intense bond that had already been created during pregnancy, do not allow them to have one. space and time to mourn. A space and above all a time that is not necessarily synchronous with that of the grieving mother and this, at times, can lead to further complications if the couple is not adequately accompanied.

“It was all absurd, we suddenly found ourselves in a nightmare, from which, however, we will never wake up, or in any case we are learning to live in it, trying in every way to process this tragedy, make it ours and learn to live with it.

When I think of Arianna I see her as a star, a star that came from the sky, which touched us and then returned to its place, leaving us an indelible mark.

The first months were very heavy, I had so much anger, despair, disbelief, it was all really difficult, there were times when I wanted to stay still and cry, others that I wanted to destroy anything with kicks and punches, but of course I knew I had to above all to help my wife, because only by using strength are we slowly managing to get out of it.

In this misfortune my wife and I have united even more, and we manage to give each other a lot of strength, and at least on this I feel I am lucky, this thing could have distanced us, divided us and it would have been much more difficult and long to metabolize. …

I had a breakdown after 3 months, when I saw some very small improvement in my wife, at one point I felt even more down, it almost felt like I came back and I couldn’t react, but she was ready to push me with the right words and the right advice.

Now, after 6 months from that day, I begin to see and think about the future, for two months I have also been doing individual psychotherapy meetings with the use of EMDR and I feel that they are helping me a lot.

I really begin to think that one day, fate permitting, I will be able to practice the “father’s profession”.

I say this because, although I have never been able to see my Arianna grow up, I still feel I was her father and she will always be my daughter, my first daughter “ (C. papa di Arianna)

“There was talk of his name that day of the” morphology “, rushing into the hospital as usual, taken by the daily family and work frenzy. Marco or Davide, heck, let’s not discuss it now, then we’ll think about it calmly that there is so much time….

What was supposed to be a normal routine check, a moment of joy and happiness, a day of celebration turned into something terrible, surreal, it was like living a nightmare but it was really happening. Laura, as if prepared, even before the doctors spoke, she said, breaking in those terrible seconds of silence <<there is no real heartbeat, I knew it …>> and immediately he turned to me to console me, as if I were the only one to console.

We were in seventh heaven until that day, and when you fall from above it hurts you so much. We had been looking for a long time for a little brother or sister for Luca, our eldest son of 4 years and our dream was about to come true.

… But everything fell apart in seconds.

The more time passed, the more I realized that I wasn’t having a nightmare, but it had really happened to us. I wanted to escape not to think. Fortunately, thanks to CiaoLapo we read how to deal with what was happening to us otherwise now I would surely have some regrets.

The more the days went by, the more the feelings of guilt grew in me for not being able to protect enough what we had received as a gift. I was looking for a reason for all this. Reason which then proved to be due to those natural causes to be taken into account and which have nothing to do with what we had gone through in the previous pregnancy. It is part of the “it can happen”….

Then a lot of anger and desire to escape. The phrases of those who ignore what is behind it and the words of comfort of those who have instead experienced the same situation as you, many more than those are given to know.

You try to be strong but in the evening when you dissolve your makeup, it all comes back.

It’s been a year since this happened. I have not yet been able to give away the games I had saved for Davide and do many other things… but slowly we are getting on track.

Nothing will ever be the same again, that lightness and lightheartedness of before is missing, those 4 months spent with Davide inside the belly are missing, but there is the awareness of what it was and that he is still a part of our family. “ (A. father of Davide and Luca).

Many fathers, for the reasons described above, arrive at CiaoLapo confused, disoriented and in difficulty in reconciling external expectations with the intense feelings they feel and they doubt that this is a place “for them” that have always been seen in the background. to mom.

Once in contact, however, with other fathers, other mothers and volunteers they realize that instead there is also the possibility for them to be able to express themselves freely, to be able to release anger, pain, sadness but also the immense love they feel for their girls and boys because the death of a child and the pain of mourning affects both mom and dad and I am immensely grateful to be able to welcome the stories of these mothers and fathers every day psychological support interviews for couples, individuals and in the self-help group for parents.

If you want to know more about mourning in fathers, download our flyer in the documents section of this site.

Read the chapter dedicated to fathers in our Little Principles text

For information on self-help groups or support paths in your region, write to [email protected]

Article edited by

Dr. Micaela S. Darsena

Psychotherapist psychologist

perfected in perinatal clinical psychology

Lombard referent for the CiaoLapo Onlus association

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