“The miscarriage happened so fast. I was a proud dad-to-be. Then all of a sudden our baby is dead, and I’m not a dad anymore. Next thing I know, my job is to console my wife. But nobody is around to console me.”
“I worked hard to bond with our baby. And now she is gone. Yet, people act as though I had no invested interest or relationship with the baby. I’m also grieving, but my wife has received most of the sympathy and hugs.”
I think the reason there is a tendency for people to show more sympathy towards a new mom is that the mom is pregnant, and they view the miscarriage as synonymous with pregnancy loss. I don’t have a dispute with the fact that mom is pregnant. I am arguing that what has really occurred is the loss of a baby, especially if the baby already had a name. And also lost are dreams. Lost dreams of motherhood and fatherhood, watching a child grow and play sports, graduate high school and college, maybe get married and have grandchildren, and especially for some dads, a broken dream of adding a branch to the family tree.
Now there are circumstances in which a new dad may not experience the same level of grief, with reasonable explanation. The bond between a baby and mom is unique because the baby is growing inside her womb. This bond begins the moment a new mom receives news of the pregnancy, whereas a dad may not begin to develop a bond with the baby until seeing the ultrasound picture or after the baby is born. This means your husband may be less affected by the loss. This doesn’t mean his loss is any less painful but rather that his grieving period is less than a new mom’s. So don’t get upset at your husband for not showing the same depth of grief. It may be taking him longer to come to terms with the loss of the baby. But just because a dad doesn’t experience the symptoms of a pregnancy or a miscarriage doesn’t mean he is immune to the pain and grief. The gain that once was is now a loss for both mom and dad.
If you and your husband are one of the 25 percent who experience a miscarriage, my sympathy goes out to both of you. As you mourn the loss of the unborn baby, please don’t buy into the myth that men don’t acknowledge the death because they are afraid of the hurt and aren’t emotionally equipped to mourn the loss or that men will not accept help and support. Men are equipped to grieve. People just don’t give new dads the compassion and sympathy they deserve. Give your husband a little more credit because he is also grieving. And if both of you are still struggling with the miscarriage, please read other books that address this issue or seek counselling.