Men and Miscarriage
What men should know about the aftermath of a miscarriage.
The goal of every pregnancy is to bring home a healthy baby, but unfortunately not every pregnancy ends that way. Last year my wife and I experienced a miscarriage, something that occurs in approximately 10 to 20 percent of all known pregnancies. While a miscarriage is something I wouldn’t wish on any couple, I wanted to share my experiences with other men who might be going through the same thing.
My first point is obvious, but it needs to be made: you and your wife will be sad. You’ve both spent a number of months imagining a future with your baby, but after a miscarriage all of your hopes and dreams are dashed. This is very difficult, and you should understand that it’s okay to grieve for the loss of the life that you and your wife were preparing for.
While grieving, though, it’s important to be there for your wife. A huge reason for this is that, in addition to all the feelings men and women both experience, women are also often plagued by guilt that they or their body failed the baby. My wife felt this way, and though I told her it wasn’t true, that didn’t do much to placate her feelings. Eventually I realized that it was best to stop trying to “fix” the problem and instead simply offer her love, comfort, and support.
There’s another reason to try your best to support your wife: she will be dealing with physical pain on top of the emotional pain. In the best situation (“best,” of course, being relative to an incredibly lousy situation) a woman will have light bleeding and cramping for a couple weeks, but if she doesn’t pass the tissue she may have to have a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure. My wife needed to have this done at our local hospital, and there’s no getting around the fact that the whole day was very depressing. A D&C is not a procedure to make you healthier (or to bring a baby into the world), but to resolve something sad. Though this day is emotionally taxing on both you and your wife, your wife will also physically experience the pain and discomfort of the procedure, not to mention the recovery period. Again, she will greatly benefit from your love, comfort, and support.
I’ve stressed the need to take care of your wife, but I must also stress the importance of taking care of yourself, too. If you need to cry, do so. If you need to talk to some one, reach out. You shouldn’t be afraid to talk to your wife about your feelings either. As someone who has experienced a number of losses with my wife, I strongly believe that we grew closer as a couple by grieving together. Don’t lock each other out on what is happening in your hearts.
Lastly, do your best to remain hopeful. Though it may not seem this way when it is happening, there will be a new beginning. Regardless of whether that is a new pregnancy or another path for your family, it’s important to look forward in hope.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN