Men and Miscarriage: Understanding Where Your Partner's Coming From
Miscarriage can have different emotional effects for men and women. While both partners will be affected by pregnancy loss and experience different stages of grief, it is important for both men and women to understand where their partner is coming from.
Every individual will have a different coping strategy when it comes to dealing with grief, making it important for partners to provide emotional support for one another in order to maintain a strong and healthy relationship after a miscarriage. The following are some tips that can help men understand some of the most common feelings experienced by women dealing with the grief that follows a miscarriage.
Women and Grief
Because a woman has a stronger physiological connection to pregnancy loss, her emotions and experiences with miscarriage and grief will be different from her partner's. Women often exhibit the following feelings after experiencing miscarriages:
Some women may find it extremely difficult to hear about other people's pregnancies or their babies. Some will appear to have lost all interest in everyday life. Some women will grieve very openly, while others will appear cheerful and unaffected making it difficult to determine whether she is genuinely overcoming the grief of a miscarriage, or whether she is suppressing her emotions.
Your Partner's Needs
Your partner's emotional responses and needs may be different from your own. The following are some common ways that women react to pregnancy loss during the healing process that follows a miscarriage:
- Crying. Some women cry more frequently than others and become very upset
- Discussion. She may want to talk about the miscarriage constantly, or else avoid the topic altogether
- Anger. Some women express seemingly unreasonable anger towards others
- Feelings of Guilt. A woman may feel like she has let her partner down and guilty that she cannot provide a baby for him
- Isolation. Your partner may think that you don't understand what she is going through, or that your concern for her indicates that you don't care about the loss of your baby
- Sex. Your partner may avoid physical contact, and indeed it may not be medically safe to do so for some time following a miscarriage
- Trying to get pregnant. Your partner may want to try to get pregnant immediately, or else become extremely afraid of trying to conceive again
All of these reactions are completely normal and it is common for women to experience various stages of grief for up to six months following a miscarriage. This makes it extremely important for men to provide their partners with emotional support, which will be remembered and appreciated in the long run. A lack of support during this sensitive time can seriously affect a relationship. Indeed, many relationships are affected by miscarriage, whether positively (by bringing couples closer together) or negatively (resulting in friction and breakdown).
Men and Miscarriage: What Men Can Do
Men experience their own feelings of grief and have their own needs when it comes to miscarriage. These needs should never be ignored, but experiencing them can give you some insight as to how much your partner may need you as well. Here are some general tips as to how you can help your partner deal with her pregnancy loss and provide some needed support:
- Remain non-judgmental when it comes to her moods
- Express and share your own feelings about losing the baby
- Avoid reassuring your partner that everything will be all right in the end, as the outcome is unclear
- Listen to your partner and be actively present in her life even if she is not being herself
- Do not change the subject if she would like to discuss the miscarriage
- Make her feel loved and secure during this time
Lastly, be aware that some women will expect their partners to provide them with all the emotional support they need following a miscarriage. This is both unfair as well as unrealistic, and may place a serious burden on the partner. Do not be afraid to seek professional help as well as support from family and friends in this situation. If left unresolved, it can put a serious strain on the future of your relationship.