With advances in prenatal care, especially ultrasound imaging, pregnancy loss has become more meaningful at an earlier stage for fathers as well as mothers.
In many cases, the grieving USA: National Institute Mental Health. process can be different for men and women.
Different Reactions to Pregnancy Loss Will Stress Your Relationship
Traumatic events like pregnancy loss can put extreme pressure on our primary relationships.
The different reactions we all have to such intense emotional turmoil can clash with one another.
The result is that we are both struggling, but are in totally different spaces and find it difficult to be there for one another.
Things can take a turn for the worse when one person feels hurt or angry that the other has not been present to their needs.
Stable and Loving Relationships Turn Volatile
The added strain in an already overwhelming situation can take a stable, loving relationship (the one thing we probably need most right now) and make it volatile.
This volatility is obviously not going to help.
Remember Your Deep, Unconditional Love
We must reach within ourselves, find the deep, unconditional love we feel for our partners and bring it to the surface so that we can lean on it when we feel frustrated or unable to connect.
Men and Women Cope Differently With Pregnancy Loss
Women Are More Expressive
Generally, women are more expressive about their loss, more outwardly emotional and more likely to look for support from others.
Men May Grieve Alone
Since society expects men to be strong and unemotional, they often grieve in more solitary ways.
Men also tend to be more oriented towards fact gathering and problem solving, and may therefore not choose to participate in support networks that are oriented toward talking and feeling.
While women usually cry and dwell on their memories of the baby, men most often express their grief by burying themselves in their work. Keep in mind that because grieving is such an individual experience, the opposite may also be true.
Different Pregnancy Experience Leads to Different Bonds and Different Visible Reactions
Women and men also experience different levels of bonding with a baby in utero.
The bond between a pregnant woman and the baby growing inside her is unique. Generally, it becomes more intense as the pregnancy progresses.
For the father, the baby may seem less ‘real’ until he experiences physical signs of the baby like seeing an ultrasound picture or feeling the baby kick. Sometimes a father’s bonding may not develop until after the baby is born. For this reason, men can seem less affected when the loss of the baby occurs early in pregnancy.
Look Beyond Behaviour – Grieving Takes Many Forms
These differences in style can easily be misinterpreted. As women, when our partner doesn’t appear to be as upset as us, we can feel that he doesn’t care as much.
As a man, on the other hand, you may feel that your partner will never get over her mourning. It’s important to remember that how a person behaves is not always a true indicator of his or her inner feelings.
The Secret to Survival: Talk, Listen Wholeheartedly
The best thing we can do to help our relationships survive is to communicate openly and honestly about how we feel.
We need to be more caring about each other’s feelings and do our utmost to cater to our partner’s needs.
Accepting our differences and acknowledging each other’s pain together with assuring one another of our commitment to our relationship helps to strengthen the bond we share.
It is in our primary relationship that our need for emotional maturity and healing will become most apparent.
If we are to grow together rather than apart as a result of our loss – there is simply no other option than to communicate wholeheartedly with one another every step of the way.
Take care until next time