Editor’s Note: Obviously this topic doesn’t fit with the usual, unimportant-in-the-grand-scheme stuff (like clothes) that Dappered covers. And our hope is that no disrespect is felt by any readers for simply including the subject on this website. Beth’s space has always felt a little different. Her personal perspective on the subject, as well as her unique voice, makes for the real chance that some could truly benefit from this week’s column.
Quick PSA: Grief is normal and healthy and doesn’t need to be “fixed.” But if you find that you or your partner’s grief becomes overwhelming, please seek help from support groups or professionals.
Who’s ready to get heavy?
Look guys, this post isn’t for everyone. If you’re single and mingling, not ready for big responsibility, maybe you read the title and rolled your eyes. I get it. And I respect your decision to pass this post by. But for some men, this post will really hit home, and I hope–so much–I can be of help.
Before I became pregnant with my son, I had a miscarriage. When the ultrasound technician told me there wasn’t a heartbeat at nine weeks, I was devastated, and so was my husband. The previous four weeks of happiness seemed so fake, so useless. There had been days I’d walked around smiling, rubbing my tummy, and I just felt like a fool after getting the news that the baby had stopped developing sometime in the previous week.
Despite SO many people talking about how no one talks about miscarriage, the truth is…no one talks about miscarriage. After confiding in a number of friends about what I’d just been through, I was shocked to hear the majority of those women say, me too. My husband had the same experience, mentioning it to friends, in secret, in whispers, only to find that their wives (and they) had had the same experience. Below, some tips on how you can help your other half (and yourself) get through a miscarriage:
Everyone grieves differently.
How many times have you heard this? It’s true, and I think it bears repeating. You may feel that you and your spouse had sex a few times, conceived, and then it went away. Bummer, but no big deal. If your spouse is on a different page…that’s okay. It’s not at all uncommon for your wife to feel she’s truly lost a child, while you feel this is a medical phenomenon. You’re both allowed to feel how you feel.
Give you or your spouse time.
It’s understandable that one of you may want to try again as soon as the doctor gives you the go ahead. If you’re both on the same page, great. But if your wife feels it’s not as simple as replacing one pregnancy with another, that’s normal. Make sure you allow her the space to grieve. Don’t rush it.
Post-miscarriage hormones are a BITCH.
I went to a family reunion a month and a half after I miscarried. I thought, physically and emotionally, I should be over it by then. I spent that weekend sobbing for no reason I could name, and the day we left my eyelids were so swollen from crying I could hardly open them. Although most doctors say your hormones should return to normal 6 weeks after a miscarriage, that wasn’t the case for me, or for many of my friends who had miscarriages. If your other half is just not herself–weepy, angry, quiet–it’s normal.
Become an optimist.
It’s not easy, but I highly recommend making a choice to become an optimist during this season in your life. Hold on to anything that gives you hope–for healing in the present, for a pregnancy in the future. Be mindful of things you’re grateful for in your life. Tell your spouse how much you love her. Believe that you’ll get through this challenge. It’s may be cliche, but attitude is everything.
Your grief counts, too.
If you share your loss with other people, you may find the attention is focused on the woman. It makes sense, but it’s not necessarily fair. Are you devastated by the loss of this pregnancy? That’s incredibly okay. Confide in friends; confide in your family; confide in your partner. Find support and know that so many have been in your shoes.
You don’t have to say the perfect thing.
Though there are a few things I recommend NOT saying (“Everything happens for a reason”; “You were only ten weeks along”; “There must have been something wrong with the fetus so it’s really a blessing”), there isn’t any one perfect thing to say. “I’m so sorry”; “I know this is so painful”; “We’ll get through this.” You could try any of these but it likely won’t take away the pain your spouse is feeling. What’s most important is to let her know you love and support her.
About the Author: If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. She also might provide an answer without waiting to be asked. That happens from time to time too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org .