Most couples find grief has a deep impact on their relationship. It is most important that we accept that our partners grief will be different from ours. This can be explained by the different rates of bonding experienced by the parents during pregnancy, see below. Note that between two and three months, her bond is about three times his, which is reflected in the differing depths of grief.
Parents and Mourning – Peppers L & Knapp R
“Miscarriage had a very destructive effect on our relationship. We were both suffering greatly, yet so overwhelmed by our own feelings we failed to recognise each other’s suffering and need for support. Then we blamed each other for not meeting our individual needs. If only we had talked more.”
Be aware that some women have an expectation that their partner can or even should meet all their needs for emotional support. This is not only unrealistic, but it assumes that their partners will understand what their needs are and this places an unfair burden on them. When we’re vulnerable we can tend to expect the same from men but that’s not always how they think. This is one time a soul-mate may not be the most appropriate person to expect empathy from. As women, we are usually the ones aware of care-giving and it is the same with miscarriage – another woman is the most helpful.
Men may see no point in talking about a problem that can’t be fixed and simply may not understand how you are feeling. You will probably need to tell them you want to discuss what’s happening. Choosing an appropriate time is helpful and more likely to work for you both. If it doesn’t and there is tension, it is really important to get professional help if the situation remains unresolved. It will not go away. Up to 40% of relationships can break down over miscarriage.
While some women look forward to resuming their sexual relationship as soon as possible, many do not. There are a variety of reasons for this, mainly to do with our attitudes to a part of our body that has let us down and the fear of repeating it all. Doctors advise that while bleeding continues, intercourse should be avoided because of the risk of infection.