It was a dark, cloudy morning. My father carried the little wooden box in his hands. My siblings and I followed him ominously. Once he found the perfect spot he proceeded to bury my stillborn brother.
My mom was four months pregnant when she had the miscarriage. Despite my young age, I noticed and appreciated how my dad helped her go through that painful period in her life. He was there, physically and emotionally, for her and for each of us. Who knew that years later, it would be me who would be crying over the death of my own stillborn baby.
If your wife has experienced a miscarriage there are several things you can do to help her, help yourself, and help the whole family recover emotionally.
Try to understand
This experience is different for everyone. Both you and your wife are aching at the loss of your baby. However, your wife was physically carrying your child, feeling each movement or heartbeat inside of her. Now, she may be feeling empty, like something is missing inside. Try to understand her pain and emptiness.
Cry if you feel like it
Feel the pain. Be in touch with your feelings and know that it is OK to suffer over the death of a stillborn child. Don’t repress these feelings. The sooner you recover, the sooner you can help your wife and your family recover.
Try to cope with her emotional instability
Her hormones are still a mess, which only adds to the physical and emotional pain. Just a moment ago she was going to be a mom, now she is burying her baby. If she was in the early stages of pregnancy, she doesn’t even have a body to bury. For some women, this can be even more painful. This an emotional time; try to help her cope with it all.
It will take her awhile to feel whole again. Help her get her life on track, but don’t push her. Every woman is different. For some, getting back to normal can be quick but for others it is a longer and more difficult process. Even though it has been two years, I still cry here and there and even feel empty sometimes.
Explain the situation
If you have other children, take the time to explain the situation. They will be wondering what happened, why they won’t have another sibling, and why mom is in so much pain. It may be too painful for your wife to talk about, but you can help by doing this for her. Explain that mom needs some time alone but still needs their love. Even if mom isn’t spending a lot of time with the family, she still loves us all. She is just hurting for their lost sibling.
Be in charge
Take care of every bill related to the miscarriage. Handle everything yourself or ask a relative for help. Your wife is in no condition to stress over bills, insurance, and other concerns.
Avoid using words like “fetus.” For a woman who has just lost her child, she has miscarried her baby, not a fetus.
Do what you need to in order to say goodbye. Writing a note and throwing it into a river, lighting a candle, or writing a message in a balloon and letting it go are all ways to say goodbye. These rituals can help you close this chapter of your life and move on.
….but give her space. She needs time to cry, wrap her head around what happened, and figure out what to do next. Reminders like, “I love you”, “I am here for you”, and “together we will overcome this” help her know you support her. Together, you really can overcome whatever life throws at you.
Having a miscarriage is one of the most painful events a woman can experience. There are no words to describe the hurt, the anger and disappointment. It is no one’s responsibility to judge a woman who has lost a child.
With my own miscarriage, this quote by Zoe Clark-Coates helped me a lot: “If you have held a child in your womb, you are a mother, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves that accolade, more than those who have had to give their child back”.
Ultimately, patience, love, and understanding are key to help her to recover and feel like herself again.