A dad whose daughter was stillborn at 37 weeks has challenged the media to face what he calls the “taboo” of babyloss after struggling to gain publicity for his extreme challenge to save babies’ lives.
“99.99% of the media will not cover my story and it is ignored because of the subject of baby death” says Ben Moorhouse. The 39-year-old Yorkshireman was bereaved in October 2018 when his daughter Kallipateira was stillborn at 38 weeks, an outcome he insists was “fully preventable.”
Since then, Ben and his partner Gaynor Thompson have launched their own charity, the Kallipateira Moorhouse Foundation, to fund research into baby loss and support other parents who have experienced the death of a baby.
He says that there is very little support for dads after baby loss. “I was treated like an alien,” he remembers, “everyone asked how Gaynor was doing, but nobody asked about me. About how I was feeling. I was just expected to be strong for Gaynor. Now, four years on, people just assume that I’m over it, that I’m fine now. But I’m not. It still hurts.”
In order to raise money, Ben has taken on a range of extreme challenges, such as walking around the full perimeter of the Greek island of Rhodes in August 2021, a total of 150 miles nonstop and with no sleep in just 42 hours at the height of summer in extreme heat and humidity.
He is now in training for his toughest feat of endurance yet. On July 16th 2022, he will walk from the Tommy’s Research Centre in London at St Thomas’s Hospital to the Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic and Research Centre in Manchester at Saint Mary’s Hospital, a total of 180 miles, which he also intends to complete without sleep, in 60 hours or less.
Media Double Standards
However, despite the worthy cause and the sheer physical challenge, Ben has found it tough to gain publicity. He puts this down to the media being unwilling to report on baby loss unless there is a celebrity angle to the story.
“There was a story recently of a famous footballer whose child was stillborn,” says Ben. “My charity inbox was full of media requests, asking me to comment on what it feels like for a dad. I took the time to talk to one of the journalists from the national media and, at the end, I asked if they would help promote my challenge. He said that I wasn’t high profile enough so he couldn’t support me. But I was good enough to contribute to his story. That’s how sad it is, as a normal dad who’s just doing his best.”
He also points out that the story dropped out of the news cycle quickly and has been rarely reported on in the media since. “It’s the world’s biggest taboo subject and you find that the only people who will talk about it are those people who have experienced it,” he says, “the media needs to play its part in increasing the awareness of baby loss to help those who go through it.”
Ben admits that the knockbacks have taken a toll on him as he puts his body through the ringer to prepare for his challenge. “Every weekend when I’m out training, I’m in tears because I miss my daughter so much and I just want to raise as much as I can for this life-saving research.”
Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre
Ben is completing the challenge in honour of Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic and Research Centre in Manchester, the main beneficiary of their charity.
Following Kallipateira’s death and a miscarriage the year after, Ben and Gaynor sought out Professor Alexander Heazell at the centre and, with the care and support of his team, gave birth to their rainbow baby boy Apollon in 2020.
The aim now is to raise funds for the team to be able to roll out the findings from their expert research on a nationwide basis.
If you want to help Ben reach his £10,000 target, you can find his JustGiving page here.