Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Feeling Left Out

I started this blog as a way try and get fathers more included in the loss community. I was upset that the majority of the posts only referred to women, and the moms. I felt that fathers were being left out. I hope to try and change that.

It all started when my wife got a refrigerator magnet from the March of Dimes that says "Every mom deserves a healthy baby." I won't let that be on the front of the fridge. It is true, every mom does deserve that, but why leave the dads out? The March of Dimes site has that type of quote all over it. My search was not extensive, but in the 5 minutes I spent on the site I found not one reference to dads.

It has continued with sites like faces of loss, faces of hope. I saw the updates from them for leading up October 15th, and the first one mentioned only the loss a mom suffers through. Honestly I was a bit upset, and hurt. So I fired off a comment in reply to it asking about the fathers, and later that night my wife and I worked to change the status to better include fathers. I also emailed faces of loss with my reply, and posted it on their wall. What happened next surprised me, and has changed my outlook.

The email that I got back from faces of loss was wonderful. It not only apologized for not including the fathers, but gave the reason why. She said "The reason we don't do more to reach out to dads specifically on the website is that as a mom, I'm not sure what the dads are looking for. In the past, I've asked if there are men interested in taking the lead on developing that area, and have gotten no response. I feel strongly that it should be a dad (or groups of dads!) giving feedback on what they'd like to see in terms of support; I know my husband and I are very different in what we need/want, and I guess I feel weird about assuming I know what the men out there are looking for." She continued with "I think out of 1,000 stories posted, only 1 is from a dad so far, so this is really great to hear. Maybe you will start the ball rolling and other dads will follow! :)" (emphasis mine) That flipped a switch in my head. I think it was Gandhi that said "Be the change you wish to see." So here I am, trying to be that change.

I can not explain how liberating it was to sit down and write my story out. How excited I was when I saw over 50 people had read my story already today. That is 50 people who got to know my kids. 50 people who might be affected or find hope in my story. My hope is to get over 100 views on my story. And that two fathers who read it share their story.

Fathers are not left out of the loss community, by and large fathers do not participate. My story submitted to Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope is the second story submitted to them by a father. Who will be the third? Each father who post his story, or writes a blog makes it easier for the next father to post his story or write his blog. Write and submit your story, do it for you, for you children, and for other fathers. Women have been able to start to open up about loss only because they have started to talk about it. Each person who talks about it, makes it easier for the next person to talk about it, who then makes it easier for the next and the next and the next and on and on. I hope that some one reading this post, or my last post is the third story submitted.

1 comment:

  1. JP, as a wife to a husband who I know has felt our loss just as deeply as I have, I want to express my gratitude for you standing up and telling your story. We lost our daughter to full-term stillbirth in late September, and though I have been able to write and talk about it, my husband has remained silent. He will talk to me about our daughter, and he supports me as I tell our story, but he feels uncomfortable talking about it himself with others. I wonder now if it's because so many of the stories we've been read and heard are from grieving mothers, not fathers, and he feels uncomfortable coming forward. I realize also that it's still a very fresh wound for us, and he has always been a little close with his darker emotions. But it is wonderful to hear other fathers' stories and hear the love that they have for their lost children. It's very true that every father deserves a healthy baby, as does every mother. Thank you.