Men And Miscarriage
After a miscarriage, friends and family often focus their love and support on the woman, while the needs of the would-be father are overlooked. Many men try to be strong and supportive and don't voice their own grief; it may only seem that they are not suffering as much as their wives or girlfriends. Alternatively, the lack of physical attachment to the pregnancy may mean that men are genuinely not as distraught as their female partners, which can lead to tension in the relationship, feelings of guilt, or impatience for life to move on.
The Male Reaction To Miscarriage
There are no set rules for how a man reacts when his partner loses a baby. Men have reported a range of emotions from overwhelming grief to almost total numbness. How your husband or boyfriend might be feeling depends on his personality, your relationship and the circumstances of the pregnancy. He may be riding the same post-miscarriage rollercoaster of shock, anger, grief, depression and helplessness that women often experience, but is keeping it to himself. He may also feel inadequate because he has failed as your 'protector'. Other reactions may include:
- Avoiding sex - he might find it difficult to separate sex and pregnancy from the physical pain and mental anguish of the miscarriage.
- Pressuring you for sex - alternatively, he may want your sex life to get back to normal. He might want to 'fix' the problem by trying for another baby as soon as possible.
- Impatience - he might expect you to recover while you are still in the throes of grief. He has not experienced the pregnancy in the same way; it may just be easier for him to move on.
- Throwing himself into his work - some men cope by avoiding the problem. If he is spending long hours at work or away from you, he may be swallowing his own pain, or trying to avoid yours.
Accepting Your Differences
None of these reactions mean that he doesn't love you or that he didn't want the baby. People simply deal with grief in different ways. If you are confused or hurt by his reaction, or you are worried that he is suppressing his emotions, the first step to resolving your differences is to talk about them.
Helping Him Cope
There are some practical steps you can take which will benefit both of you in the long term.
- Talk - encourage him to speak about his feelings, or even consider professional help in the form of joint and/or separate therapy.
- Acknowledge your loss - encourage him to stop and take stock of what has happened. For example, it could help to hold a commemoration service.
- Get informed - some men feel more able to cope when they know what they are dealing with. Your man might feel better if he reads up on the topic of miscarriage and gets more information about the likelihood of a recurrence.
One Day At A Time
Miscarriage undoubtedly puts a strain on any relationship, but many couples find that coping together brings them closer together too. Remember that most women who miscarry go on to have healthy pregnancies later on.