By Raymond Baxter of The Relationship Blogger
When we talk about men and miscarriage, we immediately think of the mother, the woman. The caregiver. The soul-crushing, ripped-out feeling the mom must be having at the time. Now, I understand for the woman it’s an excruciatingly soul-destroying experience to have the child that’s growing inside her lose its life. My wife, she describes it as a part of her has been lost that she can never get back—the love that was building up inside her for her new child—gone. Fluttered away like a pack of butterflies from a flower in the summer.
It’s not an easy feat getting over a miscarriage. A couple of years ago, Ronnie in the television show, EastEnders, depicted the scenario extremely well. Fraught with the idea of her dead baby, she chose not to accept it and proceeded to pass off Kat and Alfie’s newborn as her own. Now, this is an extenuating circumstance, but the principle is the same. It’s just extremely—actually, no, brutally–tough on the mom, whatever the situation.
But what about Dad? Dad gets off lightly. I mean, all he has is the idea that he will have a child in x months, and now he won’t. No hormones, no weird food imbalances, no going through the motions. Dad gets off lightly.
Or does he?
As men we aren’t very in tune with our emotions, and we always like to have the notion that we have the situation under control, but really, we haven’t the foggiest. We have no clue. The idea that we were going to be a dad again or a new dad is an exciting prospect; in fact, it’s deeply woven into the fabric of society as a man’s purpose in life. Settle down and have children. Most of us want that, and any man who tells you he doesn’t hasn’t matured enough yet or has a partner that he doesn’t trust fully.
So what is a man without purpose?
Well. Here’s what happened to me on our miscarriage. I cried a little when I first found out but sucked it up because men don’t cry, or at least that’s what I was raised to believe. I had a driving lesson that day, and we tore the road home up. That day, giving my wife a hug when I got in, I saw the helplessness in her eyes, the confusion, the emptiness. It literally ripped me the fuck up inside. Ever been in a situation where you know the person you love uncontrollably has something terribly wrong and you can do absolutely nothing to help? But perhaps hug them, even if you know that won’t help one bit?
Yeah, so there was me. In helpless mode, feeling numb, working on auto-pilot to best serve Natalie in any way I possibly could. I had absolutely no understanding what she was going through. I couldn’t and I still don’t.
Anyone who says men don’t feel emptiness at the time is wrong. I did. I was going to be a father. I was the proudest father on the planet. I’d told all my friends, all my family, hell, even the people on the street. And now? Empty. That whole idea and the self-fulfilling happiness that came with it was replaced with confusion, anger, emptiness, helplessness and a load of bloody numbness. But I had to be strong for Natalie. Christ, it would be useless if I broke down, too. Who would help my partner?
The coming weeks would suck in their entirety, too. The love, the support and the empathy would come flowing for Natalie, and I’d watch the endless cuddles and the outstretched arms from empathetic friends, and I’d get an, “Oh, you ok too, mate?” perhaps from one, maybe two people. “Yeah, I’m dealing,” I’d say, all the while wishing I could curl up in the fetal position and rock myself crying to sleep.
That being said, all through the process Natalie was a strong woman, and yes, she supported me whenever she could, and yes, not for one moment did I feel less loved, and yes, she did remind her friends that I was going through an utterly crap time too. She was my rock just as I was hers.
So the next time a couple has a miscarriage, spare a thought for the man too. Give him a hug, get him to open up to you. Don’t just look at him as if he’s a solid chunk of emotionless steel that feels no pain. We hurt, we cry, we have powerful emotions. Help us realize that if we don’t already.
Thanks for listening.
This post was originally posted on The Relationship Blogger.
About the Author
My name is Raymond Baxter and I own the blog, The Relationship Blogger. I’ve had a hard old life, me. Fraught with absent fathers, abusive childhoods, an alcohol and drug induced youth, several spells in Psychiatric Hospitals and a long period of recovery. If you could call it that. Through a long journey of excited discovery and tears, I walked upon the path of change and never looked back. I progressed from unskilled work to fully-skilled and technical positions. I learned, I strived. I looked deep into myself. I saw the man that I was and the ideas that made my clogs turned. I did it. I changed. And I’m here to tell you that you can too.