Experiencing a pregnancy loss or miscarriage can be incredibly difficult to navigate and you may not know the best way to support your partner during this time. It’s important to understand that there is no right or wrong way to feel after a pregnancy loss and that everyone processes grief differently.
Some common things your partner might experience after a miscarriage or pregnancy loss include:
- Physical symptoms—vaginal bleeding and/or clots, abdominal pain or cramping, and pregnancy symptoms such as sore breasts or nausea
- Guilt or failure
- Anxiety or fear of another loss
- Loss of control
4 ways to help your partner through a pregnancy loss
So, what does your partner need in order to feel supported? Here are some things you can do.
Ask them what they need
You might be worried about saying or doing the wrong thing. You can avoid a guessing game of how to best help your partner by simply asking, “What do you need right now?” Their answer might be different every time, and sometimes they may not even know themselves. But this can help you both get on the same page and avoid hurt feelings caused by miscommunication. If they need a hug, be there. If they need to be alone with their favorite snack and romantic comedy, make a grocery store run.
Don’t try to fix it
It’s hard to see someone you care about in pain, and the tendency of many partners is to try to help the problem go away. You might have good intentions but unfortunately, experiencing a loss isn’t an easy fix. Refrain from saying things such as “There must have been something wrong with the pregnancy,” or “It will all be okay.” Just listen and be available for them.
Let them grieve how they need to
Some people turn to exercise, or a therapist, or even a rage room where they can throw things against a wall in a safe environment to relieve anger. Whatever your partner decides, support them through it. You might feel distraction would help them the most, but maybe they need you to be there while they cry and talk about the baby. Your partner may even request to be alone for a while, and it’s important to give them that space. They might want to name the baby or have a memorial. Help them plant that tree, comment on the jewelry that represents the loss, and use your baby’s name.
Don’t forget about your own grief
With so much focus on the one who physically had the loss, it’s easy for a partner to feel like they should put aside their own feelings in order to be there for their partner. It’s important that you don’t forget about taking care of yourself.
- Acknowledge your own loss
- Communicate with your partner about how you’re feeling
- Talk to a friend, or consider seeing a counselor with or without your partner
There’s no one right way to support your partner, as every couple is different, with individual needs. You care for your partner and you’re doing your best in a situation you both probably didn’t think you’d find yourselves in. If you’re considering seeing a counselor to help you navigate your pregnancy loss, reach out to one of CCRM Fertility’s counselors for additional support.