In Australia, both Father’s Day, and International Bereaved Father’s Day are coming in just over a month. For many years, I could not easily handle thoughts of the former, as we lost my dad many years ago, just before the American Father’s Day. But in the last few years, my attitude has dramatically changed. I still feel pain from his loss, but now instead of dreading that day, I want to do what I can to help ease the pain of others who are suffering on that day as well. That has brought so much more healing than anticipated. To me and to them! 🙂 One of the ways I reach out is through my art. Above is an example of a drawing I have been working on for fathers who lost their children, no matter the age or cause.
Before finding out about the loss of my youngest brother to abortion, I never really imagined there were any victims beyond the baby. Now, I realize that there are indeed many, whether they are hurting immediately after, or years later. And that not all are very obvious with their grief. It’s for those who have difficulty expressing themselves especially, that I desire to speak up. It was quite a long time before I was able to really open up about my pain, for a number of different reasons, but secretly did internet searches for information/stories on post abortive sibling pain, resources for our healing, etc. I was shocked at how little there was, especially since the pro life movement has been around for so many years!! How was this not more common knowledge?! But I always felt some sense of comfort each time I did find something about us, knowing that even though we’d never met, the author and I could relate to each other, on a rather deep level. I hope to do what I can to help other siblings, grieving fathers, and anyone else in pain, experience that same feeling. Either by offering them a listening ear, or directing them to one of the many groups, worldwide, offering resources for healing and other types of assistance such as Sands, in Queensland.
It is also my firm belief that if we did more to reach out to expectant fathers, we would have less post abortive fathers in the future. Too often, news of a pregnancy, especially unplanned, is met with negativity, when it should instead be met with encouragement and offers to help where needed. That may be what it takes to convince a scared or overwhelmed father, to consider keeping the child and/or to offer more support to the mothers. As there are many hotlines and such for pregnant women, I would love for more to become available just for the fathers, a safe place where they can speak to other fathers who have previously been in a similar position.
Another idea is for pregnancy centres and such to offer packets to the father, as are often given to a mother. Give him some nappies and wipes as well as more personal items, like a ‘daddy and me’ photo frame, a special item of clothing or bib that mentions ‘daddy’s little girl,’ a journal, small photo album, etc. Perhaps a Father’s Day card, or a congratulations one. Help them get excited and start bonding already!! 😀
Also, perhaps there are ways in which we can do more to involve men in our efforts to reduce the number of abortions, as well as reaching out to those already affected by it. I have heard/seen ‘love them both’. While I have absolutely no problem with speaking up for Mothers and babies, I just wish the needs of, and the importance of thefathers were more often mentioned as well. Yes, there are plenty of fathers who are not interested in or enthusiastic about their children/significant others, sadly, but there are also plenty of others who are the opposite and deserve recognition and support.
While some grieving fathers will find comfort through gifts such as memorial art and writing, one of the simplest, yet powerful gifts you can offer is that of a listening ear. Ask him how HE is, and give him the opportunity to open up if he so desires. You may also consider sending a letter, social media message, making a phone call, etc, letting him know that he and his child(ren) are being remembered
I hope this has given you some ideas for the fathers in your life, from very new to grieving! May these days be gentle and enjoyable for all participating.