“I didn’t watch you go through it. I also went through it”
Daniel and I don’t talk about the miscarriages often, but last week we did and I learned something. From now on I will refer to them as our miscarriages instead of just mine.
I’ve encouraged people to think of men during miscarriage for a few years now. It’s a topic close to my heart, but I didn’t realize that verbally I was still referring to our experiences as mine until I talked with Daniel last week.
I interviewed him to better understand how he felt and learn what helped him after our first miscarriage. I wanted to know what he would say to fathers who are dealing with miscarriage and to friends and loved ones who want to help.
After the miscarriage what did people say or do that was helpful to you?
-When it happened you asked to be alone in the hospital overnight. I didn’t want to leave you, but knew you needed time to process things. Our friends were taking care of Eva so I went to their house. On the drive there I was angry, sad, talking to God out loud. It was good to be at our friends’ house after that. I felt welcome and knew I didn’t have to perform for them. They didn’t try to force me to spiritualize anything that had just happened. I don’t remember what they said or did, but I knew it was safe to be there and be myself.
-In the hospital the day after it happened Aakash brought food and came to spend time with me. I don’t remember what he said, but it was more than his presence or words that helped. It was the attitude that he was serving me as a friend. I needed someone to care for me in that way and he did. I was capable of going somewhere to get food, but Aakash and his wife brought dinner and sat with me for a while. That meant something.
What practical things helped the most?
-When friends we knew well offered to take care of our daughter for a little while so I could help you during your recovery at home. It also gave us a chance to spend time alone together to speak freely to God and each other.
-When you were on bedrest before the miscarriage and when you were in the hospital for a few days after, friends had our daughter and me over for meals or brought food to the house.
-Having tangible ways to help you. You usually wanted tea two or three times during the day when you were at home recovering. It was nice to have the routine of making tea for you then sitting with you and talking. Helping in ways where I could actually do something felt good because so much was out of our control. It gave me something to focus on.
What would you say to people who want to be there for a friend whose family is dealing with miscarriage?
Let your friend know you are available and let him know he can be free to talk to you without judgment. He needs to feel safe to express himself however he wants. Don’t correct him, preach to him, or give platitudes.
Encourage him to be honest with God.
What would you say to fathers who are going through miscarriage?
-You may have to battle with your own beliefs and thoughts. God may use it to expose parts of you that you wish weren’t there.
-If you don’t enter into the grief, hurt, sorrow, and anger, it doesn’t magically go away. You need to deal with it. It might even be a good idea to talk to a third party or counselor to do a debriefing so that you can share your story and be heard without judgement.
-Don’t think you have to deny reality and “become religious” during something like this so you can please God. That’s not true. God wants to meet you in reality, in your pain.
How did it feel to watch me go through it?
I didn’t watch you go through it. I also went through it. As a woman you experienced it alone as far as the physical part, but I was in the rest of it with you. It feels powerless. Power and control are illusions. Just because we live in a world we consider modern, medicine and doctors can’t fix everything. Some things happen and there is no way to stop them. Money, modern medicine…they can’t fix everything. And God somehow chooses not to stop some things. These things are tough.
Is there anything else you want to say on the topic?
The difficulty with miscarriage is it’s a death of your hopes for that child—so there’s no overwriting. There’s nothing to show for it.
The societal norm is to never talk about it and if you do someone may say, “Oh that happens a lot.” And it does happen a lot, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t pain with it.
The desire to have that child doesn’t stop when the pregnancy stops. It’s still there, but with no outward reality.
Yes of course life goes on, but what seems to be misunderstood is that while the remaining sadness is not debilitating or crippling, it’s real.
When pregnancy finishes with a healthy birth, the hopes for what that child will one day be and do are just hopes, but have the potential of becoming reality. And while that child’s life may come with difficulty or heartbreak, it can still be good.
When there is a miscarriage those same hopes are hopeless because the potential of them becoming reality is gone.
I didn’t experience physical pain with the miscarriages, but I had to accept the reality that my dreams and hopes for those children, for what our marriage and family would be with them, were dead. We didn’t have our second or third child, but our marriage and family still changed.
©2017 Chrissy Winslow – All Rights Reserved
Thanks for reading Men & Miscarriage.
Miscarriage affects Marriage and Children as well. I want to address these topics soon. My hope is that what I write in this category will enable you to reach out in helpful ways to people who are hurting.
– A great read for How Men Handle Miscarriage
-Read my book, Flying in Labor, for more stories on Miscarriage, Motherhood, and Changing Expectations. It’s set in the beautiful countries and cultures of the Himalayas. Available in Paperback & Kindle: