Today’s guest blog post is from Damani’s daddy. I wanted to close October with a reminder that our fathers deserve as much support during their grief and that their voices also need to be heard.
Side note: Damani is his father’s exact replica!
1. A lot of people aren’t educated on maternal health topics
In hindsight, you realise a lot of persons don’t know the actual dangers of pregnancy and pregnancy complications. When I mentioned my wife had preeclampsia, most persons didn’t know what that is. A lot of persons thought what happened to her was as a result of something she did, when that wasn’t the case. They just assumed she was to be blamed for what happened to our baby.
2. As a father, I get treated less than the mother. As if my emotions don’t matter
9/10 times they would only ask how my wife is doing. They wouldn’t ask how I am doing or coping. As if my baby didn’t also die. They would ask me to be strong for her as if I wasn’t also allowed to grieve. Society’s views on a whole of men needs to change because dads grieve too.
3. Little to no support for grieving parents
For example, when our baby died, nobody at the hospital came to provide psychological support for her or myself. Family and friends also felt uncomfortable being around us and treat our baby’s death like a taboo topic. A lot of persons stayed away from us like they were afraid. Nobody wants to mention him as if he didn’t existed.
4. Jamaica’s healthcare system is not fully equipped to handle certain critical situations
The hospital didn’t have sufficient resources to effectively handle our premature baby. We were told he was the smallest baby to be born alive at the hospital (510g) and he had a 40% chance at surviving. The machines are old and outdated and they do not have enough to cater to all babies, especially the ones who need extra support.
5. Being pregnant doesn’t guarantee a baby
Not because someone is pregnant, means a baby will come home at the end of the 9-10 months. A lot of things can go wrong. It is very scary knowing that at any point in time, the mother needs critical care or the baby may die. The death of Damani has made me more aware and less naive about what happens during pregnancy.