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Pillars of Strength

Support for Bereaved Fathers & Fathers with a baby in NICU


You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.

Losing a child at birth (or at any time) is one of the most painful and devastating experiences that someone can go through. Sadly, so many men, once excited at the prospect of being a dad (many for the first time), never get to experience “normal” childbirth. Some also never get to experience “normal” fatherhood at all. These men are part of a club that swells by over 3,000 new members each year through stillbirth, neonatal or infant loss alone. Modern society has conditioned men to conceal their emotions as a sign of strength but a grieving father feels the loss of a child just as keenly as the mother. Although men don’t express themselves as women do, it does not mean that we grieve any less.

Whilst the grieving process may be different for men and women this is often based on individuality rather than gender.  However, there is a significant feeling that fathers are often forgotten in the grieving process. During the pregnancy and birth of a child, a father’s role is predominantly to support his partner emotionally and physically. A father is expected to be the pillar of support (strength) for the mother, extended family, and friends. He is also the communication channel to the outside world and on many occasions, if he has other children, he becomes their chief caretaker while his partner recovers from surgery and the birth. Although of course, he did not carry the child, there is still a deep bond that reaches a whole new dimension once the child is outside the womb.

During the period immediately after their loss, there is little time for dads to do something for themselves or get support. They feel the need to provide it to everyone else (particularly their partners) to ensure that everything continues in some sense of “normality”.

Many men take on the protector role in the family, supporting their wives or partners and not allowing time for their own grief. Even in today’s society, some men find it difficult to express their emotions and feelings can get locked up. Many men need time and space to grieve and this may happen many weeks, months or even years later.

For some fathers sadly our role is to support our child’s memory rather than supporting them through life. A child’s passing changes your world forever. However fatherhood, once reached, is timeless. Coping with the loss of your child at any time is both emotionally heartbreaking and physically devastating. It is a pain that endures. You never know the moment when your next “down day” will come, no matter how long ago

Fathers tend to take on the practicalities and keep themselves busy. Men also often find that other people ask about how their partner is coping without seeming to realise that they are grieving too. Men may feel helpless when they see their partner so distressed. However, it is important to recognise that although men may not show symptoms of grief they are grieving and need support too.

Pillars of Strength provides respite and support to dads facing significant family trauma. It gives dads the opportunity to access events for a bit of “time out” and it delivers practical assistance in-hospital for dads throughout these periods of intense distress. It’s worth noting the provision of Pillars of Strength services is not intended to be a counseling service, rather a peer support service and provision of respite and assistance.

There’s more than one way for you to lend a hand. Every little bit counts and whatever you can do is truly appreciated.

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Contact Details

PO Box 1092

Are donations tax deductible?


Will I receive a receipt for my donation?

Yes, as soon as your donation is processed.