Fathers need help too, says grieving mother

WANTING MORE HELP: Pamela Sturgeon, who lost her baby in October, wants more support for fathers.
WANTING MORE HELP: Pamela Sturgeon, who lost her baby in October, wants more support for fathers.

A woman whose baby was stillborn after 25 weeks of pregnancy wants more to be done to help grieving fathers.

Pamela Sturgeon and partner Adam Chinery, from Landsdown Road in Sudbury, suffered the heartache of losing their baby son Zachary in October.

The couple were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child when they were told the devastating news during a routine scan.

“I went for a scan on October 15 and we were told that they couldn’t find a heartbeat and we had lost the baby,” said Pamela, 37.

“It was a complete shock as there was no sign that anything was wrong.”

Zachary was delivered four days later at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. A post-mortem examination found there was no reason for his death.

Following the loss, Pamela said she was inundated with offers of support, but said partner Adam, 32, was left to cope by himself.

“I had everything thrown at me – midwives, doctors and counsellors all offering lots of support, but all Adam got was a leaflet,” she said.

“Lots of fathers seem to get pushed to one side in this situation and they get forgotten about. I have spoken to lots of others who have said the same.”

Pamela’s experience has made her want to do more to help those dealing with the death of a baby, particularly fathers, and she has started a number of fundraising projects for Sands – a stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

“I had all the support you can imagine, but Adam won’t talk about it and he is bottling it up,” said Pamela.

“I know he thinks he should be supporting me, but he needs help, too. It would make a lot of difference if fathers could feel included.”

A Facebook page “Angel Daddy’s Care Too” has been set up and invites people to enter a writing competition for £2, with all money raised going to charity.

“A few weeks ago, I decided I needed to do something and I want the dads of miscarried, stillborn or neonatal death babies to get as much attention as the mums,” said Pamela.

“It helps to talk to others who have been through the same experience and I want the support to improve as I know Adam is still finding it hard. I am used to talking about it but he’s not.”

Pamela said she had received “brilliant” support from her mum Joyce, who she lives with, as well as sister Jackie Bridges, from Acton, and brother Peter, from Springlands, and is planning to return to work at Lavenham Leisure next month.

But it is her fundraising efforts, as well as her marriage to Adam in September, that have given her purpose.

“When we found out we were pregnant, we were planning the next year and were going to have our honeymoon at Butlins because we thought we would have Zachary,” said Pamela.

“Then this year was empty all of a sudden and I’m just trying to do something positive.”

To donate to Pamela’s cause, go to www.justgiving.com/angeldaddyscaretoo or go to the Facebook page and enter the story writing competition.