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