Grief and Expectation for Partners that Experience Miscarriage or Infant Loss
Things you should know as you start your journies to heal
I wanted to shed light on a different perspective. What should the partners of the woman that has suffered loss do? What can they expect going forward?
A first step would be to evaluate yourself and how you are feeling. Do you think you should talk to a mental health professional about your feelings or ask them questions to help you learn how to be supportive of your partner? These are very important things to consider. Many partners have never been taught how to handle big emotions from their partners in reference to losing a baby. Below is a list of things that you SHOULD NOT do as your partner grieves:
a. Do not diminish their feelings or experience. Telling them things like it is common, the baby could've been sick, or it is better that it happened now versus later, etc. are not ways to validate what your partner is experiencing and can really hurt.
b. Do not give false reassurance. Do not tell them they can always get pregnant again or have another baby. Some women may experience difficulty getting pregnant and maintaining a pregnancy for a number of reasons.
c. Do not try to "fix it". There are plenty of things that you can do for yourself and your partner. No one and nothing will bring the child back to its mother's embrace. While you may have a natural instinct to "fix it", it is better you accept that you cannot.
d. Do not compare them to other women. Each woman's experience is different. I may sound like a broken record but this is important. If your mother or sister did not show their grief or grieved behind closed doors that is their lived experience. It has nothing to do with your current situation.
Educating yourself about the experience is equally important. I have provided some tips below:
1) Find credible sources that will help you understand the emotional and mental health changes that you may both experience (i.e. Psychology Today, support groups, etc.)
2) Be kind to yourself and your partner and understand that things will be different, while your partner is no longer pregnant their body may still appear as if they are, they may still experience nausea, fatigue, sore breast, decreased sex drive, and changes in their preferred foods for an undetermined time afterward (each woman's experience is different).
3) If you are not comfortable with talking about your feelings try writing them down and journaling them (this provides you with an opportunity to process your experience of the situation)
4) Practice listening with compassion and being emotionally present with your partner. You do not need to have an answer or explanation for what has happened. Validating their pain and wiping their tears is important.
5) Understand that it may be painful for them to see other pregnant women or hear pregnancy announcements for a while. Ask them about their feelings before making plans to attend baby showers, birthday parties of young children, or making doctor's appointments with their OBGYN.
I have included articles from Verywell Family and Parents below (I do not own the rights to this material):
Parker, W. (2021, September 13). Dealing With Miscarriage as a Father. Verywell Family. https://www.verywellfamily.com/dealing-with-miscarriage-1270770
Willets, M. (2021, April 6). It’s Time to Normalize What Happens to the Body After a Miscarriage. Parents. https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/complications/miscarriage/its-time-to-normalize-what-happens-to-the-body-after-a-miscarriage/
Author: Alita-Geri Carter, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC