How Does It Actually Feel When Your Partner Miscarries?

A project by University College London and the Miscarriage Association collected the experiences of partners of women who miscarried. Here are some of those stories.

It felt like eternity sitting watching the static screen waiting for the ultrasound technician to get someone in for second opinion. Confirmed miscarriage. Numbness. Probably the single saddest, most gut-wrenching moment of my life.

More than 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage. The partners of women who miscarry can feel invisible, ignored, and sidelined. They are often unable to talk about their own feelings of loss and pain.

Our family and friends don’t really understand. But our relationship is very strong. We communicate well and support each other.

On the day of our miscarriage in 2011, we experienced polar opposites. Firstly the true high of telling our daughter [that we were expecting] and the excitement on her face, plus telling all of our families who we met with on Christmas Day.

Then possibly the biggest low of our lives: complete deflation and upset when suddenly that same evening, Jen started getting stomach pains.

As we travelled to the hospital to have our worst fears confirmed, the Christmas number one was playing – the Military Wives, singing ‘Wherever You Are’. A very poignant song and a moment which we will never forget.

We find it very difficult to talk about our loss and it has adversely affected our marriage.

I stayed strong, but I did have a little cry, quietly. I had to stay strong for her, because she was really ill and needed a lot of care. Finally we went to church and we lit a candle. We both cried.

We had the scan and we were told what had happened. In a few seconds, it felt like a few seconds, our world ended. We were taken to a room by a nurse and doctor and given the options. I knew I just wanted to do whatever it was that was needed to support my wife, whatever she wanted to do.

So we came back the next day for what is probably the worst day of my life so far. You just feel helpless to do anything or say anything that would help make her feel better. All I could do was feel empty and helpless, devastated.

You just watch as she was taken down the corridor through the ward doors, just sit and think about how she must be feeling and what should have been the best year of our lives. I would have done anything, I would still do anything to take that pain away from my wife, my best friend.

We suffer in silence.

Although the physical healing was relatively quick, it took a much longer time to get back to normal life. I felt so lonely, I didn’t feel at ease to speak about this with my male friends. I was quite sure that the majority of them wouldn’t have understood. I felt surrounded by everyone having babies but me.

I feel helpless.

I find it a little difficult sometimes to even talk to my wife because of the guilt. No matter how logical or how many times she says it’s not my fault, I’m always going have some guilt. Guilt over the fact it was my problem that meant we had to go through IVF. Guilt over having to inject my wife so many times a day – she couldn’t do it herself so I would do it for her and it broke my heart every time as I could see how much pain she was in. I feel guilt over the miscarriage itself, could I have done more to protect my wife, did we avoid all the things they told us to, etc.

At some point, you just want to curl up in a ball and not wake up, and I had many nights where I couldn’t stop crying about it (but knowing I wanted to try again), but I had a partner who didn’t want to talk about it, and no one else to turn to.

I was and still am very sad, jealous, and angry.

I found it quite hard to find people that could understand that I was just as upset about it as she was. I didn’t dare say anything to her though, because any conversation about it just made her feel sad and angry. She is a brilliant stepmum to my daughter and I love her so much. I was amazed that she still wants me after all this, but she does.

I was watching the cartoon The Snowman and the Snowdog and the beginning of it brought everything back to me, just a bizarre trigger. You never forget, you just have to learn to cope.

These stories are excerpted from material produced by the Miscarriage Association to support its Partners Too campaign.

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Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
 
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