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Dads coping with loss

Posted by on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:04 PM
  • 11 Replies

I found this article that had several quotes from different fathers on how they felt and thought it would be interesting to share. 

Dads: coping with loss   

Whether your partner had a miscarriage at six weeks or your baby died after birth, the pain of loss can be overwhelming. 

Yet the grief that many fathers feel often goes unnoticed. Men are usually expected, and may expect themselves, to be strong and supportive: 

"I was able to be strong, supportive and caring at first. I made the phone calls to the family and friends, and intercepted as many calls as possible to protect her. I was doing OK until I made the last call, the one to my own parents. I broke down just as I was telling my own mother, I can't imagine the pain she felt for me." 

"Men are supposed to be tough and able to handle emotions. Right now all I want to do is cry. I've never felt like this before about anything." 

Family, friends and work colleagues can overlook grieving dads and may not offer support. Men tend not to have the same sort of social networks that many women have and may be used to relying on their partner for emotional support. If a woman is devastated by her own grief, her bereaved partner may feel that there's nobody he can talk to. As a result he may put his own feelings on hold. 

"I'm trying to be supportive, but it feels hard to talk to anyone else besides my wife about what happened. It's hard to let my guard down." 

Sometime fathers are sidelined for other reasons - for example, when a decision has to be made during pregnancy: 

"Things were hard for me in a way that I didn't expect. My wife and I together had to make the painful choice to terminate the pregnancy, but when the forms were being signed, they only wanted her signature. I felt sort of invisible. Of course, I feel bad for feeling selfish, but it was difficult." 

Grief is very individual, and couples often find that their feelings and reactions do not coincide. One partner may want to "get back to normal" long before the other is ready to do so: 

"I know that my partner doesn't like to talk about her sadness. Her way of dealing with it is to just move on and hope for the best, to hide her sadness. My way is the exact opposite. I want to talk about it and to find a solution to help it work out OK in the end. This has caused a great deal of strain in our relationship." 

Some dads try to avoid talking about their own feelings in order to protect their partners: 

"I didn't want to show my grief in front of my wife for fear of making it worse for her. I finally realised that holding it in only made it worse for me and was making it worse for her too, because I was so silent and distant. It helps me to tell her what I am feeling and she feels more able to talk too." 

Bereaved couples may also experience difficulties with their sexual relationship. For example, a man may find lovemaking a source of comfort and closeness, while a woman may not feel physically ready, may see sex as a frightening reminder of the loss, or may feel that his desire for sex is unfeeling. 

Many fathers are surprised by the length and strength of their grief

"It was very hard for her, but it was for me too. I have cried my eyes out several times. It has broken my heart. I have also gone back and forth from total anger to total devastation. Having our other children to hold has been a huge help." 

Although it can be difficult, the most important thing that couples can do is to talk to each other. This is easier if both partners are aware that:
  • their partner's needs and feelings will not always be the same as their own
  • each person has their own individual way of expressing and dealing with their feelings
  • these differences do not indicate that one partner feels the loss more intensely than the other.

"Men generally want to mend things - but a broken heart because of losing a child is a difficult thing to mend. It takes time and patience and hopefully it will pull us together as a couple." 

Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, runs a telephone helpline for bereaved parents, staffed by men and women who have experienced the loss of a child. 

There are also some books that grieving dads may find helpful:
  • When a Baby Dies: the experience of late miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death by Alix Henley and Nancy Kohner (Routledge 2001).
  • Living with Leo by Mario Di Clemente and Fathers Feel Too by Andrew Don, available from Sands; also the Mainly for Fathers leaflet from Sands.


http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a1014770/dads-coping-with-loss#ixzz38LnzcOeS

by on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:04 PM
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Replies (1-10):
nmartin15
by Bronze Member on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:55 PM

good read. crazy how men and women grieve so differently. for some men, a child isn't real until they hold him/her and for us it's as soon as we see that positive. didnt know about the telephone helpline, wouldve been nice to know that when my losses happened. thanks for the share

Amber1225
by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 2:30 AM

Mobile Photo

My fiancé did not take our two losses very well. With our first unfortunately he was unable to be with me at the hospital but I was told by his family he was hysterically crying and with the second he was there the entire time crying, and for the next two days he cried as well. I found it quite hard getting him to talk to me about it after I got home from the hospital. He would listen and be there for me but never mentioned his feelings. And after a few weeks he seemed to totally forget about it, until one night I couldn't hold it together and he broke down too telling me he lost two babies too and didn't know how to handle it, and brought it to my attention how inconsiderate I was being sayin I lost two babies instead of we. :(
blessedmommie07
by Desiree-admin on Jul. 24, 2014 at 6:11 AM

 So true.  And sometimes we women forget that not only to men grieve differently then us but they also bond differently with baby during pregnancy and that affects their grief as well.

Quoting nmartin15:

good read. crazy how men and women grieve so differently. for some men, a child isn't real until they hold him/her and for us it's as soon as we see that positive. didnt know about the telephone helpline, wouldve been nice to know that when my losses happened. thanks for the share

 

blessedmommie07
by Desiree-admin on Jul. 24, 2014 at 6:15 AM

 Really like the poem because that is very similar to how it is in real life. And many people do also forget that men grieve too.

Quoting Amber1225:

Mobile Photo

My fiancé did not take our two losses very well. With our first unfortunately he was unable to be with me at the hospital but I was told by his family he was hysterically crying and with the second he was there the entire time crying, and for the next two days he cried as well. I found it quite hard getting him to talk to me about it after I got home from the hospital. He would listen and be there for me but never mentioned his feelings. And after a few weeks he seemed to totally forget about it, until one night I couldn't hold it together and he broke down too telling me he lost two babies too and didn't know how to handle it, and brought it to my attention how inconsiderate I was being sayin I lost two babies instead of we. :(

 

Angela4boys
by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 8:03 AM
I love these. I know my husband really struggled. My husband has always let his guard down with me...but I know men are so hard to read.
blessedmommie07
by Desiree-admin on Jul. 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM
I yelled at my husband then he opened up. So it was a good idea right? :)

Quoting Angela4boys: I love these. I know my husband really struggled. My husband has always let his guard down with me...but I know men are so hard to read.
Angela4boys
by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM
1 mom liked this
Oh yea, totally.

Quoting blessedmommie07: I yelled at my husband then he opened up. So it was a good idea right? :)

Quoting Angela4boys: I love these. I know my husband really struggled. My husband has always let his guard down with me...but I know men are so hard to read.
samsam0404
by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 11:41 PM

My husband and I got into a huge fight, and then even after that he still wouldn't open up completely. I still don't know how he feels to the full extent. 

, Quoting blessedmommie07: I yelled at my husband then he opened up. So it was a good idea right? :)
Quoting Angela4boys: I love these. I know my husband really struggled. My husband has always let his guard down with me...but I know men are so hard to read.


blessedmommie07
by Desiree-admin on Jul. 25, 2014 at 12:27 AM

I'm sorry. It can be hard for men to open up. Some see it as a weakness. 

Quoting samsam0404:

My husband and I got into a huge fight, and then even after that he still wouldn't open up completely. I still don't know how he feels to the full extent. 

, Quoting blessedmommie07: I yelled at my husband then he opened up. So it was a good idea right? :)
Quoting Angela4boys: I love these. I know my husband really struggled. My husband has always let his guard down with me...but I know men are so hard to read.



samsam0404
by on Jul. 25, 2014 at 5:27 AM
My husband and I just got into a fight because he said that my thinking and feelings were stupid. I can't help that right now I'm not exactly thinking logically. And I can't help that that's how I feel. I don't know what he expects from me. I just started holding it in and not crying in front of him because I feel that he doesn't care.
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