It was the day before Christmas Eve and I was 12 weeks pregnant. My husband and I were waiting in the ER to hear the test results that in our minds we already knew the answer to, but as he held my hand we hung onto every last thread of hope. As the doctor came in and sat next to my bed, the tears streamed down, he told us that we had lost our first baby. I looked at my husband and he began to cry, it was the first time I had seen him moved to such sorrow.
That afternoon we held each other, shared tears and grieved over the child we dreamed of meeting, but would never hold. The days to come were supposed to be ones of much joy, but the grief didn’t leave and I did everything in my willpower to fight the tears during Christmas Mass. I noticed however that as my husband continued to comfort me, I no longer saw any tears from him and his grief seemed to have dissipated. As the weeks went on I continued to mourn and tried to understand why this happened. I began to grow frustrated; it seemed to me that my husband had already gotten over the loss. The questions filled my mind, why does he no longer appear sad, did he not love this baby, how could he just get over it, doesn’t he understand what happened?
Needless to say arguments ensued as we tried to understand each other’s feelings. Unfortunately, it probably wasn’t until our third miscarriage when we were finally able to comprehend how we each grieved in our own way. As mothers we are so fortunate to have the instant bond with the child developing inside of us and for the fathers it comes about much more gradually as the pregnancy progresses.
My husband’s grief was seeing me suffer, not being able to take away my pain or lift me out of my sadness. His frustration came in wanting things back to normal, just wanting his wife back. Once I understood that he wasn’t dismissing my sorrow, but only trying to help me out of it, it made the healing process come about more smoothly. I would even try to laugh at one of his jokes, just to give him a little comfort that I was going to be okay.
It seems cliché to say, men and women grieve differently, but far too often we don’t understand it or take the time to communicate as to how so. Studies have shown that there is an increase in separation and divorce after miscarriage, and I am continually hearing stories of this being the case. According to a recent study, couples are 22% more likely to breakup after a miscarriage. When I think about it, it doesn’t really surprise me, this child came into being because of your love and it is love that seems shattered after the loss. Someone is missing and it’s learning how to put the pieces back together when a piece of you is no longer there.
Be patient with your spouse. Don’t give up. Realize and respect that each is grieving in their own way. Listen and be patient. It may not be easy, but cling to one another and be patient. Take the time to communicate authentically and express your feelings. Schedule a few more date nights and focus on your relationship. Reach out to other couples, who have been through similar experiences, it’s always good to know you are not alone in what you are feeling. Looking back we know that as difficult as these times were, they brought us closer together. It’s making your way through the storm to enjoy the sunrise.
Very nice article. You are one of the strongest women I know. What you have gone through is more than I could ever handle. God gives us challenges not more than we can handle. I still have anger and sadness over our miscarriage. Doesn’t seem like it gets any easier.
Love you Cassie
Everyday Ann says
Thank you, truly it is by God’s grace! I don’t think the sadness ever completely leaves, you always carry them in your heart.
Thank you so much for sharing. I am expecting my first. At the very beginning I almost lost him, but my Dr. put me on progesterone shots to boost me and baby until he started producing his own hormones. No he is doing fine. I will always be so grateful for him!
Everyday Ann says
Congratulations, such a blessing! Progesterone can do wonders and helps many women.
I am not sure where this quote came from but our daughter put it on her skype and I had to copy and paste it onto my facebook and now here.
“No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.”
Everyday Ann says
Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz says
That’s sound advice, Cassie. After three miscarriages early in our marriage, I understand it quite well.
Mary A says
Thank you so much for sharing this! I went to school with your sister and came upon this post she put up about it. I have lost two babies myself in the last year. it is excruciatingly difficult. I am a part of a Catholic Facebook group of young mothers who have lost babies and have fertility issues. I would like to invite you to the group if you want to join. It has been an amazing support and also I have gained a wealth of knowledge from it.
Thank you for sharing. I had a mc yesterday and my husband made it all worse. I never felt so lonely. But I know he is sad too. I have to heal first and then understand his way of coping.
Everyday Ann says
Oh, I am so sorry for your loss! Spouses have the best intention to offer comfort, but usually don’t know how. Thoughts are with you as you seek healing, you are not alone.
I think temperment comes into play as well. My husband gets frustrated with me for supposedly not caring and for being insensitive when something terrible takes place and I don’t stay sad for long. At the same I would get frustrated that he seems so negative and depressed over things that to me happened so long ago. Luckily over time we have grown to understand each other’s temperment. My husband is not negative or depressed, he needs time to grieve. He needs to give the situation or person proper respect. I on the other hand am not uncaring or superficial. My way of dealing with things is to look to the future with hope. Now that we have figured out how the other copes with tragedy and loss we are better able to be patient and understanding even though it is so different than our own way of coping. I no longer say positive things that would cheer me up but rather I listen, validate his grief, and find tangible ways to show him I care.