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Nobody Understands Me
Written by Clara Hinton   |  Sep 06, 2001
When a miscarriage occurs, the way a father grieves the loss is often quite different from the way a woman grieves. This is a natural response because a woman must deal with her body that is constantly reminding her she is no longer pregnant. She has many hormonal changes occurring daily. Her once growing uterus now goes back to normal size. There are no more swollen, tender breasts to remind her of the beauty of nurturing a growing baby. Nausea that was once so prevalent has now ceased. Plus, a woman has all of the emotional grief of lost dreams of a wonderful life with her baby.

What about the father, though? Realistically, most people think that a father's role in miscarriage is to be a support for his wife. He is expected to take no time off from work. In fact, he is expected to continue marching to the beat of the drum, never even missing a step.

Fathers suffer through the grief of a miscarriage, too. They often have very deep feelings for the unborn baby, dreaming of the day when daddy's little girl will be dressed in ruffles and lace, or daydreaming about tossing a football in the backyard with his son. A father does not have the physical symptoms of miscarriage to deal with, but he certainly feels the pain of his wife's grief, wanting to do something to make it all better, yet knowing that he can't take away her sorrow.

When miscarriage occurs, a man's dreams stop very abruptly, and he often does not feel like he can share his personal pain with his wife because she is in deep grief, too. So, what's a father to do? He feels like a failure, and that only adds to the personal grief of miscarriage and loss.

Most men do what comes natural to them-they don't talk openly about their pain. This is not said to fault men, but simply is said to help us understand. Men have a more "hands on" approach to grieving a loss. A typical way to work through the grief of miscarriage is for the father to pick a work project, and put all of his time and energy into it for weeks. He might have the power saw going late at night working to complete a cabinet he has designed for his wife. Unfortunately, the lack of time spent with his grieving wife is often mistaken as not caring.

We have a real need to understand that most men will be physical, rather than emotional, grievers. A man has a strong need to feel needed, and to be the one who is stronger and in charge. Miscarriage knocks the strength from a man and suddenly he is left feeling powerless to "fix it". He cannot bring the baby back. He cannot take away his wife's grief and sadness. And, he cannot shelve his own grief for very long. Grief is very demanding and very draining!

Fathers need our understanding during child loss as much as mothers. Just because a father does not cry openly or talk constantly about the baby, doesn't mean he is not grieving the loss. Fathers need our support and understanding, too!

Fathers need to make a special effort to express in some way, verbally or written, to their wives that they are hurting. Part of a wife's healing is to know that her husband hurts, too. Grieving together is so difficult, yet so vital to keeping the marriage healthy and alive!
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