“What did I do wrong, is there anything I could or should have done, or not done?” are some of the questions Jeff Bray asked after he experienced the tragedy of baby loss.

Jeff Bray, who is the Tendring Council chairman, lost his daughter Terrie in 1978 to stillbirth.

To shed a light on one of the most painful experiences there are, Mr Bray has opened up about his own trauma.

He said: “You move on with your life, but it’s never not there.

“It is devastating. It does change everything for a considerable period of time and probably changes the way you think forever.

“The funeral did bring a level of closure, and we did go on to have other children.

“We were lucky enough to do that – some are not that lucky.”

Halstead Gazette:

Remembering this soul-crushing moment, Mr Bray described the loss of a child as something which scars parents for the rest of their lives.

One of the things which hurts the most is the future they have been robbed of.

He added: “Going back into that empty room is probably one of the biggest things. You create a nursery, decorate it nicely, murals on the wall, teddies, things hanging from the ceiling.

“The culmination of that is baby arrives and goes in the cot and that’s the bit that doesn’t happen.

“We spent a lot of time turning the spare room into a nursery.

“When my wife came out of hospital, I wanted to make sure that was not there, and I’m enormously grateful to my sister-in-law for her help.

“That was a really tough day.”

To open up the conversation, Mr Bray has encouraged everyone to be considerate of men’s emotions too.

He said men’s grief is often put on the sidelines, with many people not realising that both parents have suffered the a terrible loss.

Colchester MP Will Quince, who has also experienced the pain of losing his son Robert to stillbirth in 2014, has supported Mr Bray in his plea.

According to Mr Quince, society is still expecting men to behave in a certain way and “hold everything together and be strong for the family and that is not right”.

To break the taboo, Mr Bray is asking everyone to be considerate of fathers’ emotions too.

He added: “People say: ‘Your wife lost her child’, but actually so did you and I think that is perhaps not quite as recognised.

“The woman has unquestionably suffered the most, but all too often it’s treated as almost nothing has happened to the father.

“Certainly back then men weren’t allowed to cry, you had to be strong and carry on going.

“Hopefully we have moved on now and opened up as a society.”

Going through baby loss undoubtedly shatters every member of the family.

But it also puts an immense pressure on relationships with friends.

For Mr Bray, the reaction of some of his closest friends was “shocking”.

He has remembered some of them would rather cross the road to avoid him than start a conversation.

He added: “They weren’t being cruel, they just didn’t know what to say and were so terrified of saying the wrong thing and upsetting you more they said nothing – which is 100 times worse.

“If you know someone who has experienced this, then don’t be afraid to speak to them.”

To mark baby loss awareness week, Mr Bray will be among those adding a ribbon to Clacton’s Memorial Garden railings. He said: “Placing a ribbon is strange. This is not something you ever forget, but the ribbon brings it back – and in a good way.”

For more information, visit babyloss-awareness.org