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Am I To Blame?
Written by Clara Hinton   |  Mar 11, 2002
Miscarriage is a devastating loss to couples. Even though each person will grieve the loss of the baby differently, it is a fact that both father and mother will go through a period of suffering emotional loss following a miscarriage.

A father will handle the loss of a miscarriage in a much different way than a mother. A father, mostly because of expectations put on him by society, will feel he must stay strong for his wife. He might decide that it is too painful to talk about the loss, even to the point of refusing to think about the child. This lack of communication can easily be misinterpreted as a lack of caring by others. The fact is, though, that fathers do suffer a very real pain from miscarriage.

One of the first questions a father will ask following a miscarriage is if he is to blame for the loss. Many thoughts will enter a father’s mind, especially if he and his wife had intercourse soon before the miscarriage began. “Did I somehow harm my wife?” “Am I responsible for the bleeding?” “Should I have been more gentle?” “Did I do harm to the baby?”

These questions are all normal questions for a man to ask and should most certainly be addressed so that additional emotional harm will not occur. Often, if a man does not find the answers to these questions, he will become fearful of hurting his wife during times of intimacy. He might even suffer from temporary spells of failing to function sexually due to his fear.

When a baby has implanted in the womb, there is no harm that will come to the mother or baby from intercourse. The baby is safe, and love making in no way can bring harm to the baby or increase the risk of miscarriage.

Another misconception is that if the husband had helped more around the house, had been home more, or had taken over household chores, the wife would not have miscarried. Very rarely will a woman’s activities be restricted. Of course, common sense should be used. A husband’s lack of participation in household work will not cause a miscarriage.

“What did happen?” “Why did my wife miscarry?” “Did I have anything to do with it?” Most of the time, the exact cause of a miscarriage remains unknown. Sometimes, however, the cause can be identified as the result of genetic problems, hormonal imbalances due to diabetes or thyroid problems, or anatomical problems of the uterus. None of these problems is the “fault” of either the mother of the father.

It is good for a father to understand that he did not do anything to cause the miscarriage. Once guilt and blame are removed from the picture, the father can successfully begin the task at hand: working through the long and difficult grief of child loss.

Finally, it is important to remember that men, too, will grieve, and it is quite helpful to express those feelings of grief to your wife. Your wife needs to understand that you are feeling the sadness and pain of the loss, too. In fact, by her knowing of your own grief, you will be helping your wife to work through her grief. While you will never grieve the same, you can receive comfort together as you validate the importance of your loss.
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