When it comes to pregnancy and infant loss, the focus is often always on the mother who experienced the loss. Society isn’t always conscious of the fact that the father as well is suffering an equivalent loss. When it comes to miscarriage, yes, as women it’s our bodies that are experiencing the traumatic turmoil; a physical pain that compares to nothing else I know. As I reflect on that, I can only imagine the anguish of a father who can do absolutely nothing about it and the guilt most men carry because of that. They have not only lost their baby too, but they now have to watch their partner, someone they love, suffer. They have to pick up the physical labor; waiting on their partner hand and foot because she physically isn’t able; all the while breaking down within themselves.
Many relationships deteriorate as a result of not being able to come back from child loss.
There is so much damage in each partner’s heart that in some cases couples can unintentionally damage one another. I’ve heard so many stories from other families who’ve experienced child loss and the common thread is that it either brings their relationship closer together or completely tears them apart. At 22 weeks, I can’t help but reflect on the fact that while this will be my first earthly child, I am pregnant for the third time! With that revelation comes so much gratitude for my husband, our relationship, and how we’ve managed to overcome. I am thankful that if anything, our fertility struggles brought us so much closer to one another and to God, the foundation we stand on.
My husband, Brandon, is probably one of the strongest people I know, and the hopefulness I saw in him when losing our babies was truly what kept us grounded. I know that he was hurting just as much as I was, but I watched him research things like lifestyle changes that men should make that could increase our chances of reproduction. I remember him coming home with random pregnancy tests encouraging me to just give it a try. I’ve heard him praying for strength and guidance when I no longer had the words. I watched him pick himself up so that he could be light for me. He’s been my constant reminder to keep my eyes toward the sun and to never stop watching God. I’ve learned his coping methods and understood that although he did not grieve exactly the way I did, that didn’t mean he wasn’t grieving.
It’s the excitement and the joy that I watch in his eyes and in his smile week after week while we’re looking at ultrasound pictures or as he places his hand on my belly to feel Brielle move that brings me more awareness of what he had to be going through during the time of our losses. In anything, a person’s excitement behind a win is often at the same magnitude of their devastation from a loss.
Now that we’re finally seeing a win, I know that I am not the only one pregnant after loss. He is as well.
We both are. As a man, he cannot physically carry a child in his body, but he does carry her in his heart and soul. This has been just as much of his journey as it is mine. I am appreciative of all he is doing to accommodate for the health and wellness of myself and our baby. I notice how much more protective he is, attentive and ambitious. I am honored that it is him God chose for me to be on this journey with. While the best is yet to come, the worst served no match for a duo like us.
Remember your partner on the good days. Remember your partner on the bad days. On all days, hand in hand is always better.