How Miscarriage Affects a Marriage

Today, please welcome guest poster, Lindsey Bell, who shares her heart-wrenching story and wise advice from experience.

How miscarriage affects a marriage
Having a baby is supposed to be one of the most exciting events in the life of a couple.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way. Far too often (approximately one in three to four pregnancies) what began as an exciting new phase of life ends as a nightmare.

Here’s a little bit of my story.

My husband and I waited as our doctor began the ultrasound, anxious to see our little one’s heartbeat again. We were twelve weeks along and had already begun planning our baby’s nursery and thinking of names. Our oldest child was at home with Grandma, but he too was excited about having a new baby brother or sister.

Because we saw the heartbeat three weeks prior to this appointment, we thought we were in the clear. That the risk of miscarriage was gone.

But we were wrong.

As the smile faded from my doctor’s face, the silence was deafening. Then came the words no parents ever want to hear: “I’m sorry, but your baby’s heart is no longer beating.”

That was miscarriage #1.

In the next two years, we lost three more babies to miscarriage.

Four miscarriages in two years wreaked havoc on nearly every aspect of my life.

Before our first miscarriage, I assumed going through something like that would be painful, but I had no idea how much it would affect my marriage.

Baby loss can either bind you to your spouse or tear you away from him.

Here are a few things I learned through my miscarriages that helped our marriage remain intact:

1. It’s okay if his grief looks different than yours.

After our first loss, I expected my husband to cry. I was in tears all the time, after all, and it was his child too. When he didn’t cry (or didn’t cry enough), I was hurt. Scratch that. I was angry.

How could he not cry about the baby we just lost?

Didn’t he love our baby as much as I did?

Didn’t he care that we weren’t ever going to get to hold him or kiss him or hug him goodnight?

What I failed to realize at the time was that everyone grieves differently. Just because he didn’t cry as much didn’t mean he didn’t love the baby.

I also failed to realize my husband might not have been as attached to the child as I was. This child was growing inside of me. It was a part of me from the beginning. I loved it from Day 1.

Some men might feel this strong of an attachment from conception, but others won’t. For some, the attachment grows with the relationship. At birth, when he holds the baby, it grows a little bit more. And then again as he feeds him in those early months of life.

This doesn’t make him a bad father, and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love the child. It simply makes him a man.

2. Let him help you.

One of the hardest parts of our miscarriages was that my husband couldn’t fix it. He wanted to make it better for me with all of his being, but he couldn’t.

Plain and simple, it was out of his hands.

But that didn’t mean he couldn’t do anything to help.

One of the best things I did after our miscarriages was tell him exactly how he could help me. This made him feel like he was doing something at a time when we both felt helpless.

3. Give each other some grace.

Grief can make you angry. It can make you irritable. It can make you weepy. When two people are both in different parts of the grief cycle, it’s easy to understand why conflicts arise.

For the months (and possibly years) following a miscarriage, try your best to extend grace to your partner. You are both hurting, and fighting with one another will only make the pain greater.

4. Don’t give up on intimacy.

Miscarriages affect intimacy. For a woman, she might fear another miscarriage and therefore avoid sex altogether. Or she might want to get pregnant so badly that she urges her partner to have sex so much that it becomes a chore.

What used to be something that was fun and fulfilling can easily become scary and upsetting.

Give yourself some time, absolutely, but don’t give up on intimacy altogether. Allow this loss to bring you and your spouse together-not push you apart.

Let’s talk: What other things help a marriage stay intact after loss?

Lindsey writes often about miscarriage on her blog. You can read her miscarriage posts here: http://www.lindsey-bell.com/search/label/Miscarriage.

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Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity, a parenting devotional that will be released in January 2014. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, avid reader, adoption advocate, miscarriage survivor, and chocolate lover. You can find Lindsey online at any of the following locations:

Her blog: www.lindsey-bell.com

Her website: www.lindseymbell.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LindseyMBell

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorLindseyBell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/LindseyMBell01

Comments

  1. Miscarriage is hard on a marriage, there’s no doubt about that. We are currently going through our 3rd miscarriage and have been dealing with this grief and pain for the past 3 years. We have had many ups and downs, especially with some health challenges thrown in there.

    I like all the advice in this post and it is stuff I have to remember on a daily basis. We are both grieving and I need to be understanding and extend grace. I would also like to add that making time for dates and spending one-on-one time is important. Oh, and getting away. I find it very helpful to get away from the house and go on a mini-vacation just the two of us after a loss. After each loss, we have made time to kind of escape reality and just be alone together. It’s been good.
    jenn0021 recently posted…Happy WednesdayMy Profile

    • Jenn, I’m so sorry about your losses. That’s so hard. I pray that God will really carry you through this time of grief.

    • Your advice about getting away is spot-on. A few years ago the college pastor at our church and his wife suffered a late-term pregnancy loss. A couple of weeks later at the weekly college-age service, one of the other staff leaders who was speaking that night said “So many of you have been asking how you can help them. What we would like to do is, if everyone gives just a little bit, we would like to send them away together to have time to grieve and heal and just get away.” It hadn’t ever occurred to me how helpful that could be to the grieving process.

      I am so sorry for your losses. Lifting you up in prayer today. (((hug)))
      Melissa recently posted…Inside My BrainMy Profile

    • Wonderful point, Jenn. After our second miscarriage, my husband and I booked a cruise (b/c of a spur-of-the-moment decision), and it was SO helpful for us. It didn’t fix our pain, of course, but it did help bond us together. Great point. And I too am so sorry for your losses. My heart breaks every time I hear of another miscarriage…
      Lindsey Bell recently posted…4 Easy Thanksgiving TraditionsMy Profile

  2. It took 6 months after our miscarriage before I realized my husband had suffered a loss too. He was trying to be strong for me, but everyone would ask him how I was and completely disregarded the pain he might be feeling as well. Since then, it has taught us to be more compassionate to the father as well.

  3. Thank you for this article. My husband and I suffered a miscarriage in June of this year and it took me a while to understand that he grieved differently than me. I was hurt, angry, and irritable for so long. I lost interest in things I loved and felt like I lost my identity entirely. But my husband seemed to be acting fine after just a few weeks and I just couldn’t understand when I was still falling apart day after day. When I asked him why he didn’t seem more upset, he told me that the only way he knew how to cope was to be strong for me. I realize now that was his grief.

    We got pregnant again following the loss and as I enter my second trimester, part of me still feels so conflicted. We’ve talked and worried endlessly about this pregnancy but we’ve stopped talking about our first loss and I worry about the flood of emotions that might appear any time or even worse, when I go to deliver this baby.

  4. Thanks so much for having me on your blog again, Sheila! It’s always a pleasure:)
    Lindsey Bell recently posted…4 Easy Thanksgiving TraditionsMy Profile

  5. Hi!
    Lindsey, everything I read above sound so much like what I went through with my miscarriages. A lot of what you wrote above I also wrote in similar words in my own book. It’s nice to know we are not alone. I’ve been married to my husband for 19 years now and love him more today then the day we were married. Thank you very much for sharing.

    Kathleen

  6. Thank you for this post! I just miscarried a baby in September and this pin-pointed exactly how I was feeling toward my husbands reaction. I found this on Pinterest and it helped put it all in perspective. Thanks again!

  7. Denise Porter says:

    It was November 2007 that I miscarried — the drs. called it a “blighted ovum” — regardless of the medical terms, I still struggle with it. Another lady in our church was due about the same time and little Chloe is now in Kindergarten. I look at her and wonder what our baby might have been like. I guess I’ll never know until we get to heaven. Definitely my experience that hubby didn’t want to talk about it — even though he hadn’t had any children and I had two from a previous relationship. I’ll never understand why “these things happen” — and I found many people underplayed the significance of the miscarriage by saying silly things like “lots of women have them” — as if that made the loss any less or made it okay. And since it was early on — 8 weeks or so, we hadn’t told many people so then it is your horrible, “silent secret” — and no one can try to comfort or ease the pain because they don’t have a clue what you’re even going through.

    • Hi Denise. Thanks for sharing your story. Yes, I definitely can relate to people saying things that they mean to be helpful but actually make it worse. We had many people tell us that “at least we had one child.” I know now that everyone just wants to help…unfortunately, they don’t always know how to help. I also had a friend who was due the same time as one of mine. That does make it extra hard. Hugs to you.
      Lindsey Bell recently posted…How Miscarriage Affects a MarriageMy Profile

  8. Besides dealing with the loss, one of the things that bothered me most about our miscarriage was the doctors kept referring to it as a “spontaneous abortion” When I think of the word abortion, I think of someone choosing to end the pregnancy. I did not choose to end it. It would have caused less pain if they referred to our loss as a miscarriage.

  9. Thank you so much for posting this. I know it’s not new on here but I’m newly going through it.
    My husband and I are very much dealing in different ways but we’re allowing it to pull us closer and make us stronger as a couple. Thank you I just really needed to read this right now.
    Our baby was born into Jesus’ arms on March 13th 2014.
    Jessica @ThankfulForThorns recently posted…Spring is comingMy Profile

    • I’m so sorry that you’re walking through this grief! I really do know how tough it is. Sometimes life just hurts, but at least you have him so you hurt together.

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