By: Marie Kriedman
My water broke unexpectedly on a Sunday morning, and I gave birth at home. My husband cradled our tiny daughter while I spoke with the on-call OB. She urged me to go to the ER for care. I left the hospital with an empty uterus, a body that still looked pregnant, and a cruel blow that our family of five would not be happening.
I also came home with a pin, remembrance stones, and pamphlets on men’s grief. It all felt surreal, but I was glad to see anything that acknowledged the man’s loss as well. Men are often overlooked when it comes to miscarriage grief. Most people naturally think of the woman’s pain – for she has more to bear because her recovery is both emotional and physical.
A father’s emotional pain cannot be ignored, and that was the beginning of how my husband, and I grieved together. We both knew the other person had feelings not yet spoken, each of us privately questioning our role in the loss (our daughter had a genetic abnormality).
But in the middle of our silent disbelief and shock, we sought each other. Also unspoken was our understanding that we would never survive our daughter’s loss alone. We needed each other. Together we shed countless tears, held hands, shared hugs, reassured our children, and constantly checked in with each other throughout the day. We gave kindness and grace while simultaneously finding our way through the worst days of grief.
We lost our daughter in 2020 when the world was still grappling with the unknowns of Covid. The pandemic stopped life as we knew it with a screeching halt. It was the slow pace of homebound life that helped my husband and I to stay connected and grieve together. I’m not sure that we would have remained so fiercely devoted to one another if the realities of working outside the home and running to kid activities had continued without pause. We needed a lot of time and space.
It was easier to grieve in private and take breaks when working from home. I could wallow in my feelings without putting on a brave face at the office. Our family changed significantly, and we needed significant time to process our loss.
We didn’t have to hold our grief to the evenings and weekends. We could cry as needed. Our loss was everywhere. It hurt to see the baby items all over the house, just as it hurt to put them away, unused. Every family is different, and I believe each family’s grief path is unique. Unfortunately, I have no magic words of wisdom that will ease the pain. I would encourage grieving parents to check on each other often, give random hugs, and be vulnerable and open. Communication is the best way to support your partner and it is also the best way to express your needs.
About Marie Kriedman
Marie started her journalism career as a copy editor and paginator for a newspaper. She eventually left the newspaper business and has continued as a freelance writer for more than 20 years. She founded Write Away K and is a children’s book author. She published two books to honor her daughter, Saying Goodbye to Olivia and Olivia Had Trisomy 18. Marie and her husband are graciously permitted to live in a house with their cats. They are also parents to two children and one angel baby. Please visit BooksbyMarie.com to learn more.