Coping with a Miscarriage as a Couple

Posted by on Apr 15, 2019 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on Coping with a Miscarriage as a Couple

About 15-20% of known pregnancies end within the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy. For some people, the end of a pregnancy is a relief. Perhaps, for example, it was not going to be a viable pregnancy. Then they can take some comfort in knowing that the pregnancy wouldn’t have worked out. But for many, a miscarriage is a problem and a real loss. It’s quite normal to grieve after a miscarriage, but it’s also isolating for the couple.

Problems with How We Cope After a Miscarriage

Miscarriages are often overlooked in the United States, even though they happen very often. Perhaps it’s because becoming pregnant was isolating enough as it is, depending on the situation. Also, after a miscarriage, neither a birth or death certificate is issued.  Essentially, we have no rituals in our culture for babies who are lost through miscarriage. Granted, friends and family will want to provide consolation and support, but often that falls flat.

What little support does exist is directed mostly toward the pregnant woman. Consequently, there are few or no resources at all out there for men, same-sex couples, or surrogates.  This further adds to the isolation after a miscarriage, leaving couples feeling misunderstood and unsupported.

Knowing the Differences in Coping

It’s important to note that there are many ways that people deal with loss. However, almost all of the research done in this subject area was with heterosexual couples. This doesn’t mean that same-sex couples view loss differently. It’s just that there has been little research in this area. With that said, consider these suggestions for coping after a miscarriage.

  1. Both men and women can feel depressed after a miscarriage. However, for men, the feelings are typically less intense and for a shorter period of time. Whereas women usually have more intense emotions for a longer time period.
  2. Women often share their feelings and seek out emotional support. Men, on the other hand, are typically more action-oriented. This could include unhealthy ways of coping, such as distracting themselves with work.  
  3. Both men and women struggle with inadequacy. However, women may feel that their bodies have failed them. Whereas men may feel powerless to help their partner or to change the situation.
  4. Prospective parents experience different levels of bonding during pregnancy. Women often develop a strong bond early on (but not always). Male partners tend to develop a bond later in the pregnancy when it’s more apparent or when they can feel the baby kicking inside.

Communicating with One Another

It’s important to know about these differences because you don’t want to cause confusion, or even hurt feelings, after a miscarriage. One partner will feel differently about the lost pregnancy than the other, and that’s to be expected. Some advice for couples coping include the following:

  1. Share your thoughts and feelings about the experience. Talking will help with the recovery process as opposed to not being open with one another. In those instances, it can take a year or more in order to move forward after a miscarriage.
  2. It’s super-important for couples to acknowledge and recognize these differences. Just because your partner is handling this differently than you, doesn’t mean that they are not grieving. Knowing this will help you both feel more connected with one another.
  3. Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help.  

Coping with the loss after a miscarriage looks differently depending on who you are. However, that doesn’t mean that you both are not still grieving deeply. Of course, you would do anything to change the situation, but that’s not possible.

Still, you have each other. Remember the tips above about communicating with one another, and don’t hesitate to seek out professional counseling for additional support.

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