“So you’re hoping for a girl?”
Daniel bought a little pink onesie the same day he found out I was expecting our second baby. He was so happy.
We were in Southeast Asia for a week of rest in the northern mountains and then a few days at the beach down South. The places we stayed were created to be havens of rejuvenation for cross cultural workers. For a little while the rest of the world disappeared and it was just our family. Uncounted sacred memories exist for us in those places. One of my favorites happened in the early hours of the morning.
Everyone else in our raised, stilt cabin was sleeping. Too excited to put off taking a pregnancy test any longer, I was wide awake. Why not three in the morning?
Tiptoeing back to bed and trying to pass the time until sunrise was too difficult so I tapped Daniel on the shoulder to whisper the announcement. He was thrilled of course. We both were. Adding people to the wonderful thing you get to call your family is a gift. We could not stop smiling.
Immediately talking with our regional administrator via Skype was important as there would be new baby plans to intertwine with opening an English Center in South Asia. He was the first person we told when expecting our daughter so it felt nice to keep the tradition. Also, with my interesting history of carrying babies it was a good idea to let him know as soon as possible in case of a sudden medical need.
I love the look on Daniel’s face, in his eyes, the attitude he exudes when I’m expecting one of his children. Protective, strong, caring, delighted and proud. Buying a pink onesie was a promise of something wonderful to come & an outward expression of everything my husband was feeling. It hung on the back of a wooden chair in our small vacation cabin.
A little pink onesie is not usually something associated with grief and loss, but for a long time and maybe still today, it became that for Daniel. A few days into the pregnancy something just didn’t feel right. Bleeding, weakness, holding our breath. Waiting for what seemed inevitable, but refusing to let go of the last shred of hope that our baby could grow and be born…that became the norm for a while.
We returned home to South Asia on an emotional roller coaster with a season of bedrest and uncertainty ahead. Daniel took care of me through the bedrest and until I recovered physically from the miscarriage. I will probably never be able to completely understand how that time was for him or he for me.
Carrying our child was sacred. So were our two places of rest in Southeast Asia because we had known intense happiness and the beginning of loss there.
“Someone or something protected, revered, loved, held in high esteem: sacred”
Our connections in South Asia with friends, important places, and familiar things during that difficult time: sacred. Everything Daniel held in his mind and heart during the short time we were a family of four: sacred. Somehow so was the loss even though no couple would ever choose to share such a life event.
He kept the pink onesie safely hidden for a few months until he was ready to let it go in a way he found meaningful. I never knew where it was, but he told me when he let it go and what he did with it to honor our baby’s life. He felt grief deeply, but found it difficult to open up.
When pregnancy loss happens fathers and husbands hurt too. Mothers bear hurt physically and emotionally, and the father carries his wounds in a unique way.
The degree to which I saw love on Daniel’s face when I was expecting our children is the degree to which I could read grief and pain in his life when we lost our babies. He lost children too.
Please remember fathers when miscarriage or pregnancy loss happens. This is something other believing men could speak into if they could find the courage: especially if they’ve been there. Offer the healing presence of time together if you don’t know what to say. Pray for God to show you how to include fathers in your compassion when reaching out to hurting families who have lost children.
In my next post in this category I will share ideas for helping men through miscarriage.
©2017 Chrissy Winslow – All Rights Reserved
A link for Men and Miscarriage from Christianity Today. A worthwhile read to help get the ball rolling on this topic.