Ever since this last pregnancy loss, I’ve been much more interested in hearing other people’s journey through losing a baby. I’ve joined groups on Facebook, began reading an amazing book focused on healing from miscarriage by leaning into God’s word (Click here for the book! I’ll write a full review soon.), and have spent hours scouring the internet searching for blogs on this topic. I just want to not feel alone. And, as I’ve said countless times, though this type of loss really isn’t advertised to the world, there’s an even bigger piece that seems to be ignored…men lose babies too.
I know it’s the woman that physically carries the child. I’ve also read studies that show that women bond with the baby much earlier on. I’ve heard the phrase that says something about a woman becoming a mother as soon as she sees two pink lines (or a plus sign/the words PREGNANT, depending on the test you take) and a man becomes a father when he holds his baby for the first time. But I disagree.
Kevin and I started talking about having kids before we were married. We knew we wanted them soon and came to the conclusion pretty quickly that we would start trying immediately after the wedding. We were so excited to start trying and even more so when we found out we were pregnant. After the first loss, we both knew that we didn’t want this to break us. Coming from parents that always grew closer together through every challenge they had to go through, I knew exactly how I wanted to get through this hurdle: by drawing closer to God and my husband. Fortunately, that feeling was mutual.
As soon as we found out, it’s like we fell into these predetermined roles. He comforted me, counseled me, eased my worries and fears, talked me through the dark thoughts, told me how strong I was when I felt weak, and always pointed me back to God when I was doubting. I would not have made it through any of this without him. I was always aware that he had suffered a loss, too. That he was hurting, too. I tried to make sure that he knew he could talk about his fears, pain, or questions with me. Even though it may be tough to hear, I wanted him to know that he could lean on me. That I could be his rock. I know I wasn’t always perfect at it, but I know in my heart that I tried. I just pray that I helped him in some way, since he has helped me so much.
Men are so often forgotten in miscarriage. People don’t always consider the pain that a man goes through, as well as the inner role conflict they experience as they mourn. It’s their loss, too. That was their child, too. As a society, we put these parameters on men that have lasting, negative, results. We tell them from a young age that “men don’t cry” and teach them through years of conditioning that they shouldn’t really talk about their feelings. I’ve learned from personal experience, through all of my counseling positions, that men are far less likely to seek counseling. That’s not because they have less problems but because a stigma still exists today. Our society is so “progressive” in some areas, but in terms of mental health, we are still so far behind. Wanting and needing help doesn’t make a man weak. Jesus, the only perfect man, spoke of (and showed) his feelings many times (John 11:35 & Luke 22:39-48). That didn’t make him weak, he is the opposite of weak.
I have recently read so many stories of couples that have experienced infant/pregnancy loss, and eventually ended up getting a divorce. The husband never felt safe enough to openly discuss his grief, which tore the marriage apart. This so baffling to me because this experience has brought Kevin and I closer than I could have ever imagined. I am so much more in love with him now than I was the day I married him. I didn’t think that could be possible. I wish that was the same for everyone, but I know that it isn’t, and I feel that can be prevented. My prayer is that we will stop forgetting our husbands, brothers, sons, fathers, or any of the other men in our lives in times of hardship. They need us just as much as we need them.
(Side note: Yes, I failed at Music Monday this week…I’ll try better next time.)