The Misery of a Miscarriage on the Dadby Elizabeth MacDonald
We are spending the month sharing about pregnancy loss and the emotional rollercoaster that mothers experience. It is finally becoming a topic of discussion, thanks to social media. Mothers can reach out and share their stories. But what about dads? What about the partners?
At My Baby's Heartbeat Bear, we work with many families who have experienced the heartache of an angel baby. We watch how quickly people reach out to the mother without more than an, "I'm sorry for your loss" and a hug for the father. But it's not right. A father (or partner) is also experiencing a loss, and yet, no one asks about how he is handling it. It's time to talk to dads about loss. It's time their voices are heard.
And what you will learn will bring tears to your eyes...
These men, these fathers, their love runs deep, even when they have trouble showing it. If we took the time to let them share, we would learn just how much they love us. (Yes, US. I learned about my own husband while writing this article, too.) I asked several couples to remember the moments during and after their losses. Some were years ago, while others were quite recent. It didn't matter how much time had passed, all of the fathers could recall their feelings instantly. It caught me off guard how quickly my own husband spoke. It was real and raw.
"How did you feel when you learned about the miscarriage?"
"How did you feel or handle the loss, during and afterward?"
And the dads responded...
"I am not connected to the baby until I am holding it in my arms. I know what is coming and am excited, but I'm not fully invested emotionally yet. But she is. She is tied to that baby from day one. It's an amazing thing to watch. But the moment she woke up bleeding, I knew it was over. I secretly begged to be wrong, but I wasn't. My heart sank as I watched her cling to hope. My words were all wrong, but I had to talk to show her I was there. I felt helpless when the heartbeat was gone. I felt helpless when she wouldn't get out of bed. But I felt more helpless after it was over, when nothing but heartache was left. The months after the miscarriage broke my heart because of her sadness. I never knew the right words, and I never knew what to do. I just held her while she cried. I don't know if she knew, but I was crying too. I was crying for her and the baby I would never hold." - J
"It sucked. It was more emotional for her than me. The baby is not growing in me it's growing in her, but it affects me because of how much it affects her. We weren't trying, but weren't not trying so it was a blessing in itself. One that was gone too fast. Life is fragile." - S
"My heart broke that day. I felt helpless and devastated. I couldn't think about work or accomplishing anything other than being with her. We just sat in silence together." - J
"I felt helpless during the process. I was crushed, but I couldn't imagine the pain she was going through, and I couldn't do anything to help. The pain didn't end when the pregnancy did, when the due date approached, she became depressed - even though we were expecting another baby. The road to healing was/is very long for her, and I feel helpless and lost. I was able to talk to other dads who had experienced this too and was given great advice, 'Listen and don't fix, there is no fixing it'." - T
"Sad. I felt sad. I was worried about her because things hit her emotions differently than mine. I accept death because no one can escape it, but I was more concerned about her than anything I was feeling. I continued to feel helpless. You sit by and watch the person you love most go from happy and joyous to devastated. That was heartbreaking." - S
"Devastated. Helpless. Mad at god. I prayed blood work would show differently but knew they wouldn't. I didn't want to see her crushed in this process and have to pick up the pieces again. We never talked about it. It was in the silence that we just knew what each other was going through. Being female, she is more emotional. We try to hold the pieces together that are falling apart." - D
It is overwhelming hearing how much these men love their partners. How much they want to take the pain and heartache away, while at the same time feeling their own heartache. The love and yearning to help leads them all to feel helpless because the reality is that most men want to 'fix' and there is nothing to do but 'love' during this time. So, while a dad is loving his partner in all ways possible, he will never feel completely happy again until she does... Because her happiness is the only way to heal his heart.