Too often we forget that our partners suffer too. They suffer because they don’t get the same opportunities to grieve in our current culture. Instead, they have to hide their grief. Or, when they take a chance and show their sadness or grief, it is often dismissed by others, as culturally we don’t know what to do with male grief.
The old ways, of hiding and ignoring male grief, are still being perpetuated. Previously, it was believed that the miscarriage was a female event and had nothing to do what the partner. If we believe that statement, then the partners should be able to be separate and be unaffected. It would be wrong for a partner to grieve a loss.
I believe this is where the well-intentioned words, “You will have other children,” and, “It was for the better,” come from. It gives the partner the ability to stay separate from the mother’s grief. It gives the listener permission to move on and not get wrapped up in their grief.
After speaking with several of my clients and their partners after a loss I have recognized a few commonalities.
- The partner’s grief can be as strong and present as the mother’s.
- Many partners shelve their grief to support the mother until it gets to be too much.
- Partners will rarely admit they need support and seek it out as they feel they need to be strong and put on a good face.
- Male partners in particular may project or show their grief as anger. This is important as the grief is often overlooked.
Partners do mourn similarly to the mother but also differently.
They may mourn in a similar way such as:
- Loss of the pregnancy
- Loss of their unborn child
- Loss of the dream birth and the dream child
They may mourn differently:
- Loss of their partner as they process their grief. Saying things like “I miss her. I have lost her and I cant seem to get her back.”
- Loss of sex life, as many women associate sex with pregnancy.
It’s important for everyone to understand that the partners do suffer. I challenge each of us to acknowledge their grief, their anger, and their inability to make things better. Our partners suffer more and unnecessarily when we do not recognize their loss and their grief.
Find your partner, hug them, and acknowledge their grief alongside yours.