Coping With Father's Day After Pregnancy Loss

man and woman embracing
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There are plenty of emotional stumbling blocks you’ll encounter as you work through the difficult times after you and your partner suffer a pregnancy loss. One day you can be coping well, feeling like life might actually go back to "normal." The next day, you might have a well-meaning friend who hasn’t heard the news ask how far along your partner is in her pregnancy and the loss will be fresh again.

One event you might not have prepared for is Father's Day. Starting in May, stores tend to fill up with gift ideas for Dad, cards, and endless reminders of the approaching date. So how do you deal?

How to Cope

First of all, there's no reason you shouldn't feel free to just ignore the holiday altogether. Friends and family may not be on the same page, so be straight with those close to you that you’d rather just let the day pass. Focus on the dads in your life, like your own Father, your brothers, or brothers-in-law.

Make plans for the holiday to do something else you enjoy. A trip to the ballpark, or doing a project in the yard you’ve been meaning to tackle might be just the distraction you need. It may be a good time for you and your partner to get away together and offer comfort to one another.

Just be mentally prepared that the day might be hard on you, or your partner, and give yourself a break if you need some time to grieve.

For some men, marking the event is more helpful to the healing process. If you’ve joined a support group, organize an event for the members. Anything from an informal backyard barbecue to a more dedicated remembrance event like a walk and balloon release could be therapeutic.

Serve a meal at a soup kitchen, help out an animal shelter, or spend some time building a house for a family in need. No matter how you decide to spend your time, helping others can really give you a sense of purpose.

If you have other children, no matter how fresh your grief may feel, remember your kids might be coping differently. They might need the chance to recognize Father’s Day like they usually do. Be sensitive to their needs, but don’t be afraid to be honest with them if you get emotional.

This could be a great time for the whole family to get into a special activity to honor your baby’s memory.

And of course, your partner is likely to be feeling stressed by the holiday too, since she likely just endured her first Mother's Day since the loss. Keep communicating with each other, and do the best you can to support each other on this and every day.

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