General Question

lillycoyote's avatar

Men: If a woman you love/loved: wife, SO, ex, etc. has had a miscarriage, did anyone ever ask you at the time how you were doing? How you were coping with it?

Asked by lillycoyote (24798points) May 18th, 2009

If someone did ask, did that seem right to you? And if no one asked, did it seem strange, unkind or thoughtless in some way, that people didn’t view it as your loss too?

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27 Answers

skfinkel's avatar

It’s weird that in our society, miscarriages are not really talked about. I had a very late one that was quite horrible, and while I don’t know what people said to my husband, I know that no one really talked to me about it. And I was in mourning.

cak's avatar

About a month after my first miscarriage (with my husband), I gave my husband a card. I wanted him to know that I realized it was a loss for him, too. I know one of his friends checked on him to see how he was doing and feeling. He had been through it with his wife, so he understood the feelings, too.

Darwin's avatar

No one said a word to my husband after our miscarriage. And very few folks said anything helpful to me.

I had a friend who miscarried very late in her pregnancy and people usually just brushed it away with statements such as “Well, the baby probably had something wrong with it anyway” and “So when are you going to try again?” The doctors thought she was a bit nuts to want to have a funeral for what they considered a fetus but eventually they let her do it. She considered it to be her son who died far too soon.

Miscarriage is a funny subject. A lot of people simply want to pretend it doesn’t exist, or even worse, that a miscarriage somehow doesn’t count somehow.

Likeradar's avatar

This is slightly off topic, but what would be the right thing to say?

The one time someone close to me had a miscarriage, I had no idea what to say, so I just cooked them food. What is a compassionate/kind thing to say?

RedPowerLady's avatar

I have unfortunately been there. Several people asked my husband how he was doing. But more paid attention to me. It was a bit unequal. And that is horrible. Considering the fact that people don’t generally provide enough support anyhow during a miscarriage. (of course I made sure to support hubby all I could). I believe the only reason people knew it was okay to say anything at all is because we lost our son (after birth) a year previous and wrote a letter explaining it was okay to talk to us about it.

@skfinkel & @Darwin I agree. It is horrible that there is not enough support. I, for one, would like to see pregnancy and infant loss something that is discussed and acknowledged in our society. It is such a silent loss that it makes the mourning process that much more difficult.

@cak what a wonderful thing to do for your hubby

Darwin's avatar

@Likeradar – You could ask how they are doing, or even just simply say “I am so sorry.” Or you could simply help them out somehow, such as cooking for them.

Take your cue from your friend. Just don’t try to minimize or trivialize it.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Likeradar Here is a good website for future reference. I will link to the “how to help” page in particular:
http://www.alovingjourney.org/supportfriendsfam.htm

But the right thing to say is to acknowledge the loss. To acknowledge that person as a parent. To acknowledge the baby as just that, a baby. To let them know it is OK to be sad and to mourn forever because grief never dies and that you won’t get tired of them being sad. That it is okay to be sad around you. And that it is also okay to have fun around you, you won’t think any worse of them for doing so. Of course you want to take clues from your friend about how much they are ready to talk and listen vs. be quietly comforted. I even found that someone saying “i really don’t know what to say except I am so sorry” was helpful.

Editing to add: You know just being around can be amazingly helpful. Even that silent acknowledgment that they need support. Also sending cards with little pretty sayings or loss poems or loss jewelry is really helpful (for up to a year or longer, say every couple months). Geez I feel like typing more even, haha. There is so much you can do as a friend.

cak's avatar

We experienced the “a miscarriage” doesn’t count thing, one too many times. Funny, each time I miscarried, I mourned, deeply – as did my husband.

@Likeradar – cooking for them was very kind. You did more than most do, most don’t have a clue how to approach things. @RedPowerLady just linked a wonderful site. You are a good friend for thinking enough to reach out, even with food.

DarkScribe's avatar

It has never happened, but some of the more empathetic among friends and family probably would do so.

Supacase's avatar

I freely admit that it never crossed my mind to express concern for the man.

Until, that is, one of my friends told me exactly what happened during her miscarriage. She was on the floor of the bathroom and he was there to witness every horrifying second of it. He never left her side and it was very hard on him. It was a real eye-opener to me because, for some reason, I always imagined it being either very clinical or something that the woman physically endures alone.

He is not my close friend and I certainly talked to her more about it, but I did send a card to both of them as a couple.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Supacase That was great of you to talk with her about it and to send a card.

I want to say that even without the physical support and seeing what happened it is still very real for the man. The man still fathered this child. He had hopes and dreams for the child and for his own fatherhood. He may have felt the child kick or even just dreamed of feeling the child kick. It was his child and when the miscarriage happened all that was lost.

cak's avatar

My husband felt such a loss and confusion. In some ways, it’s got to be a different kind of pain. A woman carries the baby, losing it is very personal and yes, can be physically painful, too. And it is very emotionally devastating, at least it was for me.

A man, on the other hand, has this loss – but they don’t have that physical connection – as far as in their body. It’s just gone, the baby is gone. I know that he felt that he had to be the strong one, but one night he just broke down. I felt so horrible for him.

The day I told him I was pregnant, he was walking on air. He had waited to become a father for a very long time. He couldn’t contain himself, he was over the moon. In an instant, it was over. It’s so very important to remember that the husband feels a loss, too. They do grieve.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I agree. It is so different. The man almost always feel like he has to be the strong one, the support system. And is less validated in his grief because lack of physical connection. For me the physical connection was extremely important. Both in life and loss. I think about it sometimes, what it is for a man not to have that and it makes me a bit sad. I’m sure it makes them sad as well. It is almost another loss for them. Because they will never get to know that physical connection after a loss has occurred.

CuteButStupid's avatar

I have a few tears in my eyes having read the responses thus far. It has been 30 years since my wife miscarried for the second time. We fortunately were successful with our next two pregnancies, and even tonight had the joy of being with our oldest child as she invited us to watch our grand-daughter’s first school concert. And yet my tears tonight are brought by the deep agonizing heart break we had those 30 years ago. Yes, husbands (fathers) feel the pain too.

lillycoyote's avatar

@CuteButStupid Thank you so much for your comment. It was not at all my intention to resurrect anyone’s pain but to find out what men’s experience had been and to maybe get people to think about how a miscarriage is a loss for the father too, not just the mother. Again, I thank you. I am sorry for your loss, but glad you were there for your grand-daughter’s first concert.

augustlan's avatar

{hugs} to all of you.

Jack79's avatar

Yes, it happened and no, nobody asked. I didn’t even have time to think about it, because I was too busy trying to comfort my wife. So was everybody else. I think that in the whole pregnancy/birth/abortion/misscarriage spectrum the woman does (and rightly so) have a much more important role, not so much because of being the mother of the child involved, but because the situation affects her own body.

I do however feel that, in other situations, for example when my daughter needed to have an operation, the role of the father is often overlooked, and his feelings and needs neglected. I’ve had to fight for my daughter’s life every single day for the past 4 years, on my own, while my (now ex) wife is on TV playing a role and getting all the sympathy. She was never there once. All she cared was about how people felt towards her, not what actually happened to our child.

Ok I know mine is an extreme scenario, but for example in cases of loss (a had a 5-year-old cousin who got run over by a lorry), it’s still the mother that everybody looks to. She’s in the spotlight, pressured to feel, cry, ask for help, but also the one consoled and supported. Meanwhile, the father has to deal with his loss alone – my uncle went crazy and never recovered, even 30 years later.

Luckily for me, as with CutebutStupid, we did get our daughter a year later. And I’ve been too busy worrying about her to even remember the miscarriage.

Likeradar's avatar

Thanks for the responses, all. Hopefully it will never happen to anyone I know again, but if it does I feel better equipped to be a better friend. My heart goes out to all of you who have shared your experiences.

casheroo's avatar

I’ve had quite a few miscarriages, and it seems my husband is immune to them. And sadly, I feel immune to them as well :( People ask me how I can talk about them so calmly, and I guess after the third one, you just come to expect it. :(
Because of this, we hold off on telling people that I’m pregnant. So, no one actually knows the number of miscarriages I’ve suffered. I’ll sometimes tell close friends, but I think they are even at a loss of what to say since the miscarriages are recurrent.
And no doctor takes them serious, because they tell me I’m young and it’s not a problem, that part bothers me the most

casheroo's avatar

Oh, to add, I do talk to my husband about it. I always ask him how he is, and how he feels. He doesn’t get upset at all, because he feels it wasn’t meant to be so I shouldn’t get so worked up about it. I don’t know why he doesn’t want to know the exact root of the problem, like I would love to know. Every time it happens, I feel that my body is failing me. He doesn’t understand that.

Darwin's avatar

@casheroo – You may need to change doctors. There is probably a cause for repeated miscarriages and many of these causes can be remedied these days.

casheroo's avatar

@Darwin I’ve had one successful birth, so my doctors put the miscarriage issue on the back burner. We’ll see what happens during the course of this year, and then I’ll see a doctor (hopefully won’t need to)

Darwin's avatar

@casheroo – a friend of mine had two successful births followed by five (yes, five) miscarriages. She changed doctors since they told her the same thing that your doctor is telling you and found one who was a bit more willing to investigate the reasons.

It turned out it was because her body wasn’t producing the right proportions of the right hormones at the right time for the baby to be carried throughout the pregnancy. Generally right about the three- or four-month mark she would undergo a miscarriage, or as her original doctor insisted on calling them, a spontaneous abortion. Her new doctor experimented with dosages and finally got it just right so she successfully gave birth to a third child, a boy.

She wasn’t old (only about 30 at the time) but she was tired of folks not taking her concerns seriously.

Jack79's avatar

Doctors can be very insensitive, perhaps because they cannot cope any other way. When my wife had her miscarriage (or rather the night before) I asked the doctor something like “what happens now?” and his response was along the lines of “we wait and see if the bleeding stops”. And so I say “what if it doesn’t?”. So he says “oh, then you just have to try again”. Which of course is very rational and, thinking back, makes all the sense in the world, but at the time it was shocking and not at all helpful.

But then again, my mother had an operation a couple of weeks ago and when I asked the surgeon the chances of success he said “oh forget your mother, she’s dead already”. She survived.

And of course when my grandfather had his prostate operation the doctor joked that “he has enough stones in here to build a house”.

But I guess this is their own way of coping. They could never do their job otherwise with all that responsibility.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Jack79 I agree about the doctors (not that I don’t respect their work). I have too many horrible doctor insensitivity experiences including during this circumstance. I mean horrible ones that I probably shouldn’t post. And just minor ones that are insensitive and rude. I advocate for sensitivity training as a requirement to any kind of patient practice.

casheroo's avatar

@Darwin That’s interesting to know. Ive been told by other women that I may have a clotting issue, but I figured there’d be other symptoms than having miscarriages. Thanks for that info though.

Hibernate's avatar

If I were to be in that situation I wouldn’t like to be asked that question. I had a friend that was in that situation. After a few weeks, a lot of crying, a lot of booze and etc he told me one thing I’ll never forget. I was the only one that didn’t ask the stupid question and he wish he had more friends like me.

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