Miscarriage and its effects on a grieving father

Jack Davis
Image caption Jack believed keeping quiet would help his partner Leanne cope with the loss

When Jack Davis and his partner Leanne McGregor lost their two baby sons, he received messages asking how the mother was coping. He understood, but was upset, thinking: "What about me?"

It has been a year since the couple lost their first child, Joey, who was born prematurely at 22 weeks.

The pain of what happened has not subsided, but for the first time he has begun to open up, having previously worried that discussing the subject might cause his partner further anguish.

"I was so focused on looking after Leanne, I didn't want to show her I was weak or as down as she was," he explained to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

"I thought that might have affected her as well, so I kept it inside and bottled it all up."

A 22-year-old soldier, Jack admits that the "military mindset" may have contributed to his initial decision to "man up" and remain silent.

But, after being encouraged by Leanne, he has now written a blog about the emotional impact the loss of his two sons has had on him. It has since become widely shared, with goodwill messages and other people's stories flooding back.

He hopes other men will benefit from hearing his story.

Image caption Jack's partner Leanne says he isolated himself by keeping silent

Jack had been at work when he first received a call from Leanne - crying in pain - on 17 October 2015. He rushed home to find an ambulance outside.

The couple were taken to hospital and - as time progressed - he began to understand "the inevitable", that Leanne was having a miscarriage.

"As a young man, 21 years old at the time - Leanne was also 21 - and this being our first child, we had no idea what to do. I wasn't sure how to react in that moment.

"It had such an impact on us. We were so ready to be parents, even at a young age," he says.

Jack says that once they had discovered they were to become parents, he and Leanne had prepared themselves mentally for the occasion - making the miscarriage all the more heartbreaking.

"We suddenly grew up, we matured," he explains. "And then to be told you're not going to be parents - I'm not sure how anyone's supposed to deal with that.

"To go from being so happy and elated about having your own child, doing all the things you're meant to do as a child - and then finding out that's been taken away from you."

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The Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

After the funeral, Jack went back to work in an attempt to restore some normality. But, as he did so, he also kept his emotions to himself.

"When I asked him how he was he would just say 'I'm fine', when I knew that he really wasn't," Leanne says. "He just wouldn't open up to me, at all."

By trying to stay strong, Leanne says he began to isolate himself and act out of character.

"He's normally quite an open person. So seeing him not talking wasn't nice to watch."

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A few months later, Leanne fell pregnant again.

The couple had been for scans that suggested "everything was fine", Jack says. But at 24 weeks pregnant - just a week after they had been on holiday together - Leanne went into labour.

"With it being 24 weeks, we had a bit of hope," Jack explains. "There was a minimal chance [of baby Tommy surviving]- something to hold on to and hope for." But the couple experienced a second trauma, when Tommy passed away days later.

Jack refers to Leanne as "Wonder Woman" and says he can't imagine how she coped with the loss, but had hoped others would realise he was hurting too.

"The main focus stereotypically is the woman, but people forget in the background there's a man there supporting that woman.

"There's a man there that's got to go through all of this as well. The father's lost his children too."

Jack says people would message him asking "how's Leanne?".

"I'd get a bit upset, and say 'What about me? I'm hurting too'" he adds. "Men hurt, men have feelings."

He hopes, however, that the blog will enable others to understand the affects a miscarriage can have on a male partner, and - through the response it has generated - believes it has already started to have the desired affect.

"I think there's a different outlook now the blog's out there," he says.

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