Miscarriage from a Man’s perspective

An estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage (1 in 5 if we only count women who realised/reported the miscarriage) *

Around 11 in 1,000 pregnancies are ectopic*

About 1 in 100 women in the UK experience recurrent miscarriages*

Unfortunately, my wife and I fall into the statistics above. Our most traumatic miscarriage was in 2008 when we lost twins, the miscarriage process started when we were 8 weeks into our pregnancy.

From a father’s perspective my experience of the loss of our twins, which my wife and I had a front-row seat of through several scans over a number of weeks, was traumatic. We witnessed that one baby had sadly died, and the other was viable. Due to the positioning of implantation, we literally witnessed the miscarriage of one baby led to the loss of its sibling. The 2 foetuses had implanted one on top of the other, the top sibling sadly wasn’t viable and as a result of their passing caused the twin at the bottom to come away. Had they implanted side by side then there is a high change that the viable baby would have continued to term and been a successful pregnancy.

This drawn-out miscarriage process, of around 3 weeks, prolonged the torture and trauma. My wife went into deep depression, yet I had to ‘man up’, deal with our son and field 101 questions about how my wife was coping, how she was and concerned well-wishers asking after my wife. Not one person asked how I was.

Not even my parents.

It was two years later, that I broke down and when into self-destruct.

I immediately went into the alpha-male role and wanted shot of anything and everything that reminded us of the twins. Whereas my wife was not ready to move on. This, in turn, caused unrest, conflict and further trauma. In this situation, a couple may not be able to share their thoughts and feelings. This could lead to isolation even though the couple are surrounded by well-wishes and concerned friends and family. By each parent seeing a different counsellor, they benefit from a tailored and bespoke care-plan. Once both parents feel more stable, couples therapy could then ‘kick-on’ the recovery process to the next stage, which the couple have entering into together, as a team.

After experiencing a miscarriage, it is beneficial for couples to see a counsellor to help process the emotions that their loss has triggered. It is advisable that both parties have the option to see someone on their own to feel that they can talk freely and openly. Something I never did and should have done. If we both had individual and couples therapy at the time, it would have helped us both with the grieving process.

People will often ask the father how the mother is, which leaves the father feeling irrelevant, ignored and isolated.

Following my experience my advice to any man experiencing a miscarriage is below.

  • Coping with miscarriage is hard for all men, and you are not alone in your grief.

  • Accept the pregnancy loss by allowing yourself and your partner time to grieve.

  • Adjust to the situation at hand by readjusting your pregnancy goals and expectations for you and your partner.

  • Realise that while this time may not have been right for you, that your partner will get pregnant when the time is right.

  • Take the opportunity during this tragic event to invest extra energy into your relationship.

  • Spend quality time together.

  • Grieving the loss of your baby as well as allowing yourselves time and space to grow.

  • Change as you experience pregnancy loss and as you recommence your journey towards pregnancy together.

  • Talk to your partner about your feelings as a way to keep the lines of communication open.

  • Remaining silent in order to protect your partner’s feelings can end up creating more distance and disconnection instead.

  • Consider seeking out a couples’ grief support group that you can attend with your partner. Your employee wellbeing program may be able to assist you with identifying a local or virtual group.

  • Write out your feelings in order to label and better understand them.

  • Plan something that you can do with your partner to honour the pregnancy and the baby you had hoped for such as naming the baby, creating a memory box for ultrasound photos and baby items, planting a tree, creating a piece of art or jewellery, or making a donation to a charitable organisation or cause.

  • Ensure you are both getting adequate nutrition, sleep, and exercise.

Remember there is a wealth of support, it is perfectly normal for men to show emotions and talk about it. Break the stigma and you never know who you may be helping by opening up about your own experiences.

*Statistics taken from www.tommys.org