It must be hard being the husband of a woman going through a miscarriage.
“Are you the partner?” said the doctor to my husband as we waited for our ERPC procedure last Monday. I thought: who the bloody hell do you think he is (in my usual, convivial way)?!
I can’t put myself fully in my husband’s shoes, but he must have felt like a spare part that day.
And while I’m getting sick of all the IVF rounds and medical procedures, I suppose at least I’m not watching someone else going through them.
I know my husband blames himself for our situation. I’m not going to lie, there are times that I’ve blamed him too.
But it’s not his ‘fault’. Yes, the reason we’re having IVF is down to male factor issues. But it’s completely outside his control. He can’t ‘do’ anything to change his situation, just like I can’t change my age which, at 37, is when fertility apparently takes a giant nose dive.
Hard for the man
I do get a bit annoyed when people start feeling sorry for the man in all this.
It’s me that’s taken countless drugs over the last year, me who’s had three general anaesthetics through egg collection and got a fat belly during pregnancy, and me who endured the miscarriage procedure.
However… I am off work sick at the moment, thankfully, trying to feel better. But my poor husband went back yesterday, and has had no face to face support from anyone. Least of all me.
Dealing with me
I have been a horrible cow over the last 12 days. I’m full of rage, I’ve got the shortest of fuses and I snap my husband’s head off for the smallest of reasons.
I know it’s not nice, but I still feel entitled to feel angry. Plus I haven’t been strong enough to support him as well.
However, he’s hurting too. He is truly broken by what’s happened, I know that, and I know he feels hugely guilty. So it’s now about time I stopped focusing on me, and started thinking about him.
Six ideas to support your partner
With absolutely no idea where to start with this, because I am full of grief and suffering too, I turned to google today for some advice. This is a collection of the ‘best’ ones I could find:
- Lean into your marriage or relationship – this advice comes from Adriel Booker, an Australian blogger. She stresses the importance of not pulling away from one another and to keep the channels of communication open. That means regularly checking in, talking about how we both feel and being sensitive to each other’s needs. As we’re both prone to internalising our emotions, this is good advice.
- Write him a card or buy him flowers – from the same blogger, she recommends buying your partner a thoughtful gift or writing a card to show you care. The gesture means you’re thinking about his needs rather than your own. So I’ve decided to buy him an iPhone running armband. OK, not hugely romantic, but it’s something he wants, and running is something we do together. Plus I got him a cut-price Easter egg yesterday, so I am trying 🙂
- Suggest counselling or a helpline – this website points to Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, which has a helpline (0207 436 5881). I think it’s highly unlikely my husband would call a helpline or pay to have counselling, but I might suggest it. I actually tried to find a book written from a man’s perspective about miscarriage but there was nothing suitable. There’s a real gap in the market here… maybe he should write something.
- Plan a weekend activity together – OK, one of my own ideas now. I want us to go walking. Like, a nice five or six-mile walk in and around the county we live in. It doesn’t cost anything (good, as we have to save up for IVF again), it’s good exercise and being in nature is healing. Plus each walk features a pub – there’s nothing not to like about this plan! Here’s the book off Amazon. But it doesn’t have to be a walk. It could be a meal out, the movies, the theatre – anything that’s stress-free that brings you closer.
- Write a list about what I love about him – another suggestion from me (I found a real lack of articles on supporting partners, actually)… I’m going to note down one thing a day that I love/appreciate about my husband, and give it to him at the end of the month. This is part of a new ‘IVF one-month challenges’ idea I’ve started on my blog – basically, so I can try and achieve some small wins during the wait between IVF cycles. It’s also a good way of practising gratitude, as I have a lot to be thankful for, despite this fertility bullshit.
- Cook for him – I’m not a fan of cooking. Baking yes – yum! Cooking = boring (IMHO). However, since the miscarriage, I have a strange desire to eat more healthily (I ate pretty badly during my pregnancy). I read two cook books, cover to cover, the day after my ERPC. And I’m getting into the idea of batch cooking. So I want to harness this new-found chef within, and use it to look after my husband. While I’m off work, this is one little thing I can do for him. Feed him with food made with love. Tuna bake tonight, anyone?
So these are my six ideas for supporting your partner after a missed miscarriage. But, of course, it’s important you look after yourself as well.
I’m sure there’s loads of other great suggestions out there. If you have any, I’d love to hear from you. Please share your comments below.