The experience of pregnancy loss can be a very lonely one for men. Although a new dad’s anxieties are not as complex as those of the mother, miscarriage can be as emotionally painful. There is a natural tendency for people to sympathise with the mum but we often neglect the grieving father.
The role of an Asian man
In our Asian-centric society, men are expected to support their wives through upsetting or traumatic events. This is where a man finds himself in a unique situation as the silent sufferer. Many neglect to give a grieving man the compassion and sympathy he deserves. He is the one who is called on for emotional comfort, support and encouragement, but he might be just as discouraged and heartbroken. So how do miscarriages affect men really, and how can they navigate this road?
Men and miscarriages: How pregnancy loss affects men
Just because a man grieves differently from a woman, it does not mean they do not experience the same depth of despair. When a miscarriage occurs, there is an immediate outcry of sympathy towards both parents, but it isn’t long before the focus and compassion falls on the mother. The father is then unceremoniously booted off the stage. Relatives and friends may not do this intentionally but the father is often overlooked during this time, which can leave him feeling even more alienated with his loss.
Men and miscarriages: Emotions that men experience
- Neglect: A mum can get so caught up in her grief after a miscarriage that she can forget about her husband. He might feel that his sadness is largely dismissed.
- Loneliness: A man might approach his wife with physical contact to show that he misses her, but for the woman, sex is the very last thing on her mind.
- Helplessness: A miscarriage can give the expectant father a sense of powerlessness. He witnesses to his wife’s turmoil, but he can feel as if there is very little that he can do about the situation..
- Impatience: Men might experience a sense of urgency and they would want to get things back to the way they were. They want their spouse back, and would want to try again for another baby as soon as possible.
Men and miscarriages: The road to recovery
Raw emotions of pain and loss will gradually give way to acceptance over time but what can men do in the meantime?
Social support systems play a big part in overcoming loss. Men are less likely to seek out professional help and guidance than women, but there are excellent web-based resources that help men cope in an anonymous environment. Doctors and psychologists can provide guidance and encouragement to prepare couples for the emotional mine field that lies ahead.
It is important that both husband and wife open up and talk to each other during this time. Both of you lost something precious, and you can lessen the burden by sharing your grief. By talking about the loss, you might find constructive outlets on how you can deal with the loss. Hosting a small intimate ceremony or ritual to acknowledge your loss is a good way to find closure.
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