It’s Okay to want to honour your child
When we experience the loss of a much longed for baby, the way we each cope with the loss is different. And the way we wish to honour those children is as unique as we are; there are similarities, but we are all different. Even within the one household, partners can have very different wishes regarding how they want to honour their child.
But what about the ways we are the same?
We all yearn and have an ache for that child we know longer have. We grieve. We mourn.
Yet the way we deal with that grief is different.
The way we wish to honour our child is different.
Men’s experience of baby loss
Men feel the loss of a much longed for baby just as keenly as women, but often it is expressed differently. Men also deal with the loss in a different way than women. This is known and understood.
In the world of loss, and losing children, fathers are sometimes overlooked. The dad is there supporting the mum, and often the only question he’s asked is, “How is (insert wife’s name)?”
In our society, generally men are expected to suck it up, get on with it and get back to work. There is often very little time provided for them to be absent from work. And most organisations provide minimal bereavement leave, if any.
Father’s are expected not to show their emotions; to ‘be strong’, maintain societal expectations and to support their wife. This expectation of strength and stoicism can be an especially harmful expectation after a father has experienced the loss of a child.
My husband’s experience
My husband was fortunate to have a very understanding employer when we lost our second son. He was given four weeks off work, on full pay to stay at home and be with me and our first son.
This was invaluable for me. Especially in the first week or so when we had to make funeral arrangements and I desperately needed my husband around. But it was also incredible important for my husband. It gave him the time and space to grieve, mourn and just ‘be’ with our new reality. The loss of our child thrust us into a new world; where many things were physically the same but everything felt different.
The need to Honour your child
As the weeks passed, it became clear that my husband needed something to do. By the end of the second week an idea had formed. He needed a project.
He felt the urge to do something to honour and remember his son.
To physically make something.
Something big and bold and solid that could not be taken away from us.
A project to honour our child
And so it began. My normally office bound husband embarked on a massive project – to build from solid hardwood an outdoor table. Weeks of sawdust, many visits to the hardware store, somewhat blue air (there was a lot of frustration) and a mountain of timber. And then it was done.
A stunning solid hardwood outdoor dining table. And four bench seats (with backs) to match.
Practical yet beautiful.
A timeless outdoor setting.
Born and created from grief; handmade with love.
An heirloom, legacy item that was made purely to honour our stillborn son.
Would you like to honour your child, but are not sure where to start? Get in touch and we can have a chat about what honouring your child might look like for you.
Whilst there are many fantastic support groups for men who have lost children, they are not widely known about or publicised. Societal expectations can mean they may not feel comfortable sharing their feelings unless it is with other dads who have been through a similar experience.
If you would like to read more from the It’s Okay series: