Miscarriage: Fathers open up on trauma of baby loss and lack of support in Wales

The Miscarriage Association estimates that there are around a quarter of a million miscarriages in the UK each year.

For mothers, the experience of losing a baby to miscarriage is something that can stay with them forever. 

However, it also has the potential to have a big impact on fathers, as they deal with their grief and try to support their partners through the experience.

The NHS defines miscarriage as the loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks.

One in five pregnancies are thought to end in miscarriage and the Miscarriage Association estimates that there are around a quarter of a million miscarriages in the UK each year.

Speaking to ITV Cymru Wales’ Miscarriage: The Hidden Loss programme, Joe Watts, who experienced a baby loss with his partner Gemma, said: “I’m a rugby lad, it’s not something you talk about in a group of lads.

“It’s not something you open up about but it was surprising how many of them stepped forward privately and said 'we’ve been through it, anything we can do?'

“That’s always a tough one isn’t it, everyone message you, anything I can do? What are you going to ask of them? So I struggled to use the support that we did have if that makes sense.”

With both Gemma and Joe then dealing with the trauma and grief of losing their baby, Joe admitted that communication between the pair became difficult at times. 

“I can’t speak for Gemma obviously but I think we found it difficult to talk to each other about it a lot,” he continued.

“I guess for me, I didn’t want to stir up any bad feelings of memories. 

“I didn’t know how much I was allowed to be sort of not upset, of course, I was upset but Gemma’s gone through all the physical stuff so it’s much more of a loss for Gemma than it is for me so I found that quite difficult to navigate I think.”

Other than the immediate treatment that may be needed, parents in Wales cannot access investigative medical support to find out why they have lost a baby until they have had three consecutive miscarriages.

Geoff and Jude Davies have experienced two miscarriages

Geoff Davies and his wife Jude have experienced two miscarriages.

For Geoff, who had experienced another baby loss twenty years ago with another partner, the trauma was difficult to balance with being supportive of Jude.

“Myself and Jude have suffered two miscarriages in the past two years, Morgan and Bee,” Geoff told ITV Cymru Wales.

“I’ve suffered baby loss 20 years ago as well ... the feelings and emotions are things that I’ve dealt with for a very long time. 

“It did bring them back in a big way. Afterwards, I kind of learned that what I’ve suffered with is displaced bereavement. At the time it didn’t really register and it’s only afterwards that it affected me.”

Geoff also had to deal with the fact that Jude nearly died during the miscarriage, bleeding heavily at home before Geoff called an ambulance.

“Morgan was in 2019 and although it was obviously awful to lose Morgan it was very traumatic because I almost lost Jude as well,” Geoff continued.

“[That] was equally as horrible and then we had Bee and miscarried in 2021."

Geoff and Jude have now set up a group to provide support to parents who have experienced miscarriage. 

Morgan’s Wings is named after their baby Morgan, and is in the process of being established as a charity.

Wales This Week's Miscarriage: The Hidden Loss is available to watch online here.