Partners & Relationships
Miscarriage can be a very difficult experience for couples. A partner's feelings can often be overlooked as people may often assume that a partner is less affected and needs to stay strong. Despite not having experienced the physical trauma of miscarriage, it is important to remember that a partner has also experienced a loss. Finding time and space together to talk about your feelings and experiences is important.
“We didn’t tell too many people about the miscarriage but I noticed even when we told family or close friends, none of them asked me how I felt….. I never felt I could say how I was feeling - I hadn’t miscarried and people didn’t seem to acknowledge that I could be upset too”.
Witnessing your partner miscarrying may leave you feeling shocked, helpless and frightened. While women may have some understanding of the bleeding and pain associated with miscarriage, male partners, in particular, may find this a distressing experience and not know what to do.
Partners also need to remember that the experience of miscarriage is different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to feel. You may find that you do not want to share your feelings with others or mark your loss in any way, and it is important that you do what is right for you. Giving yourself time and space to grieve in your own way is really important. We all tend to grieve differently and this can sometimes put a strain on relationships. Couples may need to give each other space and time to grieve. While sharing feelings openly with each other can help, it isn’t always easy.
“I was surprised when I did listen to him that he was also feeling similar things to me – his upset, disappointment, guilt and confusion……it wasn’t easy but talking did help. His ways of coping were different to mine but I realised it didn’t mean he wasn’t thinking about it or upset about it. He really was”.
It may take some time for your sex life to get back to normal after a miscarriage. For some couples, sex can become all about getting pregnant again and the connection and intimacy it brought beforehand may be lost for a while. Couples may differ on how they feel about trying for another baby and may worry about experiencing another miscarriage. Trust and patience with each other is important during this time.
Some well-intentioned friends and family may minimise the significance of your loss. Words such as “you can always try again” or “these things happen for a reason”, can feel very hurtful. Your feelings of grief are very real and given that there is no possibility of holding your baby, or having a funeral can make sharing your loss even harder. Speaking with others who have experienced a similar loss can be helpful. You may be surprised to find that many people you know have had a miscarriage but never talked about it. Do whatever feels right for you to help begin the healing process
Support and counselling services are available for both your and your partner. If you or your partner feel stuck in your grief and unable to move on, you may find it helpful to talk to your GP who can provide support and refer you for professional counselling if required. The links below may be helpful.
Miscarriage Association of Ireland: ‘Miscarriage' Leaflet
Miscarriage Association (UK): ‘Your Miscarriage’ Leaflet
Miscarriage Association (UK): 'Men and Miscarriage' Leaflet
Miscarriage Association (UK): 'Partners Too' Leaflet
Miscarriage Association (UK): 'Your Feelings After Miscarriage' Leaflet
“I really didn’t know what to do. I could see that my partner was in pain, the doctors told us she could keep bleeding for a few days and that she would be tired and probably not up to doing much. I suppose I was still shocked by all we had been through and how much pain and bleeding there was…I really knew nothing about miscarriage up until then”.
“I realised that I was becoming resentful of my husband as the days and weeks passed. He seemed to be getting on with life while I felt completely consumed by our loss. For weeks we had talked about nothing other than this pregnancy but suddenly it was gone and it was as if he had forgotten. He was back at work, going to the gym, doing all the normal things while I was exhausted, still bleeding, and didn’t feel able to face the outside world”.
“One evening my partner came home and found me crying. Up until then we hadn’t talked much about what happened, but that night he sat beside me and said; “I know you are upset about the baby, I find it really hard too but I don’t know how to talk to you about it as I am afraid it will upset you even more”. It was such a relief to be able to be honest with each other about how we were really feeling”.