The charity Tommy’s, the UK’s largest pregnancy and baby loss charity, has developed an online Dads and Partners Hub to guide and support non-birthing parents through pregnancy and pregnancy loss.
The charity’s #InThisWithYou campaign, which launched on Monday 4th July, aims to show that Tommy’s is here for every parent, and dads and LGBT+ parents are encouraged to open up and seek help when needed.
With 70% of dads and partners saying support for them during and after pregnancy or pregnancy loss is poor or non-existent, Tommy’s has now launched a dedicated information and advice hub for all partners on the pregnancy journey.
Tommy’s Dads and Partners Hub is an online space that includes information, resources and advice from other dads and partners who have gone, and are going through, the pregnancy journey. It’s tailored to the challenges experienced by dads and partners at every stage of the pregnancy journey, from trying to get pregnant, pregnancy, birth, and loss.
It includes guides to pregnancy appointments, scans and tests; looking after your mental health after your partner’s pregnancy; money, work and relationships; and a guide to premature birth.
A second section focuses on loss and includes information on supporting your partner after loss; caring for your mental health; talking to other children about loss; and trying to get pregnant again after loss.
The Dads and Partners Hub follows the model of Tommy’s PIF TICK accredited midwife-led PregnancyHub, which is visited by some 2 million people around the world each month seeking out trustworthy research-backed advice before, during and after their pregnancy.
In 2020 around two thirds of dads and partners who had experienced baby loss told Tommy’s that they need help to open up in order to prevent feeling alone and 38% of men who became dads after a healthy pregnancy told us they worry about their mental health – even when pregnancies go to plan, becoming a parent can be tough (from a 2020 Tommy’s survey).
Tommy’s Dads and Partners Hub has been developed with the support of focus groups and with oversight by organisations such as LGBT Mummies, who support LGBT+ women and people globally on the path to motherhood or parenthood.
Kath Abrahams, Tommy’s Chief Executive said: “Partners play such an important role in the pregnancy journey, but our research shows that partners feel there is a lack of information tailored for them, and little space to ask questions, however big or small.
“If there are complications or a pregnancy ends in loss, partners consistently tell us they feel like they have to be ‘the strong one’ and suppress their own grief at the expense of their own wellbeing as a result.
“Many say they’re unprepared or overwhelmed for the changes and the ups and downs a pregnancy journey can take families on but feel like they don’t have permission to seek support. Tommy’s is here for every baby and every parent – you do have that permission. We’re here to help you feel prepared, feel seen, and feel supported on your journey through pregnancy.”
Just 1% of over 1,000 people surveyed by Tommy’s in 2020 said the needs of dads and partners were properly met. 70% felt support for dads and partners during and after pregnancy was not good or non-existent, rising to 74% for pregnancies ending in loss (from research via Ibid).
Further research this year suggests that many partners feel like they don’t matter. They believe their anxiety, concerns or grief around pregnancy and loss shouldn’t be discussed, or that their position can be minimised by others. They’re often unsure where to turn for help (from a Tommy’s March 2022 Pregnancy and Parenting at Work Survey).
“I felt unnecessary and overlooked throughout,” said one man, referring to his wife’s maternity care appointments. Dozens of people also called for tailored grief support for partners after loss, and many said that they would really benefit from hearing about the experiences of others.
After more than 500 individuals and organisations donated through a Big Give campaign last year Tommy’s set out to research and produce the new dedicated online resource hub and awareness campaign specifically for non-birthing partners to help them, their health workers, and employers.