Women seem to have come a long way when it comes to discussing miscarriage, once a taboo subject, the majority of us feel comfortable enough to talk about it with at least our friends. When my husband and I recently suffered a miscarriage, I encouraged (forced) my husband to talk to his best friend and when he did, he felt so much better. He said it was a very uncomfortable situation to start with but not only did it make him feel better, but he has also now shared his feelings with many others he trusts.
Men, who aren't always as comfortable sharing as women, don't find sharing these highly intimate moments easy. When I reached out to many friends and friends husbands and partners about this blog, ninety per cent of them weren't comfortable sharing their feelings, even anonymously. I understand why, but these three brave accounts are beautiful and honest, the recurring theme seems to be the priority of their wives and little room for their own feelings, at least at first.
I hope these stories can provide comfort to men who haven't been able to share their feelings. I hope that more of our lovely men can start to feel more comfortable sharing in general, not only with the women around them but with each other.
I have kept these three stories anonymous, as requested by these three wonderful men.
Sadly at Christmas last year at around 8 weeks my wife suffered a miscarriage. This was a particularly stressful time as the only reason we knew she had miscarried at this stage was because we attended a private scan in the hope of taking the good news back to the family for Christmas. The type of miscarriage was a missed miscarriage, so there were no indications that this wouldn’t be a healthy pregnancy until we were told there was no heartbeat or growth of the foetus.
The drawn-out nature of the process put a huge amount of pressure, upset and stress upon my wife. And of course, as her partner, I wanted to support her in every way I could as she underwent the physical and mental strains of managing this miscarriage. Only now, 6-months later, can I better reflect on the impact this difficult time had on me also. As I’m sure many face when their partner undergoes such trauma, my natural reaction was simply to support her and bury any sadness or personal upset. All I wanted to do was reassure her it was going to be ok. I personally felt relatively helpless. I could Google it as much as I wanted but I couldn’t fully comprehend what my wife was undergoing and also how I was ‘supposed to’ feel and act.
It didn’t seem the natural thing to tell friends and family about this sadness and certainly not about how I was feeling because of course my wife was the one dealing with the bigger strain and upset. Now I’m able to reflect on writing this, I of course still think my role was to support my wife and carry the burden. However, there should be no shame as the partner at feeling sadness, confusion and helplessness. And I would encourage anybody who sadly ever has to face the same, to discuss these feelings with their partner, or other close confidants and take moments for yourself. There should be no embarrassment, you too have suffered a degree of trauma and whilst you endeavour to empathise and alleviate your partner’s sadness, try not to neglect your own too.
I am already a very proud and the husband to a wonderful, supportive wife.
Earlier this year we decided we would start trying for another child. We were lucky that again it happened quickly for us, I had returned from work one day and whilst we were settling in to start watching some evening TV, my wife turned to me and said "I’m pregnant". I was over the moon, but the overriding feeling was one more of relief than anything else. Relief that we were lucky enough to be able to conceive another child who was going to complete our family.
Some weeks later, I was working from home when my wife came into the kitchen and told me she thought she was having a miscarriage. My heart sank. In that moment, my first thought was for my wife and trying to support her through want was an incredibly challenging time. Her body thought she was both pregnant but was rejecting the opportunity to grow a baby all at the same time. My wife was so mentally strong through that period, to the point that I was worried that she almost wasn’t accepting of what had happened to her body. She was more comfortable talking about the miscarriage than I was and very open to telling friends and family what had happened, which gave me comfort that she was able to talk about it but also at times, made me feel quite uncomfortable as people looked to me.
Personally, it took me much longer to accept and understand what had happened. Mentally I had never planned for the prospect of us having a miscarriage. I guess nobody does, however with our first child I only really ‘believed’ we were going to have a child when we were painting the nursery at 34 weeks. I had my emotional guard up throughout the first pregnancy to protect myself against any negative setback, which obviously never came. By the time we had conceived this child I no longer had this emotional guard, so when my wife told me she was pregnant my first thought was that we would be welcoming this baby before the end of the year. Then when she told me she was having a miscarriage I was so unprepared, it was like receiving a knockout punch in the first round. It was only after I buried my head on the internet following the news I was able to take comfort that the miscarriage was her body’s way of telling us that something wasn’t right and this wasn’t the right time for her to be growing a baby. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and unfortunately, some of the cruellest things in life will lead to brighter opportunities in the future. We are now pregnant again but as we are in the early stages, honestly my wife and I barely discuss it, we have this barrier up not willing to get excited - I think that is the most brutal part of miscarrying, the lack of excitement you are willing to give yourself for the future.
It had not been an easy journey for us to get to a positive pregnancy test. Honestly, we both felt a huge sense of relief when it finally came. Once that relief subsided, we were ecstatic. We didn't know how long that journey would take us, so the fact it was over and we were having a baby, something we both wanted so badly, we felt so lucky.
We both got quite overexcited, normally I am quite good at staying distant and practical until an actual moment, which I guess would have been when the baby arrived, but not this time. We told people early, we even bought a little outfit, and we started discussing names and planning our life.
Fast forward 6 weeks, my wife had miscarried. In those moments it was brutal for her, it was unexpected, it was a long and painful process for her with plenty of up and downs and hospital visits. Honestly, in those moments I only worried about my wife, I supported her as best as I could and I just wanted her to be okay. I didn't think of my own feelings, I didn't talk about them, I didn't share them and I locked them away as best as I could.
As my wife shared this news with some of her the closest people to her, honestly I felt really uncomfortable. I felt as if people were expecting me to share how I felt, or say something but I didn't feel anything. I was grateful my wife finally sounded and seemed okay, otherwise I felt almost empty about the situation.
As I write this, I don't know how I feel today. All I know is my instinct is to just protect myself. We recently found out we are pregnant again and I can't get excited, I can't engage. My wife finds it frustrating and I appreciate why. She is optimistic, as she should and needs to be, I can't be. I don't know when I will be.