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Miscarriage and Partners
In the UK, the BBC recently reported that many partners of women who suffer miscarriages feel unheard and unsupported. This is sad but hardly surprising. In many instances, there is barely any support for the woman who miscarried no less her partner.
When we lost our four-day-old daughter in 2008, my husband's co-workers made it a point to ask how I was doing but didn't even acknowledge his loss. He was perplexed and hurt. “Didn't I lose a baby too?” he asked. I don't think anyone (besides me and other close family) ever asked him how he was doing after our five miscarriages which preceded her death.
Often, partners feel they need to be supportive of their partner and feel that expressing their own feelings will only add to their partner's sense of loss. 46% of partners surveyed said they did not share their feelings with their partner for this reason. 22% said nothing at all. For many, people, their partner is a significant source of emotional support, so it's obviously problematic to not be able to share these feelings with the person you love.
Many partners felt completely ignored by healthcare professionals despite the fact that many also reported physical symptoms of stress like poor sleep.
The Miscarriage Association in the UK has launched a Partners Too campaign to increase awareness of this issue. The partners section of their website begins with this quote: “It was hard that week-people asking 'How is Kerry' all the time and inside I would be wondering 'What about me?' When was somebody going to ask if I was ok?” This quote resonates with my husband's experience and probably the experience of many other partners.
I was unable to find any similar initiatives in the US. However, if anyone does know of them, please share. I would love to hear about them.
Unfortunately, even the women who miscarry are often marginalized and encouraged to “just get over” their loss. If we treat the person who has actually had the miscarriage shabbily, it makes sense that partners are barely being acknowledged at all.
Clearly, we need to do a better job of supporting everyone after a miscarriage. These losses do not just affect parents. I can tell you from personal experience, that grandparents, other family members and siblings often have grief which goes unaddressed as well.
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