Dads feel the heartbreak of miscarriage too
Tommy's blog, 12/11/2016
Miscarriage can be devastating for both mums and dads, yet many men feel overlooked after the loss of their baby.
Al Fergusson from The Dad Network shared his story of miscarriage with Tommy’s for Baby Loss Awareness Week and talked about the need for remembering that there are two parents going through this loss.
“Dads have the same emotions; they have the same experience except from the physical side of miscarriage. It has to be a focus on both mum and dad for dealing and coping with miscarriage.”
We agree with Al and think that more needs to be done to support fathers and partners in this situation.
It is important to remember that the physical aspect of miscarriage can be distressing for men as well.
Whilst they will not personally suffer the physical pain, many fathers feel frustrated, angry and powerless to help their partner.
Nick Harrison’s blog account The Odd Journey of a Man Through Miscarriage highlights the taboo around men talking about miscarriage.
“I am slightly uneasy writing as a man about my wife’s miscarriage. Because it was exactly that: my wife’s miscarriage. I have always regarded myself as collateral damage in the affair.”
Nick and his wife lost their first baby after having told friends and family members about their pregnancy.
“Amid the shock I felt a peculiar sense of embarrassment. Recalling the previous weeks when we’d gathered our families and charged our glasses when the reality was that we were celebrating an already failing collection of cells.”
Nick’s wife had a feeling that something wasn’t right after she began to experience pain but Nick remained confident.
“I told her that everything was going to be okay and I meant it. No bluff or bluster or false optimism. I didn’t know. I was unaware of such a possibility.”
After being told that they had miscarried, Nick was overwhelmed by the news.
“As we left the surgery the grief pole-axed me, crumpling me into my wife with big shoulder-heaving tears. It was so unfamiliar it felt like I was watching myself down there on the pavement.”
As well as managing his own feelings of loss, Nick felt scared that he was failing his wife by showing his pain.
“I had no words of solace for my wife because very obviously everything wasn’t going to be okay. Through the blubbing I apologised to her, driven by the fear that I’d not met some outdated notion of a stoical impassive husband.”
The feelings that Nick describes are very common. Many fathers talk about feeling they must remain strong for their wife and not show how they are really feeling.
Often they will throw themselves into the practicalities of dealing with the situation and not give themselves time to process their feelings.
It is important to realise that men suffer the pain of miscarriage as well as women.
Fathers are not immune from this heartbreak and we need to break the silence around men and miscarriage to ensure fathers do not feel guilty for showing grief.
Men should be able to share their story of loss and not feel that they are, as Nick describes, “collateral damage”.
Are you are struggling to cope with your partner’s reaction to loss or worried about how they have responded? Read our information page about your partner’s reaction here.
If you want to share your story you can add it to our Book of #misCOURAGE here.
Al’s story can be heard on the video he made with Tommy’s for Baby Loss Awareness Week here.
You can read Nick’s original account at his blog, Bad Dadu.