by Sam Holt
There seems to be a conspiracy of silence when it comes to miscarriage. It's just not something that women or men seem to talk about. The reality is that miscarriage is very common and if you talk to people who have had children most will have experienced a miscarriage somewhere along the way. Miscarriage is most often a result of serious chromosomal abnormalities and not a result of something the mom did or did not do.
Loss of an unborn baby often affects men and women in a very different way especially if the loss is in the early stages of pregnancy. Having interviewed hundreds of new dads around the world it is apparent that a loss in the first trimester of pregnancy is nowhere near as traumatic for a man as a woman.
This comes down to the fact that from the time a woman knows she is pregnant she will start thinking about the embryo as a real person -- one with a face, fingers, toes and a name. Guys on the other hand are more likely to be thinking about how their life is going to change or just be in complete denial that there is a pregnancy in motion!
Second and Third Trimester Loss
Loss in the second half of pregnancy can be equally as traumatic for men as it can for women. Not only do men feel a sense of loss themselves but they also need to deal with their grieving partner and for many it can be a very tough time.
My wife experienced a miscarriage after the birth of our first child. It was in the first trimester and we found out at the first ultrasound when the sonographer was unable to detect a heart beat. Excitement quickly turned to despair and it was a very unpleasant experience walking back through the waiting room full of pregnant women, paying the bill and heading off home.
For me -- I was disappointed but not upset but I did find it difficult to know how to comfort my wife who was very upset at our loss.
For men dealing with our first miscarriage, we need to take into consideration our partner and ourselves.
What can you do or say to your partner if she experiences a loss
- Understand that she will be upset and you can't fix the problem. You need to be supportive, understanding and appreciate that there will be a grieving process which will take time.
- Understand that even if it’s very early stage pregnancy she will feel like she has lost a baby, even if you don't. Saying things like "don't worry it was only the size of a tic-tac" isn't going to be much help.
- Give her lots of support. She needs to know that you love her.
- It's important to re-enforce that it's not her fault. It's quite possible she may try and blame herself for something she did or didn't do but it's highly unlikely the loss had anything to do with her actions. I could write a whole article just on this point but from listening to many men talk about miscarriage, almost all said that their partners felt like she was to blame.
- Encourage her to talk to her female friends and family who have had children. It's very likely some will have been through the experience and will be able to offer support and advice.
- Understand that a pregnant woman is a sea of hormones and those hormones are still running wild after the loss. Know the signs of depression and seek medical advice if you feel she isn't coping well after a week or two.
- As guys we like to try and fix problems but sometimes you just need to provide a shoulder to cry on and an ear to talk to. Don't take it personally or get frustrated that you can't make her forget about it.
- Spend as much time with her as you can and remain positive about having kids. Having one miscarriage isn't necessarily a sign that you will have more so focus on staying healthy and having another go when the time is right.
What about you?
- Talk to your buddies who have kids and ask them if they have experienced a miscarriage and how they dealt with it. You’ll be surprised how many have experienced it.
- You are allowed to be upset and you, too, have the right to grieve.
- Understand that miscarriage is the human bodies survival of the fittest mechanism. There is often a very good reason why the pregnancy didn't go full term.
- The fact that you partner fell pregnant is a great sign that you'll be able to get pregnant again and have a healthy baby.
- Seek counseling or your doctor's advice if you or your partner are not coping well after a few weeks.
- Pregnancy and birth can make men feel very emasculated. So much of the process is out of our hands and we simply can't fix every problem that arises. Take the time to get more educated about the process and how you can be a great pregnancy and birth partner for your wife and child.
Dads Speak on Miscarriage
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About the authors: Troy Jones: Troy's company produced the Being Dad series and he has traveled the globe interviewing hundreds of new dads and experts. As a result we like to think of him as a "well renowned global guru in all things Being Dad;" sounds impressive anyway. Troy has a beautiful daughter Matilda, who appears in the Being Dad series.
Sam Holt: Best known for coming up with a new idea every five minutes it's little wonder that Being Dad was, in fact, his idea. Fortunately, Being Dad was one of Sam's better ideas and with the help of Troy and Tom it has grown way beyond all of their expectations. Sam has a son, Hugo, who is too cute to be his.
Tom Hastwell: Lured out of the corporate world by Sam and Troy, Tom has been bitten by the business bug. Troy and Sam are eagerly awaiting news that Toms wife is pregnant so that they can attach a camera crew to him for nine months and actually put him to work. Tom is currently practicing for kids.
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