Facing Grief Together

By: Ann-Marie Ferry

In the days following Kuyper’s stillbirth I grieved visibly through tears and sobs. My husband, Jon, remained stoic, emotionally detached from the reality which we faced. We went on this way for several weeks following delivery. After a long day at work, he walked through our front door, outraged, talking about a situation at work. In our two years of marriage, I had never seen this side of my easy going, levelheaded husband. The situation was no doubt one that would make any person angry. However, I found myself confused. Was this display of emotions solely about the situation? Or was it the first glimpse into a grief other than my own?  

Living through loss is like living through a series of unpredictable tidal waves. Living through that same loss while trying to maintain a relationship is all that much more confusing.


If you started out reading this article by yourself…

Find your partner.

Now start from the beginning, together.

My intent is for this article to be read together.

I am not a grief or mental health professional. I am just a bereaved parent like yourself, a mom missing her baby. My hope is that these questions which come out of my own experiences and those of close friends, might help you find each other among the waves of grief that surround you, so that you can grab your partners hand and know you are not alone.


In all of life we have expectations. Grief is no different. We enter our grief with expectations of how we will grieve, about what grief will be like, about how long and intense grief will be, and about how the other will respond to our grief. What expectations did/do you have about grief?

  1. Do I expect my grief will last a certain amount of time?
  2. Do I expect my partners grief will last a certain amount of time?
  3. Do I expect myself to grieve in certain way?
  4. Do I expect my partner to grieve in a certain way?
  5. Do I expect us to grieve separately or together?
  6. Do I expect my partner to comfort me in certain ways?
  7. How can we keep talking through this as a couple?
  8. How can I support my partner as they wade through their feelings and pain?


Parental bereavement is riddled with guilt. In most cases of pregnancy loss, little could have been changed on the part of the parents to have caused a different outcome. Yet bereaved parents are listed as having higher levels of guilt compared with other bereaved individuals. I suspect this is because of our instinct to protect our young. When we are unable to protect our young from death, it goes against a core part of our being.

  1. Am I putting guilt on myself for my child’s loss?
  2. Am I putting guilt on my partner for our child’s loss?
  3. Are feelings of guilt diminishing my ability to attune to my partner?
  4. Is anger at my partner diminishing our ability to attune to each other?
  5. How can we keep talking through this as a couple?
  6. How can I support my partner as they wade through their feelings and pain?


After Kuyper’s death I found myself full of fear. Daily aspects of parenting and being a spouse changed in a flash. I found myself afraid of how our individual grief might affect our relationship. Likewise, he had similar fears.

  1. Am I afraid of the depth of my own grief?
  2. Am I afraid of the depth of my significant other’s emotions?
  3. Am I afraid of how this might change my partner and therefore our relationship?
  4. Am I afraid that I will never be the same again and therefore fear for our relationship?
  5. Are there other fears I need to talk through with my partner?
  6. How can we keep talking through this as a couple?
  7. How can I support my partner as they wade through their feelings and pain?


Some years after Kuyper’s death I picked up a book at a used book shop. Once home I found a note that had been jotted down by the previous owner. It read “Mary- Elizabeth: The child I never knew”. In pencil below I wrote “Kuyper: The child only I knew”. For my husband and I these two statements described our two different perspectives. He grieved everything that could have been. I grieved the “could have been” but I also grieved the child himself. I knew his personality. We communicated through taps, songs, rubs, and kicks. Part of the differences in our grief process steamed from this difference in perspective.

  1. What am I grieving?
  2. What is my partner grieving?
  3. Are there other areas where we are coming at the same situation from different perspectives?
  4. How can we keep talking through this as a couple?
  5. How can I support my partner as they wade through their feelings and pain?


We had a lot going against us in those beginning days. We were young, newly married, and coming off a hard year when we became pregnant with Kuyper. Our eldest child was only 13 months old when we delivered Kuyper still. I still marvel at all that we went through, at what so many go through. It was incredibly hard. What got us through during the early days of intense and focused grief and the later days of subtle and more complicated grief was resources. These are some resources we as a couple and close friends in similar situations found helpful.

  1. Share Meetings
  2. Online Share Group
  3. Marriage counseling
  4. Individual counseling
  5. Practices of faith
  6. Mindfulness
  7. Books on bereavement
  8. Articles on bereavement
  9. Friends who have been through similar losses
  10. What resources are available to you? Are you willing to give them a shot?

Reader, my heart aches as I think of your deep loss. I remember those early days, early years. I remember the fear. I remember feeling wholly overwhelmed as grief washed over every aspect of my life. You and your partner are fighting a battle neither of you chose to be in, a battle for survival and hope. My hope is that you will fight the battle together.  My prayer is that while you endure the tidal wave you find each other and find that you can face these days together.


About Ann-Marie Ferry

Ann-Marie is a nurse based in the Midwest. Her and her husband have been married for close to a decade. She has three spunky girls and one sweet little boy in heaven. After nine months of hyperemesis, hemorrhage, and pre-term labor, her first pregnancy resulted in a full-term baby girl. Kuyper, her second child, was stillborn during his second trimester in 2013. Her third pregnancy concluded six weeks early resulting in a NICU stay. Although, still complicated and high risk, she would describe her fourth and final pregnancy as a redeeming experience. 

Ann-Marie can be found blogging at ann-marieferry.com  and on Instagram @ann_marieferry.

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