HEALING TOOLKITS FOR MEN
- Do your friends ask how your partner is doing after pregnancy loss, infertility, or reproductive loss, but don’t ask about you?
- Do you feel marginalized, as if everyone thinks only she is impacted?
- Do you feel like it’s your job to be strong for her, with no emotions of your own?
Culturally, men are expected to be strong, silent and emotionally invisible after reproductive loss. It is almost assumed that they have no emotions of their own.
We understand how marginalized men can feel after a pregnancy and reproductive loss. Just finding information for men can be difficult! And when you do find resources for men, they’re often focused on helping your partner.
What about you?
In the U.S. alone, 2.4 million fetal and neonatal deaths occur in the perinatal period – 4 times more than the annual number of deaths from cancer! The emotional pain can be acute and prolonged.
Unfortunately, grief after perinatal loss is downplayed, even ignored, in our culture – even for women and especially for men. Yet 60% of bereaved parents experience depression, anxiety and PTSD.
Men’s reactions to this kind of loss are as unique as fingerprints. If you do experience grief or other emotions, what do you do? You know what to do when a grandparent dies, but what do you do when you lose a child through pregnancy or reproductive loss? This lack of a cultural process causes “disenfranchised grief,” or grief that isn’t publicly recognized. This makes you less likely to express your thoughts and feelings, although this is a critical part of the grieving process. In fact, studies show that men don’t even begin to express their feelings until an average of two years after the loss!
3 Things to Remember
To help you process your loss, remember these 3 things:
- You are not alone. See our quick video to better understand this.
- You have the right to grieve. Any emotions that you are experiencing are valid emotions.
- There are steps that you can take to help yourself.
6 Steps for You: Opening Up about Your Loss
If you are experience grief or sadness after reproductive loss, this toolkit can help you! Here are our recommended steps to finding your path to peace.
- Visit of our website MiscarriageHurts.com – even if your loss was not a miscarriage. The Building Support section offers structure for you to create safe and healthy communications with friends and family about your experience.
- Recognize that you are not alone. On the Stories section of this same site, you will see many anonymous stories, written by people who have experienced miscarriage, including many written by men. (Note: some of these stories are raw and powerful and may be difficult to read.) Posting your own anonymous story could help you too.
- Express Your Loss. If you are more comfortable expressing your emotions online, use this logo and our hashtag #ForgetMeNot to start an online conversation about your loss. See more below on The “Forget Me Not Flower.”
- Wear and Share. The Shop on our site features memorial items and sympathy cards from the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care’s “Forget Me Not Flower” Signature Collection. This Collection honors those impacted by pregnancy and reproductive loss with the “Forget Me Not Flower.” The “Forget Me Not” flower assures those impacted that we are remembering them, and remembering their children with them. This includes sympathy cards, memorial jewelry and comfort gift boxes. All proceeds help those impacted.
You can also print out this free logo, and place it on a notebook, clipboard, work I.D., or other location, to get the conversation about your loss, and others’ losses.
- Check out these resources. Below are a list of articles and resources below, just for you. The more you explore, the more you’ll realize that your feelings are natural and normal, and that you are not alone.
- Support Groups and therapy. Yes, you can go to support groups and seek therapy if you need it! If you can’t find a support group in your area, perhaps create your own? You’ll be surprised at how many other men are processing their own reproductive loss experiences.
Articles: Men and Miscarriage
Quotes that may resonate with you from these articles:
- “I wasn’t sure I even had a right to feel devastated.”
- “I became a stoic, unperturbable oak tree for her.”
- “Hey, I’m not the one who lost the baby, so what right do I have to be taking up her emotional bandwidth with my issues?”
- One father shares his personal journey of miscarriage and stillbirth for Baby Loss Awareness Week, Hello Magazine
- Men are the Forgotten Grievers in Miscarriage, Time Magazine
- Men also grieve miscarriages. We have no idea what to do about it., Washington Post
- How Miscarriage Affects Men – One Husband’s Story, Parents.com
- Men need space to talk about miscarriage too, Huffington Post
- Man in A Panic: Miscarriage from a Man’s Point Of View, Men’s Health Forum
- Why do we Forget Men when We Talk about Miscarriage?, Unherd
- “Men and Miscarriage: The Forgotten Half” is a one-hour, online event that discusses a research study on how men feel and process miscarriage.
- “The Trauma of Perinatal Loss” is another one-hour, online event that examines the emotional impact of perinatal loss – an experience that can be prolonged and intense.
- The Miscarriage Association (UK) offers a toolkit for partners who experience miscarriage, including a booklet on men and miscarriage.
- Health Direct (Australia) also offers a toolkit for Fathers and Miscarriage.
- Men often use metaphors to cope with their partner’s miscarriage, a research study.
- From Man To Man After Miscarriage: Honest Talk about Marriage and Loss, part of the Men and Miscarriage Series by Adriel Booker.
- “The person who is most often forgotten in a family bereaved by a miscarriage is the father.” Explore your feelings and read up on facts about men and miscarriage from the Men’s Health Forum (Ireland).