At 39, my husband, Ryan, could not recall a single conversation about miscarriage with another man in his life. In his letter to grieving dads, he describes having no idea how to deal with it:
“We discuss other important issues at the pub with our mates, at church, on social media, on the news, and at work, but miscarriage still feels taboo among men, like somehow it’s a secret women’s problem that we simply need to help them ‘deal’ with as quietly as possible so that no one gets embarrassed or uncomfortable. It’s easy to get the impression that a loss like this is inconsequential and small. After our first miscarriage, I wanted to talk openly about it but felt lost for words. There was a disconnect between the way I thought I should feel and the way I actually felt… I think I tried to help myself by tying to help my wife—if she felt better, then I would feel better too. With each miscarriage I clicked into survival mode.”
While every couple approaches grief differently in the aftermath of miscarriage, statistics should compel us to embrace pregnancy loss as not simply a women’s issue, but as a family issue.
The health of our marriages is at stake
According to a study that followed 7,700 pregnant couples for 15 years, couples who experienced miscarriage were 22% more likely to break up than couples who hadn’t. (The statistics were even higher for couples who experienced stillbirth.) In another study, researchers found that 32% of women felt more distant from their husband interpersonally one year post-miscarriage, while 39% felt more distant sexually.
But as hard as miscarriage can be on a marriage, there’s no need to resign to defeat. Our marriages are not bound to fail. In fact, research also supports a direct link between the way partners connect after miscarriage and the resulting closeness they share. The following research is female-centric, but what it reveals is telling for both partners: “When women felt that their male partners failed do to things to show they cared, women perceived greater distance,” wrote Kristin M. Swanson, RN, PhD. “However, when women perceived that their partners engaged in mutual sharing of feelings and experiences, they claimed to be closer…Perhaps when partners failed to do things that showed they cared, women felt abandoned, whereas when men shared feelings, women perceived this sharing as the two of them pulling together through a difficult time.”
In other words, the way we respond to each other after miscarriage has a direct impact on our marriages, intimacy and sex included. For many couples, grieving openly together culminates in greater intimacy than they shared before.
How to support your spouse through miscarriage
So how do we find ourselves on the right side of the statistics? My article How to Keep Your Marriage Intact after Miscarriage at Relevant Magazine will help you find practical help with processing grief, practicing good communication, nurturing faith and spirituality, protecting sex and intimacy, and finding your way forward.
Continue reading my article on Relevant Magazine: 15 Ways to Nurture Your Marriage after Miscarriage
FREE RESOURCES FOR YOU:
Miscarriage & Loss Resource Page – Stories, Resources, and Support
Journaling Our Scarlett Stories: Journal Prompts to Process Grief after Miscarriage and Loss
Grace Like Scarlett Book Club and Support Group
How to Support a Friend after Miscarriage
What Not to Say to Someone after Pregnancy Loss (and What to Say Instead)
Men and Miscarriage Series
Our Scarlett Stories – Stories of Grief + Grace + Hope after Pregnancy Loss
Available at your favorite retailer:
Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss
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Featured image by Heather Mount on Unsplash