How a Man Handles a Miscarriage

by Marcus Brotherton on February 25, 2013 · 242 comments

in Fatherhood, Marriage, Relationships & Family

couple

Expect a rollercoaster ride.

That’s all I can say. Climb into the car near the front of the rows, buckle your seatbelt, then grip the chrome handle in front of you. Clack. Clack. Clack. The car is nearing the top of the first high hill now. Get ready to raise your hands and scream.

The first time we were pregnant was 10 years ago. The very same day we first announced the pregnancy to friends, my wife, Mary, began to bleed. What a day of highs and lows it was. That morning, people were so happy for us, then that afternoon we stood at the front counter of an emergency room, our faces ashen. Mustering the lowest, most-controlled voice I possess, I said to the receptionist one short sentence I will remember forever: “I think my wife is having a miscarriage.”

It’s an odd thing about miscarriages. They just happen. Sometimes there’s an underlying cause that can be addressed, but often there’s virtually nothing that anybody—no medical doctor, minister, or magician—can do to prevent them. They occur in about 1 in every 5 pregnancies. Doctors will tell you that it’s the body’s way of cleansing something that wasn’t meant to be. There’s no rhyme, nor reason. Just mystery, and vagueness. Something to wonder about, but not understand.

Yet each one is heartrending. And a man finds himself in a unique spot. He’s often the silent sufferer, the one called upon to support and encourage and comfort. Yet inside he’s as equally torn up as his spouse or girlfriend, as unsure of what to do next, as grief-filled, discouraged, and aching. How can a man navigate this difficult season?

Mary and I spent four hours in the examination room. Mary lay on a gurney. I sat on a chair beside her. Doctors and nurses came by to draw blood, ask questions, write on forms, look, probe, touch, and talk. During those hours there were uninterrupted spells of quiet. Mary and I sometimes looked at each other, but it was hard to talk. We were sure we lost. There was just too much blood.

We learned a lot during that trip to the E.R. Normal gestation is about 40 weeks, which we already knew, but, technically, if the pregnancy ends prematurely, it’s called an “early pregnancy loss” up to about week 6, a “miscarriage” up to about week 20, a “stillbirth” up to about week 37, and a “premature birth” from then on, (it’s called a birth even if the child dies). This was week 10 for us.

Toward the end of our stay, the doctor scheduled an ultrasound. I have often wondered why he didn’t do this first. I surmise he was convinced the situation was hopeless. But finally he did. Mary and I were emotionally pushed over the edge by then, completely exhausted, and anticipating a slew of sad phone calls to family and friends.

The ultrasound room was warm and dark and quiet. Then, to our complete surprise, the doctor cleared his throat. “I don’t know what to tell you, but there’s some other unknown reason for all the blood today.” He pointed to the monitor and grinned. “Because there’s your baby’s heartbeat. Strong and healthy. Your child is still alive.”

I will never be able to describe it. I could write until I run out of words, but I will never convey the emotion of hearing those startling and wonderful words. This is a rollercoaster experience, remember, this process of having children. Sometimes it’s best to just hang on for the wild ride.

We named that child Addy. Today she’s in fourth grade. Loves drawing and Barbies and reading. Just last night she sidled up to me on the couch and gave me a mischievous wink. “Dad—” she said, “what’s a horse’s favorite thing to put on his sandwich?”

I shrugged.

Neigh-o-nnaise.”She whinnied like a horse, grinned big teeth, and added in her best Las Vegas comedian voice, “You’ve been a wonderful crowd. I’ll be playing here all week.”

That was our first pregnancy, the one where we nearly lost Addy. To me, that put all future pregnancies into perspective: it’s such a fragile thing to have a child. And when you see your child growing up, you can more easily imagine your other children, the children you’ve lost. Stay with me here, because there are huge highs and huge lows, like I mentioned, and it certainly hasn’t been all after-dinner jokes for our family.

A year and a half after Addy was born, my wife became pregnant again. This time, again, she started to bleed. We anticipated the worst. This time there was no unexpected, miraculous change of course. No heartbeat. Nothing. Not after the bleeding started anyway.

We had been so fortunate the first time around. This, now, was our dues paying, we figured. Somehow, seen from that perspective, it seemed easier to cope. We were pretty sure it was a boy, although we never found out the sex. In our minds, we named him Luke.

So that was our first miscarriage.

A year and half after that, Mary became pregnant a third time. Again, she started to bleed. We were moving to a different city when it happened. Everything seemed in such upheaval just then. There were too many changes in our lives to fully process. Again, we lost the baby, this time at 9 weeks. We grieved in the moving van on the drive to our new house.

For weeks after that, nothing seemed in its right place. It was a girl—that was our hunch anyway. In our minds, we named her Skye. Like the color of a warm summer day.

So that was our second miscarriage.

After that, we got serious. Really serious. More serious than we had ever been before. We went to doctors and specialists, and they put Mary on a hormone therapy. The therapy was our ace, we were told.

Sure enough, Mary became pregnant a fourth time, and everything went fine. Amazingly fine. Not-even-a-hiccup fine. Our son, Zachary, was born in 2008. He’s in preschool today. Loves soccer and bulldozers and Legos and chocolate Dilly Bars from Dairy Queen. He’s an amazing kid, a delightful blunderbuss of winsomeness and wit.

Three years later, Mary became pregnant again. We were so smug. We had the hormone therapy, after all. No way could anything go wrong. But it did. Mary miscarried on Mother’s Day, 2011. I hope this isn’t too much information for you, but we saw our child that time—partially developed—tiny and gray and still. In our minds, it was a girl, although we never found out for sure. I called her Macy, but my wife has always called her Nikki.

So that was our third miscarriage.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years about how a man might handle a miscarriage. I’d never try to give anyone a “step-by-step plan” to coping, so I’d rather call these six notes I’ve made to myself about our miscarriages. Hopefully these principles apply to any man going through this situation. Hopefully they help you or someone you know.

1. You grieve.

And that’s good.

That sounds pretty basic to say, but I think some men overlook the simple fact that a miscarriage is a serious loss, and afterward, grieving is mandatory. Flat out, there’s no other way to cope except to grieve.

You and your significant other have been excited. You’ve been reading naming books, pricing cribs, checking out strollers, and painting your spare room. All that translates to excitement. And now the excitement is no more.

The famous psychiatrist, Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, outlined the 5 stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance—and a man can expect to experience these in various forms.

Expect to grieve. Expect to feel lousy. Expect the world not to be all right.

2. You’re tempted to apologize.

But don’t.

Sometimes you wonder if you should have told people. Even if you should have allowed yourself to feel such excitement yourself.

It’s okay to have been excited.

It’s okay to have told people.

And, no, do not blame anyone for the miscarriage. Including yourself or your wife. It is no one’s fault.

When Mary was a few weeks along while pregnant with Macy, I was right in the middle of releasing a new book. I was so stinking proud; I even announced our pregnancy during a radio interview. I wanted the whole world to know. After we miscarried, I felt so stupid for not keeping my cards closer to my chest. What an idiot I had been. That’s what went through my mind.

It was my mother, actually, who wrote me a short note after the miscarriage that said, “You celebrated the start of a new soul, and you invited the world to celebrate with you. Never apologize for inviting people to see something of wonder and awe and profound beauty.”

3. Your job is to love.

Hardship can either rip couples apart or bring them closer together. Decide early on that you and your wife are on the same team, at least as far as it depends on you, regardless of what difficulties you encounter.

It’s particularly important to support the other grieving partner during a miscarriage. Let her know that no matter what happens—whether you go through another miscarriage, or you can’t get pregnant, or you decide to do fertility treatments, or you hope to adopt—you are going to get through it together, and you’ll work through everything together, come what may.

As a man, be the first to take the initiative here. Reaffirm your love for each other during any time of sorrow. Let her know you’ll be at her side no matter what.

4. You commemorate, or not.

Mary and I have known couples who’ve miscarried and held memorial services afterward. We’ve never done that ourselves, but it seems fitting, particularly the further along a pregnancy is.

Other couples we’ve known have planted trees in commemoration of their lost child, or had plaques installed on park benches. Some parents write letters to the child. I say, commemorate anyway you wish. Or don’t. Whatever feels best for you as a couple.

After our third miscarriage, because our children were of the age by then where they knew about the pregnancy, we decided to hold a family celebration day. We bought a fancy doll for our daughter and a cool toy truck for our son. We went out to eat at a restaurant, and had a movie and ice cream night later on. We explained to our kids why we were doing this. We wanted to remember the child with joy. And, frankly, we wanted to cheer ourselves up.

Whatever works best for you.

5. You don’t replace the child.

People sometimes say things like, “Well, just have another kid. Then all will be better.”

No. That might be part of your solution as a family, and people are well-meaning in offering their consolation, but having another child will never replace the child you lost.

That child will always be autonomous in your thinking. A separate being. And should always be thought of that way.

6. You keep going.

Each couple needs to decide what it means to “keep going.” For some, it means they’re done, but they won’t be defeated—at least not forever. For some, it may mean some serious planning and adjustments. Infertility clinics. Adoption.

Having more children doesn’t lessen the loss you felt at having lost a child. But it can be part of the solution. Part of the overall process.

How did we keep going? After five pregnancies and three miscarriages, we were convinced we were finished with trying to have any more children. We waited a year after our last miscarriage, just to make sure, and every ounce of common sense told us we were done. We were getting older. The hormone therapy wasn’t a sure thing. At the end of that year we were certain. I made an appointment to have a vasectomy.

They make you have a consultation first, those vasectomy clinics. I had my consultation, then, on the drive home, I felt so uneasy, so torn in my spirit. I wasn’t afraid to have the procedure. In fact, it’s again on the list of things to do. But we were wrong. We simply weren’t done—that was the big thought that kept coming back to me.

Four weeks later, Mary was pregnant again.

We’re nearing the end of that pregnancy right now. It’s a girl. We know this for sure. So far, doctors say, everything looks just fine.

We haven’t decided on a first name yet. But both Mary and I are sold on a middle name. It’s a reflection of the one factor that’s kept our heads from splitting apart during our wild rollercoaster ride of having children.

I might add that I believe in science. In the best doctors and the newest procedures and the slickest hormone therapy procedures. I believe in everything medicine can do to prevent miscarriages.

But, still, her middle name will be Faith.

 

Have you and your wife/girlfriend ever suffered a miscarriage? What was it like for you? How did you best cope?

_______________________

Marcus Brotherton is a regular contributor to Art of Manliness. Read his blog, Men Who Lead Well, at: www.marcusbrotherton.com

 

{ 242 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Scott February 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm

This really touched me. My wife and I had almost the exact scenario on our first pregnancy as Marcus and his wife. Except ours happened on a Friday night. We were out when my wife lost a lot of blood and some sort of mass. We raced home and called the OB/GYN and left a message. The covering doctor called back and said, “Yep, it sounds like a miscarriage. Come in Monday morning and we’ll do an ultrasound.”

Monday morning? How could we go through this for another 60 hours?

Early the next morning the nurse assistant called from the office. She was confused why the doctor said to wait until Monday when she was in the office that morning. She said to come in and she’d do the ultrasound.

We covered that 20 or so miles with Daytona speed. And there, on the ultrasound was our son. Not only was he OK, he actually WAVED at us. I swear he did, and we both – all three of us actually – saw it.

Jack, who is an in vitro baby to boot, is a healthy (mostly, except for asthma and a lot of food allergies), rambunctious 12-year-old who loves Lego Star Wars and hockey – and he’s one of the best goalies his age in San Diego (and yes, I’m very proud of him!)

My wife later had a miscarriage, and we assume we are done – not by choice but by nature. My wife, who was 44 when Jack was born, just turned 56. I’m 49, closing on 50, but that, of course, is less problematic.

The one thing I am very sad that Marcus left out was prayer. We prayed that Friday night like we had never prayed together before. God knit Jack together and kept him safe in Monica’s womb even though we thought He had taken him. He also knew our other child before He laid the foundation of the world and He chose to bring him or her home early. I don’t know why He opted for that, but He did, and He has a plan and that plan is perfect. I know I’ll see my other son or daughter one day, and I can’t wait.

If you are a man and you and your wife lose a child, PRAY. Ask the One who created the world – and you, and your wife, and your child – to comfort you and to guide you and to grant you peace and to ease your suffering.

He will, because He loves you.

2 David February 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

My wife had a miscarriage with what would have been our second child. It wasn’t until I was reading this article that I remembered how difficult it was for my wife and I. We were so excited to have another and then “it” happened. Our doctor was very reassuring (comfortingly so) in that he assured us as Marcus did early on in the article that there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. This was a very good article!

3 Peter February 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I am only 19 and dont plan on kids anytime soon. In fact I am struggling with how dealing with having a family and med school are going to intertwine. This is one of the most emotional posts I have ever read on AoM. It in itself was a rollercoaster. Thank you.

4 Doug February 25, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Very powerful piece about an important topic. Thank you for sharing.

5 Allen February 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Thanks for this. Miscarriage is one of those things so common but rarely discussed. It’s a lonely road to walk. My wife and I have experienced two miscarriages in the last 8 months and she is pregnant a third time now. She’s seven weeks along, right at the time when we lost the two previous babies.
Just as you pointed out, maybe the hardest part is having no answer to the question of why. My wife went through all the usual tests, done after the second miscarriage, and everything came back normal. So what’s the deal? We’re both in our late 20′s, waited until we were stable with jobs and home to try for kids, thought we played it all smart and straight and had in mind that we’d be blessed with kids right off the bat. It’s been a lesson in just how fragile a developing child really is.
One of the most painful consequences of miscarriage is that sense of expectant joy leaves along with the child. In our experience, though my wife was able to get pregnant a second and now a third time relatively quickly, without months or years in between conception, it’s not a shouting joyful experience to find out she’s pregnant. Happiness is there, but it’s wary. We look at each other and there’s that sense of well, here we go again. You have hope but not confidence that this one will work out. That innocent joyfulness and excitement is gone. At least, that’s where we’re at right now. We have hope. And faith. And a silent fear.
My wife and I have best coped through dedicated prayer and time spent together. We’ve remembered our lost kids with small personal mementos. With each pregnancy, including this third one, we’ve shared the happy news with family and close friends almost immediately. While this has served to create those small feelings of foolishness the author described when the child is lost, much more that than it’s created a group of loved ones who have reached out to lift us up and support and grieve with us with each loss and now to lift us up in support and in hope of a healthy and complete third pregnancy.

6 Elisha February 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Wow. You hit the nail on the head.

My wife has had multiple miscarriages (along with multiple healthy children), and I have always struggled with that need to be the one providing comfort, while needing comfort myself.

And no, another child or children does not fill the hole left behind.

Excellent, excellent post.

7 Seth February 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Thanks for the words.

8 Robert February 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm

This was, hands down, one of the best articles I’ve ever read on AoM. My wife and I had a son in 2009, with zero complications until the birth – a normal pregnancy right up to going into labor. Then, fast forward to 2011, where we had three miscarriages in a row. We were done with trying – the emotional and financial strain it put on us was too much to bear. We couldn’t use regular birth control because of the things it did to my wife, so we used other methods – which turned out to not be 100% effective. We are now going into week 32 of the pregnancy and everything is looking good. Her middle name, by the way, will be Grace.

And Scott is right on the money – this girl we are about to have is really an answer to our prayers – there has been healing in this pregnancy – even amid all the nervousness.

9 Amanda Kennedy February 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Wow. Thank you for writing this powerful, emotional and touching post, and even more so for sharing your experiences with us. I wish you and your family the very best for the future.

10 Al February 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Great article. My wife and I had our first, third and fourth pregnancies end in miscarriage. All for different reasons (or no reason in particular), just on the bad side of probability I guess. The first miscarriage happened on a vacation – we ended up in a hospital in Quebec City and we are far from fluent in French. It was a challenging couple of days for sure.
The fourth pregnancy lasted 5 months, and when we lost the baby my wife had to deliver it. The experience was little different than delivering a healthy baby – except the outcome was known and was not going to turn out well. My wife and I handled it differently. She held the baby afterward and may have learned its sex (I have never asked her). I couldn’t – I don’t know if was a boy or girl. I know it would have been harder for me to move on if I knew and thought of what could have been. I don’t know if that was right or wrong.

For me, the most difficult thing was to be excited on our 5th try, our second daughter. I found I was very guarded during the entire pregnancy for fear of losing her and didn’t enjoy the same excitement and anticipation I had with our first daughter. Right up until I saw her and knew she was okay I couldn’t think of anything except for the fact that a year earlier we had been in the same hospital, in the same room, doing the same thing – and it didn’t work. I feel like I shortchanged her somehow by not feeling the same emotions leading up to her birth as I did with our previous pregnancies – successful and otherwise.

Perhaps it is a coping mechanism, but I do not think of the ones we lost as missing from our family. I love our two daughters and as far as I am concerned, those are the only kids we have had.

When all is said and done, we deal with things differently. I do not think often about the pregnancies that didn’t work, instead I love my kids and wife and as far as I’m concerned our family is exactly the way it was intended to be.

11 Josh February 25, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Thank you for an honest and very helpful article. AoM: Thank you for publishing this where it can be seen by those who need it.

12 Brad February 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Such a powerful article, thank you so much for sharing!

My wife and I’s only 2 pregnancies have ended with miscarriages, the last being one year ago. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I truly don’t think we can handle another disappointment.

Congratulations to those who have had children, I truly hope you know lucky you are!

13 Brian Glick February 25, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Thank you so much for writing this. We had several miscarriages before having our beautiful little girl.

I was amazed by how many people told us *afterward* that they had had miscarriages too. While the process would still have been horrific, it would have been easier if we had realized how common and normal it was.

14 Chris February 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm

I can’t really describe why this was so comforting but it simply was. My wife and I have tried to get pregnant for years. We finally conceived and miscarried just before Christmas. We’re about to start trying again and it is so good to hear these stories about life after the miscarriage. There is strength in knowing you aren’t alone.

15 Kevin February 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm

This article came at a prefect time in my life. My wife and I are currently going through a miscarriage. We had to go through infertility treatments just to get pregnant, which was a rollercoaster all on its own. We finally got pregnant 10 weeks ago only to find out a few weeks later that she was miscarrying through blood tests and ultrasounds. We are 25 and 24 years old and this is by far the hardest part of our lives. Thank you for sharing this. It really does help.

16 Kit Borden February 25, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Our first pregnancy experience was very short. We’d been trying for a while and somewhat unexpectedly found out we were expecting.

Twins. But one heartbeat was fainter and less steady than the other. Come back in a week for another ultrasound. Long week. We’d planned on waiting for months to tell anyone, especially having moved away to grad school less than a year before. But instead we called everyone to request prayers. A week later there were no heartbeats. They were approximately 8 weeks along.

It was hard, and much harder on my wife than me I think. I was more wary and less hopeful from the beginning, so the end of those hopes didn’t hurt as much. Emotional armor of a sort. But we also both felt that in it was, at least in part, a step forward. We had conceived, which we had struggled to do previously. We have since had 4 children and no more miscarriages.

Unlike Al, I’m not sure if I feel like I’m missing children or not. I know my wife feels like our family has 6 kids, just with 2 no there. I’m not sure, but I kind of hope that they are ours and just waiting for us to join them eventually. Believing in life after death and resurrection offers a measure of comfort that I am very grateful for.

17 neal February 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm

This is a great piece; I bet it could really help some people out there, both dads and moms.

When my wife first miscarried, it was really, really hard. It took my wife many, many months to heal to a point where it wasn’t weighing down her every day. But when our daughter was born, we named her Addison Sage. The first name was after a doctor and after an essayist.

The second followed the etymological links between a few of the concepts that were on our mind, and moved from “grace” to “salvation,” from “salvation” to “salve,” and from “salve” to “salvia.” Salvia is Latin for “to heal,” and is also another name for the plant “sage,”

18 Pete February 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Thanks to the author for writing and to Brett and Kate for publishing something so important. Our first pregnancy was a miscarriage and now that we are pregnant again I am both overjoyed and scared as hell that it might happen again.

I found out not long after just how common miscarriage is. There was barely a single person I knew that didn’t know someone that had been through it, and I think the more people realise that the easier it is to deal with since you don’t feel so utterly alone.

Finally, guys need to really stick together and show each other support during such a time. All the support goes to the wife on this, since they were the bearer and had to go through the physical anguish. It hurts a hell of a lot for us too though.

19 ChristopherNYC February 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I imagine it took a lot of courage to write this all down and share it with the world. My wife and are not yet ready to start a family but I know people who have, who have had miscarriages, and I can only imagine what you both went through. I’m sure there are a lot of men and women who will benefit from reading this. My prayers go out to you and your family tonight; may you and your wife have a successful pregnancy!

20 Spencer February 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I’ve only experienced a miscarriage from the underside, when my parents lost my soon-to-be sister. It was a painful experience for all of us kids, and I can’t imagine what it was like for my parents. They had gone through six consecutive births, each without any significant problems, only to lose this one after it all. But with a little faith and a lot of prayer, we all pulled through. Since then my parents have had two more babies (putting the total to 8), and they never regretted trying one (or two) more times.

21 Ben February 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm

This was easily one of the most beautiful and emotional articles I have read on this site. Thanks.

22 Roberto Paredes February 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Really great peace. My wife and I lost our 3 baby girls 3 months ago. We were expecting triplets. I spent so much time focusing on her and making sure she was focused on the next step that I failed to give myself time to greive. When I did I would be hard on myself. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. These were our first. We were trying for over a year. I really loved this peace. Thank you.

(I wrote this one night while grieving.)
12-20-12
A letter to my girls.

Thoughts of what could have been dance and fade with memories that were never made.
Memories of special days that were once so clear but now just fade away.
Thoughts of what could have been just fill my empty days.
We had these plans, this fairy tail but now it’s gone away.
Three little girls who looked like me and looked like you are gone and far away.
I miss the thoughts of fatherhood that filled my waken days.
I hide and cry with pain so great I have to stop and breath.
This pain I know will go away but these scars will never leave.

23 AndyHartley February 25, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Thank you. For sharing your story.

24 Patrick Leffas February 25, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Marcus — Thank you so much for writing about this topic and sharing your pain so openly. Until I experienced it myself, there was no way to really comprehend this kind of hurt. Hearing from others who have suffered in the same way does bring comfort, if only because you know that you’re not alone.

My wife and I have experienced the unpredictability of life, the highest of the highs, and the lowest of the lows: pregnancy, miscarriage (son), pregnancy, birth (daughter), pregnancy, miscarriage (daughter), adoption (son), pregnancy, birth (son), all interspersed with varying periods of infertility.

Sometimes it was all I could do to just hold on tight, comfort my wife, grieve with her, lead us in prayer, and be strong. Part of our grieving process was to name the children that we lost to miscarriage — Michael first, and then Sarah.

Do your best to not to be angry or resentful if people say unintentionally hurtful things like “oh, it’s for the best.” More than likely, they haven’t suffered in the same way, and really are just trying to help (without realizing how much those words cut right through you).

25 Nick February 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was in our home office, paying bills, our daughter was asleep in her basonet, and my wife came in, dressed in her bathrobe, tears streaming down her face. She didnt say anything. She didn’t have to. I rushed to her, wrapped my arms around her, and with the tears streaming down my face, I told her, “I love you; everything will be alright”.

From that day forward it has, thankfully. It is one of the most humbling things I think a husband/boyfriend/father/man can go through.

Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us, and writing a piece on one of the most emotionally draining topics people have to contend with.

26 J.D. February 25, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Thanks, Marcus. You have put into words what is so difficult for most of us to say. We lost two children; one through miscarriage and the other through a tubal pregnancy. My wife and I tried for years after the last pregnancy to conceive again. It wasn’t it the plan. Now, my daughter and son-in-law have gone through the same experience. We were able to walk them through this time based on words and thoughts similar to the ones you have shared. It is amazing how walking a common road eases the journey.

27 Clinton Austin February 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I have either served or worked closely with the military for almost 13 years. In this occupation, it pays to develop a callous on your emotions because you have to block your emotions to get the job done. Because of this, I thought nothing could effect me but when I got a call from the nurse saying that I needed come home because my wife had miscarried, I cried for 6 ½ hours driving from Tampa to Pensacola. When I got there, I had to be “strong” for my wife but wept silently alone. It took me almost three months to let my wife know how bad it affected me. Letting her know was somewhat ensuring to her because it showed that I cared and that I was human. So here is my lessons learned. 1) When you grieve, you have to have some time with the wife / girlfriend to grieve together. 2) It hurts. It still hurts but you have to press on. 3) If you are a religious person, maybe it was God’s will. If you are not, maybe it was bad timing. Regardless, it was no ones fault. 4) At the end of the day, love your wife / girlfriend.

28 J C February 25, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Thanks for the article. It’s very comforting to know I’m not the only one who grieved. We lost our second pregnancy and now have our third child. I find it equally uncomfortable to just say ‘I have two children’, when in my heart I know I have three, but lost one. Yet, at the same time, it’s not something I want to go into with someone who isn’t close to me. I don’t think I can say I have ‘dealt’ with it – it’s encouraging that other men have found it so tough, because some days it feels like the expectation is to not care about it.

29 Adam February 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Wow, that was the most emotional I’ve gotten reading an article on this site. I’m not a father nor am I married yet, but those are the two things I’m most looking forward to in the future. This articles makes me want to be ready to cherish the children I’ll have someday even more.

30 Thomas February 25, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I am far from fatherhood, but this is the most powerful piece I’ve read on The Art of Manliness. Thank you for sharing your story.

31 Brian February 25, 2013 at 10:40 pm

this helps me out a lot ive suffered through 4 myself the second and this last one really hurt but reading this really did help because i am still really young and i really didnt know of any info or how to cope but a friend of mine told me about this blog

32 Andrew February 25, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Thanks for the post. My wife and I have been married for three years and have no children. Last year, my first year of law school, we had four consecutive miscarriages before my second semester finals had even finished. Law school is tough enough as it is, and I can’t say I didn’t wish this article had existed last year, but we made it through. You’re right that it never gets easier and each one is a little different.

I’m sure this part is different for everyone, but it helped me most to involve my family. We kind of had to the first time after we told the whole family at a reunion and then it ended up being ectopic. We didn’t tell anyone about the second or third pregnancies but it still helped afterward to hear messages of support from those we loved and I will cherish some of the most unexpected thoughts shared by my sister-in-laws forever.

We just hope that someday soon the adage from Jurassic Park holds true… “life finds a way”

33 Scott S. February 25, 2013 at 10:47 pm

What an amazingly touching story. You are proof that a man can be vulnerable without being weak.

Thank you for sharing your story. May God bless you and your family.

34 Ken February 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Good article and it needed to be written, but if I read another article on here about losing children I can’t continue to read this site. I am sorry for all of your loss, Marcus, and I will celebrate your family.

35 Mitzi February 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm

I had a miscarriage a few years ago .. I had some spotting. Went to the doctor and he told me that there is going to be a lot of blood.. So I left the office went to target and started to bleed in the store. Blobs of blood running down my leg leaving a clump on the floor with each step. I made it to my car I sat on a plastic bag and made it home. I was terrified. I called my husband. He never left work to help me, i called him several times screaming and crying he still never came home..Instead he called one of my girlfriends and asked her to check on me. And when he finally came home he was cold to me.. I cleaned up all the blood alone..

36 Andrew February 25, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Thanks for the post. When my wife miscarried I had never before, nor since, felt so helpless in our relationship. I learned that the best thing I could do for her was to hold her and confirm my love for her with my words and actions. I learned from this experience and from the examples of others that real men love their wives sacrificially and find every possible way to serve their wives.

37 dannyb278 February 25, 2013 at 11:30 pm

First, my thoughts go out to all the men out there who have had to endure the pain of a loosing a child before they were born.

I dont tear up easy but this article did the job. My first son is due in may, and i cant wait to welcome him into the world.

38 parnmkie February 25, 2013 at 11:36 pm

this was an amazing and beautiful post to read im happy for you and your healthy kids, im equally as sad for your loss.
one day i hope my wife and i will have kids ^-^ i know its not going to be easy or perfect but in life things never are.

39 Nicole February 26, 2013 at 12:12 am

I’m eager for the time that I have children with the man I love, but I ache reading this story and these comments. I know it will be hard if the worst should happen and I hope to not experience it. I have friends who have. If the worst should happen, then I will hold my love just as tightly, so that he may grieve just as much.

40 Meghan February 26, 2013 at 12:25 am

I’m so happy to see an article from the daddy’s perspective. Yes, I believe prayer is a good addition to the process, too. After all, when something happens beyond our control, even many non-professing believers are inclined to talk to God. :)

I miscarried my first pregnancy (still in the first trimester) 11 days before my husband left for Basic Training. The stress of the situation was already intense with his foray into military life. But piling this on top was horrible. I started bleeding and went right away to a doctor (my family doctor was not in that day), who unemotionally told me – without even checking me! – that yep, it was likely a miscarriage and I should just go home, rest, and take some Motrin for the pain. Up until I gave birth 13 months later to our first child, I had never before experienced physical pain like I did during that miscarriage. Who is to say whether my heart breaking wasn’t at least half of the pain? It was as if my body was fighting to keep hold of that precious life. But it slipped away, and I have never prayed so hard in my entire life as those three months between losing that baby and my husband’s graduation, when we tried again and conceived our daughter, who is now three. My second pregnancy was also quickly conceived and successful, a son, who is now almost 2. And we are definitely done. But it was odd, I thought, because my own mom had three miscarriages after I was born, and was finally diagnosed with genetic translocation. I had myself tested for this chromosomal disorder before we even began trying the first time, and was found NOT to be a carrier. So I was extra frustrated and sad when I ended up losing the first baby for no reason I could pinpoint. But, like you say, 1 in 5. Many women don’t even know they have had a miscarriage because they happen so early in the gestation! What made it extra difficult was having my husband leave so soon, and him having no choice but to focus on the culture shock and extreme requirements of Basic Training. I’m certain his grief process was hijacked. So I am glad this post exists, if nothing else, to reach out to men who have endured this experience and reassure them of the normalcy of its process. So thank you for your transparency.

41 Matt February 26, 2013 at 1:12 am

My wife and I had two missed miscarriages in the last two years. A “missed miscarriage” is when the fetus will not spontaneously abort. The second time the fetus would not come out on its own and we weren’t too keen on surgery, so my wife decided to tell our accupunturist and receive treatment. Almost as soon as she got home from accupuncture it happended.
She later told our accupuncturist who let out an, “Oh Shit!”
Later, we went to get genetic testing and found out that my wife has a genetic propensity for blood clots. We don’t know if this caused the miscarriages, but it is known to. We are planning on trying again this summer, fingers crossed. I apologize for the above details, but was hoping that they could help someone else out. As you know, women don’t talk much about miscarriage and men even less so. That’s why I really appreciated this article and all of the comments. Someone asked me today if I had kids. I wanted to tell them what had happened, but just said, “No”. I still don’t know how to answer that question.

42 Will February 26, 2013 at 2:04 am

Wow, this is incredibly moving. Best wishes for your family.

43 roughneck February 26, 2013 at 4:53 am

Thanks for this article.We had our first miscarriage 4 months ago but it still feels like it was yesterday. We’re daily reminded of what might have been. Two months after our miscarriage, my wife and I moved overseas for a new job opportunity. We anticipated starting a new life here as a brand-new family, but it seems so lonely at times when I think of the laughter and joy that child would have brought to our home. But my wife and I continue trusting the Lord for His timing, and continue to pray for a child of our own to shower with love. Thank you for this article, and for giving me reason to pause and consider what this loss has meant to my wife and I, and how to grieve well & move forward.

44 DJ - HireMeHigherEd February 26, 2013 at 5:06 am

A friend of mine put it well when they were grieving from a miscarriage. He said “You can’t really say you are “moving on”, because that implies you are forgetting what happened in the past. Rather we are choosing to “move forward” which just means that we will take this experience with us and look to something better in the future”.

45 Future_MD February 26, 2013 at 5:19 am

I should preface this by saying I’m in medical school.

Medical students have the empathy “trained out of us”, so to speak. It’s tempting to deal with such weighty issues like a miscarriage by trivializing them to a slew of test results and jargon. I know it’s going to happen to me…. I will see a patient and will trivialize their suffering in order to keep myself clearheaded and rational.
Stories like this remind me that we’re all human and that the PERSON must be kept in mind. “Care for the WHOLE patient”, they tell us.
Thank you for sharing.

46 John F. February 26, 2013 at 5:39 am

Good piece… sorry to hear about someone going through that experience.

I think it might be helpful to note, for your readers who might get this far into the comments, that miscarriages are MUCH more common than most couples realize, even in a healthy situation (in fact, as our doctor told us, a miscarriage can be as much part of the natural process as a healthy birth, in that when it happens it can because something had gone wrong, as it sometimes does, and that’s nature’s way of clearing the way to start again).

My wife had at least one miscarriage. She believes she may have had two, as the uncertain one happened VERY early, before we were sure of a possible pregnancy.

The second time it happened — or maybe the first, but for sure — it was after our son was born and we were trying for another child. I had made a little video to announce that she was expecting and we’d already showed it to family. And then on an flight, she started spotting… it got worse the next day and we went to the hospital… where we got the news.

I must say, while our very young son and I were with her in the hospital room, lending whatever support we could… she was the strongest I’ve ever seen her. Very brave and accepting of what was happening, ready to do whatever she needed to to get through the ordeal. I very much admired the way she handled it, and hope I’ve told her so.

P.S. After waiting a bit for her body to recover, we tried again and had a beautiful baby girl. They’re ages 8 and 6 right now and absolutely everything to us both.

47 kirk February 26, 2013 at 5:57 am

There really is no set way on how to react it. Some of these had events leading up to miscarriage. In my case everything was fine we went into the doctors office for regular check up and there was no longer a heartbeat. I was shocked and of course felt helpless. Wife said I had the worst look on my face she ever saw. She felt like she had let me down (even though I never ever made her feel like that). It was just a rough rough horrible time and really didn’t resolve until out next kid was healthily born. And even then I’d worry every time I’d go into a checkup with wife.

48 Carlos February 26, 2013 at 6:13 am

As an emt, I have experienced miscarriages many times. Since I work at an Army base, they come in cycles. There have been times when we would go on miscarriage calls 10 or more times in the span of two weeks. They are not easy, even for us. But, you learn a lot. I have 3 grown children, but my current wife of almost 20 years and I do not have any.

A miscarriage is one of the hardest calls to go on. It is supposed to be a time of happiness, but is anything but. While we do everything we can, it is an emotionally draining experience, even for us emt.

49 Ross February 26, 2013 at 6:33 am

Thank you for this article. I feel the need to share, though my response may end up as long as the original article.

I was at school during my plan bell when my wife called. She was at the OB/GYN for the first check of our pregnancy, when they listen for the heartbeat. I remember the pain in her voice when she said, “They can’t find a heartbeat.” I quickly told the teacher next door what had happened, then rushed home, breaking every traffic law on the way. She was between 10 and 12 weeks with twins when the miscarriage happened. To make matters worse, her body was not clearing itself properly, so she had to have what is called a DNC, in which the doctor goes in to clean out the womb. I remember being shocked and very angry when the female doctor described the procedure as being like “cleaning out a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern.” As we began to share our pain with family and friends, we were amazed at how many other people had experienced miscarriages, and their love and support carried us through.

We continued to try, but Erin had two more miscarriages. As others have said, the joy at being pregnant became wary, guarding against being hurt so profoundly again. All of the pregnancies ended at the 10-12 week point. We went to specialists to see what could be done, joined a support group for those who have not been able to conceive or carry a child to term and began to investigate adoption. Then Erin became pregnant again. She saw the specialist frequently and was on hormone therapy. Then came the appointment when the heartbeat is first detected, the one at which all the other pregnancies had gone wrong, and I was supposed to go to Oklahoma with my parents to visit friends. We debated whether or not I should go with Erin seeing the doctor while I would be out of town, and we finally decided that my skipping the trip would be almost like signaling defeat, admitting that it was going to go wrong. So I went on the trip and Erin went to the doctor. I was in the middle of the Western Movies exhibit in the Cowboy Hall of Fame Museum in Oklahoma City when my cell phone rang. Tears coming down my face, I found my parents, grinning ear-to-ear: there was a good, strong heartbeat! With continued support from specialists, Erin carried our first born, Lily Katherine, to term. Lily will be 6 in a couple weeks, and this article and going over my own story has reminded me what a wonderful miracle she is.

Our next pregnancy, though, fell into the same loss pattern, but we decided to try one more time. Again with the help of a lot of specialists and the support of family and friends, Logan Patrick was born two years and eleven months after his big sister. The second successful pregnancy initially had my wife wanting to try again, but after much discussion we finally agreed that the emotional and physical strain was more than she or I could bear. Over the course of about five years we had lost five kids to miscarriages but we now have two of the greatest children in the world. Lily and Logan did not replace those that we lost, but we figure that God has given us just compensation.

All along the way we shared our story and our pain, and the support that we received in return was what carried us through. The most touching that comes to mind involved one of my students. He was a good kid, but he was one who didn’t apply himself as he should and his behavior could be off the wall; I liked him, but he drove me nuts. My students knew what I had been going through before Lily was born, and one afternoon this young man came in to my room after school. I knew his girlfriend had been pregnant, but I was surprised and touched when he came in by himself and said, “Mr. Shaw, I know you might not want to, but my baby is here; can I bring her in to show you?” That he cared enough about the way I felt to ask that, well, it still gets me. I replied sure, and I got to meet the beautiful baby girl of a doting teenage father. It maybe should have made me think, ‘Why can this kid have a kid when Erin and I can’t,’ but instead it gave me a bit of hope, and something to look forward to.

For anyone that is going through a miscarriage, don’t bottle up your feelings or hide what is going on. Your family and friends will be the rocks on which you rely to get through the difficult time. Do not give up hope nor joy, as you will be given what is right and just in the end. Once you have your own little baby, love him or her with all you are worth, and do not forget what a tremendous miracle they are.

50 DaveZ February 26, 2013 at 6:56 am

Thank you for sharing such a touching and wonderful story. My wife and I are going through a rough patch currently and we are blessed to have two wonderful children, a boy and a girl. Regardless of what happens between my wife and me, our children will always come first. Treat them like the gift they are and let them know your limitless love for them.

51 John February 26, 2013 at 7:00 am

When my wife miscarried, she was told to “get over it” by a nurse. Many people don’t realize, as common as it is, that grieving is very important. The helplessness that men feel, I think, stems from our built-in instincts to protect and provide. Somehow we think we failed somehow – both our wives and our children.

If the grief that comes with miscarriage is hard, the grief and guilt connected to abortion can be crippling. I have seen many instances of men who pushed it down (we are so good at that) and soldiered on, only to have it resurface in different ways for years. Like miscarriage, we need permission to grieve, but also to acknowledge our guilt if we can expect to have any healing afterward. Currently, the politics get in the way of the mental health profession’s willingness to recognize this problem and help deal with it, regardless of political views.

52 james February 26, 2013 at 7:22 am

I think that this was a great post and really portrayed all of the feelings that the husband goes through. I have to boys and in between them we had a miscarrriage. With everything going through your minds as to what could have been and who that person was at one point or another it hits you and you can grieve. I think i wrote several poems that I had only shared with my wife after my second son was born. Either way to grieve is to let the loss go and to remember the time as not hurtful but a time where expectation were put out there and all the hopes and dreams you had for that baby. We never got to the point where we named the baby but to us it was a baby no matter at what stage we lost the pregnancy.
This was a great article and such a needed one, as I think that most men do not know they are supposed to grieve a loss like this one. To most, they just don’t understand since the baby was never developed or born how someone could form such a bond, but it happens especially when it is your’s. Again thanks for sharring and it was such a great article.
thank you,

53 Al K February 26, 2013 at 7:25 am

Thank you Marcus and your family for one of the most poignant things I’ve ever read. I don’t have a family but hope to, and in the midst of tricky times, this post was a humbling, beautiful and uplifting read. Thank you for helping me add an arrow to the quiver-full that life demands. Al

54 Adam Blakely February 26, 2013 at 7:47 am

Thanks for sharing this article, Marcus, and thanks for all of the comments, men. It truly can be a lonely road to walk, and just knowing that there are men out there who have experienced the same heart-wrenching loss and helplessness is a blessing. My wife and I have suffered 4 miscarriages in our first two years of marriage. We’re trying to get pregnant again, and by the grace of God we pray for a healthy, full-term pregnancy. I pray the same for all of you men who are going through the same thing.

55 Jesse February 26, 2013 at 8:11 am

Holy crap, what a ride.

I am about to enter this phase of life with my wife, and I can’t imagine the hardship. I am sitting at my desk trying to figure out how I can be as strong as you’ve portrayed.

56 Ronald February 26, 2013 at 8:16 am

This was a beautiful and genuinely touching article. Thanks for the courage to write and share this with us.

57 Emily Northington February 26, 2013 at 8:32 am

I love now more than ever that my husband reads your blog. This is a wonderful, helpful, and most important post for men to read. Men need to know that in such a painful and horrifying process that they can grieve. Thank you so much for sharing this.

58 Steve February 26, 2013 at 8:36 am

People often don’t recognize that Dads hurt, too – and need to be able to grieve without hiding it. Thanks for opening up this rather sensitive subject. We’re now many years past our last miscarriage (5 healthy kids, but 4 failed pregnancies) – the wounds heal, but it’s very raw when it happens.

59 Aaron February 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

Thank you for this article; it could not have come at a more perfect time. My wife and I were actually talking about getting pregnant again after our son made it to 22 weeks and then his heart stopped beating for no reason at all. Because my wife was so far along, she had to deliver the baby. They pumped her full of hormones to induce labor, which lasted 14 hours, with no reward for her efforts at the end of it all.

What helped me the most from this article was what your mother wrote to you. If God willing, when we get pregnant again, I am worried about telling people. I am worried it will jinx us, or we will disappoint people if we have another miscarriage. I am worried about being the little boy who cried, “Wolf!” But after reading what your mother wrote, I have no reservations of celebrating our next pregnancy from day one! Thank you for having the courage to not only relive your experiences, but put them down on paper (so to speak) for the benefit of others.

60 Colin February 26, 2013 at 8:52 am

Thank you Marcus for sharing your story, thank you AoM for putting it up and available, but mostly thank you to everyone sharing your stories. My wife and I had a miscarriage of what would have been our first child two weeks ago. We had had the typical 10 week check and we had an ultrasound and the baby’s heartbeat was so strong and our OBGYN told us 90% of pregnancies at this stage make it to term. We were so excited and told all our friends and family we hadn’t already told. In what was supposed to be the 12th week of the pregnancy my wife had what seemed to be just slight bleeding. We went to the doctor and they did an ultrasound. The difference in the two ultrasounds was so severe; the first we were greeted with that strong beat of a heart, the second was just silence. I couldn’t breathe and I felt like collapsing. They brought a second doctor in to confirm and there was still nothing.
What’s helped me is leaning in on my wife. In these 2 weeks we have spent so much time together to grieve, love, laugh, cry, talk, cry more, and so on. We are going to try again but we are so scared, scared as to what will happen should this occur again, scared to be hopeful or excited or tell people, just scared. I see that many of you have felt the same way and been able to continue, even through multiple miscarriages, and I am wowed by your perseverance. Thank you for letting me tell my story

61 Ben February 26, 2013 at 9:10 am

Wow, man. I’m almost crying.

I’ve been married for 8 years and my wife and I have no kids. By choice. We’ve both been back and forth on the subject and I think we’re close to being ready now. However, we’re still a little anxious about the possibility of a miscarriage. You can be extremely careful, completely healthy, follow all the books, and go to all the classes, but it can still happen for no reason.

We know four other couples who have gone through this–three good friends of mine and one of hers–and I feel horrible for them that they had to suffer such a tragedy. It didn’t affect just those families, but a wide circle of friends. I feel like a bad friend that I didn’t offer more support than I did, but what can you do? Once it’s out there, it’s just an elephant in the room every time you get together. It feels weird to be on that side of the situation. I’d hate to put my friends and family through that, and that has been part of my excuse to not procreate, but I can’t let the possibility of loss and the lingering “what could have been” stop us from at least trying to add to our family. THEN I’m all about the vasectomy. One and done.

62 Timothy February 26, 2013 at 9:11 am

Wow. Well written article. My wife and I lost our second child about 12 weeks into the pregnancy – did the ultrasound… no heartbeat. I still remember going to go eat with my wife, and my son who was 2 at the time. What a heart-wrenching ordeal. I LOVE the end… faith – it has kept us from losing our minds many times over. Thanks for sharing your story.

63 Matteo February 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

This might be the most moving blog post I have ever seen. I’m 31, single and nowhere near starting a family (not yet, at least). So I can’t really relate. Yet here I am, taking a break at work, with tears forming up in my eyes.

Thank you for sharing this and I’m crossing fingers for you and your family.

64 Sebastian February 26, 2013 at 10:02 am

I usually do not leave comments, but this is an exception. This is one of the best articles I’ve read in AoM. Two thumbs up to it.

My wife miscarried a pregnancy a few months after our marriage. The emotional rollercoaster was just as you described. We also named the baby and held a sort of personal ceremony between us.

That was a year and a half ago. No new pregnancies since then, with unknown causes of infertility. The emotional rollercoaster is now on a monthly basis. But, as you said, gotta keep the faith.

Thanks.

65 Marcus Brotherton February 26, 2013 at 10:41 am

Wow, I’m reading these comments here this morning, each one, so many powerful stories, thank you to each person for sharing.

@ Mitzi … so sorry, so sorry.

66 Kyle February 26, 2013 at 10:42 am

Wow! Truly an awe-inspiring story, both heart-wrenching and uplifiting. That last paragraph that talked about your latest childs middle name being Faith almost had me balling here at work in my office. My wife is currently pregnant with our second child, a little girl! Thanks for sharing this story and God bless! PS> God is good all the time!

67 Russ February 26, 2013 at 11:05 am

Thank you for sharing and creating the safe space where men who are taught not to show emotion can let it out. I have been on this rollercoaster and my heart goes out to all who have expressed themselves here in these postings.

Add this conversation to the important ones to have with your sons, who may at some point be on this rollercoaster as well. We can be brothers to each other, not by easing the pain because it shapes us, but by sharing in it and standing shoulder to shoulder knowing some elses understands what we are going through.

68 Jon February 26, 2013 at 11:06 am

Thanks, Marcus.

My wife and I struggled through seven miscarriages during the five years between our sons. As we shared our struggle our eyes have been opened to the many women and men who suffer through this silent and alone. I hope this post will help alleviates the sense of loneliness for some men and women and inspire others with the courage to share their sorrow rather than suffering in silence.

69 Joe February 26, 2013 at 11:09 am

One of the best on AoM.

My wife and I had a miscarriage on our second pregnancy. My baby went home to be with the Lord on July 31st, 2011.The hardest thing for me, and I think most men, is the feeling of helplessness. Knowing you can’t do anything to fix it.

This was a great post Marcus. There is nothing more manly than to be able to weep over your kids. God Bless

70 Erin February 26, 2013 at 11:21 am

A heavy topic, but beautifully handled. Thank you for sharing.

71 Jim Collins February 26, 2013 at 11:27 am

Esteemed Marcus Brotherton, Kate, and Brett,

Marcus, I envy you. I am fifty-seven years old and I decided when I was eighteen that I ought not to have children and I was right. It was another seven years before I found an urologist who was willing to perform a vasectomy. The proof that I was right when I was eighteen is that my first impulse on reading your post was to post a narcissistic exposition on the biology of miscarriage – as if in this context my knowledge of reproductive biology makes any f***ing difference.

We are alive, and the tautological context of life is that life begets life. Eleven years ago I saw a rat harvesting fava beans from the garden my wife and I cultivated. When the weather turned cold, she moved into our home and one evening we lay in bed and listened to this fantastic and intelligent living thing climbing on our venetian blinds. I set a trap and I killed her. Then I cried. She had a pale cream colored belly and a silver grey coat that matches the shade my lover’s hair has turned over time. I am a biologist who became a biologist because of my biophilia, and I dissected the rat. Her insides were as beautiful as the rest of her, and she was pregnant. Today, in spite of knowing that I did the right and necessary thing in setting that trap, it pains me. My point is only this: that because we are alive we are the continuity of life. I can NOT know the feelings of the parent of a lost child – not even one who has yet to know the world outside a womb.

Marcus – thank you.

Jim Collins

72 CP February 26, 2013 at 11:29 am

Good article. My wife and I went through this stuff too. 4 attempts at IVF – sprinkle in a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and a failure until we finally had our twins (born 13 weeks premature). I don’t remember all the details of ever event, but that’s a good thing. I think the key is to have a short memory and persevere. As the husband, I felt it was my duty not to crack, to focus on the positive, to keep us on track an support my wife with whatever decision she made. It was tough but the reward can’t be measured. I love my boys more than anything on earth and it’s all because my wife is tougher than Chuck Norris.

73 allan b. February 26, 2013 at 11:37 am

really tough article to read only because i am all too familiar with the situation. always wondered how other men dealt with the situation. thanks for the article and good advice

74 John Darnall February 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

One additional thought. When these tragedies happen, don’t forget to include your extended family. Our eldest daughter and her husband miscarried twins on their first pregnancy and bore that loss for many years before telling us. To have walked with them through that dark time and extend comfort would have been a great opportunity for us as grandparents to show our love in new and deeper ways.

As many other families, they named the twins and we now have the joy of claiming eight grandchildren, six are growing and facing life here with us and two have gone on before us. So, while those are dark days, no need to walk through them alone. I encourage families to share the loss with parents and siblings who will also help to carry the loss and face the new days with hope.

75 Joseph February 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

You’ve talked before about manly relationships and even though I’m sure most of the men who read this are complete strangers to you and each other I feel like this exemplifies an excellent way men can support each other. This was incredibly touching. Thank you for being open and vulnerable enough to share this and to encourage other men who may face this same situation.

76 Anonymous February 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Marcus,

Thank you for posting this. Sadly, the timing was perfect – my wife just miscarried what was to be our first child a couple of days ago. She was at nine weeks. We had been trying for only a month or two before we had the good news. We were excited and had started telling a few folks, started looking at strollers and seats, talking about names, but held of on making the news fully public since we wanted to tell my two children from my first marriage in person, and they are alienated from me and live with their mom on the out of state. It has been a very hard couple of days, sitting with my wife, trying to be supportive, loving and helpful while dealing with my feeling of powerlessness; as you said, there’s nothing to be done and no reason.

So far, she seems to be doing okay, as am I. I admire her strength and resilience so much – not just for this, but in everything. I know there will be ups and downs; mourning, anger, and trying to move on, which we will… we will try again, and soon.

Thank you for this. It helped a lot.

77 Bryce February 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm

#3 from the article is one of the things that helped me the most when my wife and I lost a full term baby.

It was hard (to say the least) for me to deal with it all, after all, aren’t I supposed to be the protector, the one who makes everything okay? And there was nothing I could do to prevent the loss of our son. Like other commenters, I felt helpless.

One thing I could do after the event was help my wife. I knew she’d be going through her own grief rollercoaster, and it was likely that with all the crazy hormones that come with pregnancy (not to mention the constant physical reminders – like her milk coming in) that her grief was going to be more intense than mine. I concentrated on being as patient as I could and serving her in any way possible.

Anyway, thanks for writing the article. Dads almost never get a chance to talk about this stuff.

78 Dana February 26, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Although I have not had to suffer through this and will hopefully never have to, I appreciate the reminder for me in this post as well: as the father of the baby, his loss is just as great as mine; grieve together.
Thank you for writing this.

79 Matt February 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm

While I have been fortunate not to have experienced this first hand, I have seen it happen to friends. This is such and important topic that affects so many men. This was an excellent post on the subject and is the perfect example of why AoM is so important and why I read it everyday. Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us!

80 Alan February 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Thank you. And God bless you for sharing.

81 Shannon February 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Thank you for this. I am a woman, and I started reading this blog out of curiosity because my husband reads it. That was a year ago, and I still love it. After one healthy pregnancy that brought our 4-year old son, we suffered a miscarriage a little over a year ago. It was the most terrible experience of my life, but my husband handled it like a champ. He cried with me, encouraged me, reassured me, affirmed me as a woman, and gave me the help I needed to heal physically. I think the six suggestions near the end of the article are brilliant. We named and prayed for our child the night before the D & C, and we mourned the loss. This didn’t make it all okay, but it made it better. Anyway, thanks for talking about this. It’s so common and yet somehow still so taboo. The happy ending: I am in the midst of a healthy pregnancy now, and will add a little girl to our family in about 7 weeks.

82 Jeremiah D February 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Powerful! my wife and I have experienced 2 miscarriages. I wish someone had helped me through them with advice like this. We also been blessed and now have a 6 yr old daughter. Thank you for writing!

83 Ron February 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Thank you for your heartfelt article. Thank you for helping other men understand that being a man NOT about burying your emotions and always being “the man”. Being a man is far deeper and convoluted. Thank you for helping others with some words of experience and understanding.

84 Joseph February 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm

damn all these onions

85 Raul February 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Thank you for this message.

It really touched me. One of the best histories that I have ever read here on AoM.

86 Joel McClosky February 26, 2013 at 2:29 pm

My wife and I literally found out yesterday that she is currently going through a miscarriage. This was our first pregnancy; she was nine weeks along. It did not become ‘real’ to me until last night as I broke the news to my parents, who we told the good news to just a scant seven days ago.
Today at work has been draining, I’ve felt sick, and feel like I could crawl into bed (or a bottle). This article, regardless of it’s scheduled release could not have been more apropos for this guy. Thanks for tackling such a delicate subject in a tremendously meaningful, respectful, and articulate way. Thank you. ~ Joel

87 Bald Nurse February 26, 2013 at 2:36 pm

As a nurse & a father who has been through two miscarriages I agree with this blog completely. The only thing to add is: A REAL man marries before having children.There are too many bastard children in America already!

88 Mike February 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Thank you for putting pen to paper on such a heart-wrenching subject. Having lost a child to a miscarriage a couple of yeas ago, it was my Catholic faith that pulled me through it. No matter what happens, God will bring about something great even if it is currently shrouded in mystery. I am comforted by knowing that I was blessed to co-create another person into an infinite existence who, with grace, I will be able to meet someday. Again, thank you so much for broaching this topic. It helps to know other men out there can be honest and open about this.

89 Dirjel February 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm

MANLY TEARS.

This was nice. Thanks for sharing with us. I’m still single, but one day I’d like to start a family, and… good to be ready, I guess. As ready as I can be.

90 Ben February 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Thank you; thank you all.

91 Matt February 26, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Just wanted to say thanks for a great article. Very nicely done.

92 Matthew Mittler February 26, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Thank you for sharing this. My wife and I have not had to endure this hardship, but I read this while wiping tears from my eyes multiple times. Well done AOM. For a blog that often focuses on the lighter side of being a man (i.e. zombie apocalypse shot gun, etc.) , I was pleased to see attention to the emotions of a man and a real situation. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on another addition to your family.

93 Mike February 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I have lived through several early pregnancy miscarriages and an unintentional abortion. My wife’s (ex-wife now) body just rejected pregnancy so often that on one occasion the doctor couldn’t find a fetus during an ultrasound and hastily scheduled another D&C (dilation and curettage). During the performance of the D&C the fetus was aborted. It was well formed enough for them to tell it was a boy. We eventually had a child together (She’s 21 and will be getting married this year), but from time to time I can’t help but think of all the losses, specially the little boy. By my count I could have had 5 children by my ex-wife. The eldest would have been around 25 or so.

94 Trent Milam February 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm

How did I cope with our miscarriage? Running. I started it back in November after a 7 year period of practicality no exercise. I’ve been struggling to keep my weight under 200 lbs for years and I could barely hike a mile without getting severely winded (bad because I am a park ranger).

My dad and grandmother died of strokes. One grandfather died of a heart attack and the other had a pace maker. I’m 42 and have a 3 year old son, if I didn’t do something about my health, I would not be alive to see my grandchildren.

I told my wife one day that I was going to do a Couch to 5k program, she was very supportive and a little jealous (she barely had time to exercise herself). I carved out an hour every other morning (5-6am) and finished the program by the end of December. During that time, we had a miscarriage.

If it hadn’t been for running, I would have lost my mind. Running allowed me to pour my anger, pain, and grief into my body in a combination of self destruction and self renewal. I have been able to cross through the grief and be even more present to my family during their own sorrow because I was able to cope through running.

I have been able to see what I am capable of in ways that even my time in the Army couldn’t have shown me. I am able to be strong for others and heal my own broken heart. I am able to forgive myself more and encourage others to be their best without a sense of hypocrisy.

I never ran in school, I drank, smoked, and never exercised. Running in the Army was a daily chore. Back in 2005, to prep for joining the Peace Corps (and also with dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail), I began hiking and moved up to running, but soon stopped once I went overseas. But, I can truthfully say in the past three months I have surpassed my historic running ability and I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been.

How did this happen? How did I get here? Where did this drive come from? I hope it stays a long time and I am able to run a marathon before I’m 45 years old.

95 Neil February 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm

My wife and I just struggled through a miscarriage about 6 months ago. My wife was only about 6 weeks along when we lost the baby. We had only found out she was pregnant a week or so before it happened. We were a mess but our faith definitely helped us to get through it. We had a feeling that it was a girl and we named her Monica. We know that she`s in Heaven looking out for us and we will meet her when we get there. We are already blessed by our son and we are pregnant again and this pregnancy seems to be going better than our last one.

96 Joe February 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm

This is a truly exemplary article, from a viewpoint thats often not considered.
Thank you for taking the time to write it. My best wishes go out to you and your new family.

97 John February 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Thanks for the article. I have never written in before as I am terribly busy with my family, work etc. However, I knew I had to today. I hope this helps someone. We have had 8 miscarriages but have also been blessed by our Lord with 8 children. After the first few we learned about progesterone; vaginal suppositories and that is a must for us. We still have lost some with them until we found out about using different herbs.In case any one is interested the herbs we used were; false unicorn and lobelia and Cayenne (capsicum 90 heat units) – You would take the capsicum whether you were taking just False Unicorn, just Lobelia, or the 2 together. You can take 4 doses in the first hour and then every 2 hours after. If the bleeding is more than just spotting, or the cramping is a bit hard, some friends have taken 2 False Unicorn and 1 capsicum every 15 min for the first hour. I say only 1 capsicum because the heartburn and diarrhea can get pretty bad if you take 8 in an hour  Also, if after the first day she finds the heartburn is just too bad with the 2 capsicum, you can wean back to 1 and see how her body responds.You men, need to be helping with this as she should be in bed. it is worth it. False Unicorn and Lobelia are considered “thinking herbs.” If the baby has already died they will hasten a miscarriage and help to remove everything, if the baby is still living and the problem is rather with the mother, they will strengthen the uterus and help to maintain the pregnancy.

False Unicorn and Lobelia can be used together (this is what we did before but some friends we talked to have just used False unicorn and Cayenne) , and Dr. Christopher (well thought of herbalist, deceased) was a big fan of Lobelia. He has an anti-miscarriage formula with Lobelia and False Unicorn that I have read good things about, but I do not know anyone who has tried it. Like I said, the dosage can be tricky with Lobelia, my wife got sick having the tea but tolerated the pills. But if you can’t get it, or if you seem to need something stronger I would not hesitate to use the Lobelia, or add it to the False Unicorn for something stronger. But the False Unicorn has worked with the women I have advised. As I said my wife was in bed and on her back as much as possible. Sometimes she would get up after three days after the last of the bleeding, and then almost immediately have to go back to bed rest due to more spotting or cramping.
We had to do this over a dozen times with our last baby when my wife was 41. We have had to have her spend 2 months straight flat on her back, well actually side, bed pan, never up with one of the pregnancies in the hospital under some heavy medication i.v. meds the whole time and gone through many other things but of course they are all worth it. I agree with your mother. Children are eternal. Praise the Lord for them. Miscarriages are very hard especiually for our wives. We must be a great comfort to them. Though I would never have chosen them it did bring us even closer to each other and our Saviour as we sought help from Him and each other as we grieved. Thanks again for the article. I hope this helps someone. John

98 Jim Thorp February 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm

It’s a hard, hard thing — we had the author’s situation two Thanksgivings ago — just told our whole family, then signs that things weren’t right… I wrote this after we lost our little one: http://archangelstomp.blogspot.com/2010/12/little-something.html

99 Will February 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Hey man, going through this right now. Thanks for this man.

100 Josh Simar February 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Thank you. After reading over many of the comments from the other fine men who read this site I feel I would add little of consequence from telling my personal stories as well. I did however want to take the time to say thank you for writing this. Thank you for having the courage. Thank you for having the humility. Thank you for helping those of us without a guide to have at least a rubric to look at. Thank you for exposing your story so that others may be comforted.

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