Wednesday 7 December 2016

Men also feel the loss of a miscarriage and their exclusion adds to women's pain

Siobhan O'Neill White

Published 02/10/2015 | 02:30

'Because so much physically happens to a woman, there is a tendency to leave the husband/partner out of the loop'
'Because so much physically happens to a woman, there is a tendency to leave the husband/partner out of the loop'

There is perhaps a misconception that miscarriage happens to a woman. Physically, this is true. The woman is the person who becomes pregnant and loses her baby. She is the one who endures the labour-like cramps, bleeding and pain of a miscarriage. She is the person who goes through the fear, trauma and physical aftermath of a D&C, where a natural miscarriage does not occur. So while it is true that she is the one going through it physically, it is important to recognise the huge emotional upheaval a miscarriage brings on both parents.

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But because so much physically happens to a woman, there is a tendency to leave the husband/partner out of the loop. Indeed, when we lost our first baby, my husband was 'told' to wait in reception, while I bled and cried in pain for hours in the emergency room, alone. Despite my pleas for my husband to be allowed in to hold my hand through what was a very traumatic experience, I was told husbands and partners were not allowed in the ER. Losing our baby, while in pain and crying my eyes out, was not enough to get my husband by my side, apparently.

And even worse for my husband, who was forced to wait outside, was the lack of updates on my condition and the fate of our baby. As he sat there, for four hours, emasculated and desperate, he did not get any update whatsoever. Hoping this was perhaps a positive sign, he clung to the notion that maybe, just maybe it would all be okay. When I was wheeled out after I had miscarried, he looked at me with hope in his eyes and I was the one who had to dash it with the news that our baby was gone. How cruel; that he was left sitting there and not deemed important enough to be told what was happening. And how cruel, that I was left with the job of telling him our baby had died, somehow making me feel like I had let him down in some way.

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