|Bonding: A mother has a unique bond with her
child virtually from the moment of conception.
She sees her body changing, she feels the
effects of pregnancy and eventually experiences
the movement of the baby inside her. For many
mothers, the baby they are carrying is a living
being and when they miscarry they feel as if they
have lost a part of themselves.
|Bonding: A father can share in that joy as his
baby grows by seeing his baby on an ultrasound
and feeling the baby kicking. However, he
cannot experience the deep maternal love that
begins at conception. So a father has had a
different experience of the pregnancy when there
is a miscarriage.
|Feelings: From the moment of conception, a
woman is a mother experiencing the miracle of
life. When a miscarriage occurs, a mother
tumbles through the sadness, loneliness and
grief of losing the child. The deep bond between
mother and child is disturbed. Some have a crisis
regarding their sense of purpose and the
challenge to their womanhood. Many women feel
guilty because their baby died and the
experience challenges their spirituality. They
may have sleep disturbances, eating problems,
reduced sexual desires and poor energy levels.
They may experience a biting mixture of anger,
depression and anxiety.
|Feelings: Fathers experienced a wide range of
grief, but generally their emotional pain is less
severe than the mother’s pain. Understandably,
a father’s grief is proportional with the length of
the pregnancy, as the father has had more of an
opportunity to bond with his child. Fathers can
feel an enormous sense of helplessness after a
miscarriage, since they generally feel responsible
for solving family problems but failed to do so in
this critical situation. They want to help their
partner and child but feel powerless to do so.
Most men want to understand the cause of the
miscarriage but may not receive an answer, and
they sometimes feel guilty that they didn’t take
better care of their partner. In many cases, they
were excluded from decisions or procedures that
their wives experienced because of the
|Expressing Emotions: Women tend to seek
emotional closeness by wanting to talk or be
physically close to her partner or others. As the
woman tries to make that emotional connection
the man may pull away. As the man pulls away,
the woman pursues further. This dance can be
very painful for the couple.
|Expressing Emotions: There is societal pressure
for men to repress expressions of emotions.
Therefore men often seek emotional space to
deal with their emotions. A miscarriage leaves
men in unchartered territory and they don’t know
what to say or do to alleviate their partners’ pain,
so they remain quiet. Fathers carry the
additional burden of needing to be “strong” for
the family. As a result, they feel pressured to
keep their emotions inside and be the stable
force for the family. They don’t want to further
burden their partners by expressing their own
fear and sorrow. Friends and family rarely think
to ask how the father is feeling after a
miscarriage. Perhaps if they did ask, they would
receive a response of “lonely and ignored.”
|Back to “Normal”: For many woman who have
experienced a miscarriage the idea of “back to
normal” never happens. There is life before the
miscarriage and life after the miscarriage. For
many woman a “new normal” is where they end
|Back to “Normal”: Frequently, men deal with their
painful feelings by being more committed to their
work. They are able to return to their daily lives
more quickly than their partner and this can
cause the couple to feel out of sync.
|Re-Connecting: Women may avoid sex because it
is a painful reminder of their loss. She may not
understand why her partner feels the need to
reconnect by having sex.
|Re-Connecting: Frequently men want to have sex
as a way of connecting with their partner. Sex is
a way for men to feel intimate and close with a
woman. When this way of connecting does not
happen, fathers are sad that their partners are
distant and they can feel abandoned and an
enormous sense of loss.