by Melissa Jaramillo
"We're having a baby!"
These words flow easily from the lips of a new mother as she shares the news with her partner. Together you anticipate, you plan, and you dream.
Then something goes horribly wrong. Because of a miscarriage, stillbirth, or any number of other "unexplainable" reasons, the child you were so ready to cradle in your arms is no longer with you. Where there was joy, now there is this incredible sense of anguish, pain, and emptiness. Sharing these feelings with your spouse may not give you quite the reaction you expected or desired.
Unfortunately I speak from experience. My husband and I have shared several losses. Each time I have to remind myself that his reaction is quite different than my own. This does NOT mean that he cares less than I do, but instead indicates that his method in grieving is very distinctive of mine.
Keeping some of the following in mind has helped us maintain our relationship and honestly aided us in becoming closer to one another:
A spouse or partner though, is forced to be content with the anticipation. While he may be involved with picking out names, painting the nursery, setting up furniture… feeling those ninja kicks later on, he is still able to remain a bit separate.
When a loss occurs, the mother experiences it down to her very core. Hormones are thrust into a whirlwind. There may be physical complications such as extended bleeding, leading to iron loss, anemia, etc. There are lingering effects of the pregnancy with the knowledge that it is for naught. There is no way to ignore this.
My husband however… *rolling eyes!* would like some peace and quiet. He is the type that prefers to put up a wall between him and the pain. He doesn't need to go over and over things. He doesn't have to have an answer of "why" this happened. Some of his statements that I can almost count on are "It happened. I can't change it now can I?" or "What do you want me to do?" These callous statements can make me want to throttle him!
Given these polar opposite approaches to our loss how can a marriage/relationship survive?