The first three months are a scary time for new moms. Since over 25 percent of pregnancies will end in a miscarriage during the first trimester, a new mom has reason to worry. New moms count the days and pray the baby lives until the second trimester, when the chance of a miscarriage drops dramatically. Nevertheless, the thought of a miscarriage is still of concern throughout the pregnancy. And not just for the new mom.
Although a new dad’s anxieties can’t compare with those of a new mom, the thought of a miscarriage is just as devastating and painful. When it does occur, the immediate response of others is to express compassion and sympathy for the new mom and dad, but just as it is with the news of the pregnancy, it isn’t long before the spotlight turns to the new mom, and the new dad is yanked off the stage and forgotten. Relatives, friends, and neighbours naturally focus their attention on the mom to comfort her and provide her with emotional support. After all, she is the one who was carrying the baby and had to deal with the unpleasant side effects of the miscarriage that include vaginal bleeding and passing of blood clots, which further complicates the feeling of loss for a new mom. Soon after the miscarriage, a mom can become so caught up in her grief that she unintentionally forgets that her husband is also grieving.
I attribute this behavioral trend to the nature of our culture. Unfortunately, there is a tendency in our society to not show the same level of sympathy and empathy to new dads as to new moms. As if to suggest that a mom’s bereavement is more painful than a dad’s, and that a new dad’s bond to the unborn baby that he has worked so hard to establish had no value. In our culture, a man’s role in the death of a loved one is to be the rock and the person giving emotional support, not receiving it. Well, guess what? The loss of life is equally as painful for a man as it is for a woman. A man also needs a shoulder to lean on, as these dads came to realize:
“A few days after we received news of the miscarriage, I was still pretty distraught. I wanted to talk to my wife about it. But after I saw how more distraught she was, I decided to just be there for her and worry about me later.”
“I received the usual sympathetic words. But as the days passed my wife was receiving all the attention. She was also receiving cards expressing sympathy for her loss. I was left alone to lick my wounds.”