"The issues which most upset me were firstly not knowing what was going to happen to Yasmin physically at the hospital, and then not being prepared for the emotional effect it had on her, and me too, actually." Mark
Other men have shared with us that they found their needs often revolved around their partners. Like them you may find yourself dealing with:
- Feelings of confusion and involvement yet powerlessness.
- With attention focused on your partner, your equally valid feelings are often overlooked, leaving you to deal with them alone.
- Focusing on her needs and not being able to think about losing the baby and what it means to you.
- Dealing with your own grief.
- Anxiety about admitting your own worries in case they add to her fears. (Being strong and brave prevents you from releasing your pain).
- Guilt about feelings of relief if you hadn't wanted the baby.
- Guilt about having sex just prior to the miscarriage. (This would not make any difference to a viable pregnancy otherwise there would be many more miscarriages.)
- Finding the right things to say (see ‘Helping someone after a miscarriage’).
- Trying to deal with the situation logically which probably won’t be helpful. This is something you cannot fix.
‘I wouldn’t let myself show much emotion in front of my wife. Her grief was so overwhelming. All I could do was support her. I got the opportunity to have some time to myself when a close friend came around to see her, so I went surfing at a favourite isolated spot. It was the perfect opportunity to allow myself to yell and cry into the waves and just let out my sorrow and frustration with-out anyone aware of what I was doing. I felt I could cope after that.’ Anonymous.
The situation does gradually improve. It is sometimes helpful talking to others yourself. Be careful who you choose though as someone who has no experience of miscarriage may be unsuitable, even a woman. You may know of a suitable mate, someone in your church or a family member. We have also found that when men use our ‘Forum’ the women are so relieved to hear about a man’s feelings, as often their partner hides his, they respond very well. You can also remain anonymous. Counselling is an option too if a previous denied loss triggers a level of grief for you that may seem inappropriate.Assure your wife that you will not disrespect her trust in you and be open about your own needs - explain that you do not want to burden her – you may find she is the one who wants to talk to you about your feelings.
‘‘It was extremely emotional when my wife miscarried our first child. Naturally, she was devastated. I was upset and saddened, and confused over this tragedy. My apprehension was overwhelming. What could I do? What was the role of the father-to-be (or not-to-be in this case)? I could offer comfort to Terri in my own feeble way, but I think she was the stronger of us.
I have not really spoken about the experience too much. As a man you feel you’re obligated to your wife to not disclose the information to too many people aside from immediate family. It is natural to feel that the fewer people who know, the better. Unfortunately, this meant that I did not have an avenue where I could voice my emotions without a feeling of violating my wife’s trust.’ Justin