Miscarriage and your husband

April 24, 2009

I love Jack dearly. Even in the midst of my grief I can look at him and know that I am blessed to have his support. Yet I must say there is something else burrowing in the midst of my gratitude for his presence in my life. I can’t pinpoint the right word for it but I can try to explain it. For me, my baby was a baby. He was a tiny little thing but I saw him. I heard his little heart beating, I saw his little body floating in my womb curled up, the hint of the umbilical cord that connected us a faint line on the screen. Seeing him made me believe he was real. When I woke up to pee in the middle of the night, when I gagged from a smell, I imagined that little being, the connection between my husband and I, the innocent creature I was privileged to house for a brief while. He was my baby.

Jack isn’t experiencing this like me. The night it happened he cried and the next few days we both wandered the house as if we were shell shocked. But now- he’s not curled up in fetal position crying his eyes out. He’s not running on the treadmill to run from the demons. He’s not biting his trembling lip wondering why did this happen. Jack has peace. He believes this happened for a reason. When I refer to speck as “he”, Jack objects. “You don’t know what the gender was. It was not a baby. It was just a thing.” My tears cause him discomfort. Sometimes he hugs me, sometimes he tries to joke to change the topic or get my mind off of it. A conversation about God and Purpose? Forget it. It’s a closed topic.

I try to respect this because a) he did not house this baby, his body did not begin the physical changes to accommodate the child b) perhaps this is a way to deal with the pain, if it was not a child or a baby yet then the grief is less c) some people can believe it happened for a reason and it gives them comfort. He doesn’t want me to question the purpose argument because then honestly, what the fuck is there to make sense of this?

We’re going to a concert tomorrow and he’s so excited because he loves the singer. I’m excited because I might for a few hours not remember what happened.

The truth is, I think from reading tons of other blogs on this subject, that at the end of the day that child housed in your body. Stole your nutrients and gave you headaches. Because you actively felt the presence of this child, the child is more real to you than he could ever be to your husband. In particular I liked what this blog had to say:

Almost every single woman feels this way (only a very small number mention partners that are sensitive and helpful)
100% of dads I’ve talked to or who have gotten on the board either want to know how to be strong for their wives or confess that they are grieving deeply and don’t want their wives to know
Men (and many women) really do believe that if you stop thinking about something, the problem goes away. Thus, they say comments like “Stop thinking about it” or “You’re getting obsessed about this” or “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” Truly, nothing could be further from the truth. Talking about your problems is a catharsis and will help you heal faster.
A very natural dynamic in every couple, particularly if you live together or are married, is that only one person can fall apart at a time. If you both fall apart, no one will be making dinner, keeping the clothes washed, or manage other children, if you have them. This is an important function of the partnership, and is very rarely breached. Whoever is less sad at the moment will swallow their grief and deal with it later. The other person will feel abandoned and alone, and the partner may recognize it, but feel helpless to really get involved due to the pressure of keeping everyday life going. This time will pass, and the acute phase is usually a month or less.

It helps to understand why they feel differently than us and in some ways its good that he acts differently. Its because of him I’m still going to Asheville, or went out shopping last weekend [and ENCOURAGED me to buy a Coach bag… serioulsy, if only you knew Jack…] He supports me and wants me to get my mind off of things. And it does help to wear a mask and pretend to be okay because for brief moments you do forget.


One comment

  1. All of this is right on. While my situation was less painful than yours, (my husband being laid off) – the rule that only one spouse can lose it at a time is very true. My husband (uncharacteristically), became depressed and seemed no to know what he was doing. While deep down I was freaked that we’d lose our house and wondered how we’d eat, etc. – I just sucked it up and did what I had to do…

    So try to see Jack’s behavior as him caring about you and his life with you. If he were more selfish, he would fully mourn along with you and the household would cease to function – it would all be downhill. Instead he is being strong and trying to allow you to work through this, even though it scares him to see you like this, knowing he can’t fix it.

    You’ve got the right perspective on this. You and Jack are both lucky to have each other.

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