It’s your tragedy too: men and miscarriage part 1

Jason Ramsey | October 27th 2016

The 5 most painful words I have ever heard?

"There's no heartbeat, I'm sorry"

In that moment, I have never felt so weak and useless in my role as a husband. My wife had just been through the most emotionally devastating moment of her life and instead of being the "strong, silent type" I was a silent and crumpled heap on the floor. I had fainted—and stolen away the attention that should have been on her. I still remember the feeling of guilt, failure and disgust. I had failed in the most important moment of my marriage because I wasn't the supportive rock I needed to be. After all, I thought, miscarriage is her tragedy, right?

Wrong. Miscarriage is a husband’s tragedy too. There have been many times I have failed as a husband, but feeling the pain and loss of a miscarriage is not one of those situations.

In the weeks and months that followed, God taught me to shift my focus slightly. I couldn’t keep saying "this is her tragedy," while not dealing with the pain and hurt I was battling with on a daily basis. Instead, God taught me to say, "this is our tragedy."

The best advice I was given

After we had our miscarriage (notice the change in terminology) my wife had physical and emotional wounds to heal from. I was desperately trying to be supportive, kind, helpful and loving, but I was drowning in my own grief. I remember breaking down in tears on the phone to a friend of ours after my wife came out of surgery and getting so frustrated with myself that I wasn’t able to hold it together and support my wife through this.

It was on that phone call that the battle with my mindset began. The friend I was speaking to was a woman, and a very close friend of my wife. She was listening to me, comforting me and trying to make my job of sharing the news a little bit easier. I must have been rambling about what I was trying to do to help my wife when she cut through my babbling with a very insightful phrase.

“Don’t forget to look after yourself.”

My immediate response was a dismissive, “What about me? I don’t matter! She is the one going through all this. Why should I be thinking about me?”

But I needed to address my heart in order to function going forward—if I really wanted to be a supportive and loving husband, I couldn’t do that by burying my feelings. We needed to walk this path as a couple.

For couples going through a miscarriage—and for friends trying to support them—one of the first and most important lessons we can learn is to accept that this is an emotionally difficult loss for both the husband and the wife. No matter what our culture says, the baby who died inside my wife’s womb at 11 weeks and 4 days old was not a collection of cells or a pile of tissue. He/She was our baby, who we had begun to love, and we were right to mourn the loss.

Thankfully the God we stand before is a God of all comfort.

Accepting the reality of pain doesn’t make it go away. Nor does it address the practical issues and theological questions we all have. (I’ll be addressing some of those in a series of posts over the next few weeks.) But to start with, it’s enough to recognise our unity in the pain and grief, as husband and wife before God. This is our tragedy. And thankfully the God we stand before is a God of all comfort:

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2 Corinthians 1 v 3-4)

Men and miscarriage

The reason I have decided to write this series of blogs (now a year removed from the event) is to fill a need that I saw for materials dealing specifically with men and miscarriage. While there are exceptions, women tend to be much better at writing about raw feelings, while men often try to shut things down and hide from the reality of pain. We can feel the weight of cultural expectation to be “strong”, but instead we end up acting “cold.” Over the following posts I can promise you honesty and openness—and I hope that will encourage you to be honest and open too. Acknowledge that grief is hard.

I hope that these posts will be used by God to help those suffering through a miscarriage, or those who have friends suffering and simply don’t know what to say. Perhaps you don’t fall into either of those categories right now—but the sad reality is that one day, you probably will.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at:

  • Supporting your wife through miscarriage
  • The grieving process
  • God is good through the darkest of times

My wife and I pray that some of the practical advice or spiritual lessons we share will bring comfort and understanding to Christ’s people.

This is part one of a series of blogs on the topic of men and miscarriage:

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Jason Ramsey

Jason Ramsey lives in Lincoln, has been married to his wife Katherine Ramsey for 2 years and they have one daughter, Emily. Jason works within the customer service environment for his local water company and serves the Lord as a member of TCM Baptist Church.

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