Coping as a Couple

The impact of losing a pregnancy or infant on a couple cannot be underestimated. The loss may have a different effect on the woman and the man, but it is a very powerful event to experience as a couple.

Initially you will most likely find that you are both experiencing similar feelings of
sadness, anger, disbelief and fear. It may actually feel very comforting to know that you are “on the same page” – and despite the sadness, you bring each other comfort by knowing that you are each feeling the same thing. These feelings may be a very bonding experience for you – and it also may be surprising for you to feel such intensity towards each other. Your goal was the same – to bring a baby into the world together – so the loss is felt very strongly by you as a couple, besides individually.

Over the course of the weeks following the loss, the feelings you each have may not change, but the ways in which you handle them may shift – and those changes may lead to what you may interpret as a “disconnect” as a couple.

Although it is important not to generalize, what often is the case is that women tend to remain with their emotions longer than men, and they tend to emote more readily. Women may spend time crying every day as a way of coping with the loss. They may have a difficult time being alone and become anxious at the idea that their partner may be ready to return to work. Women may not find that they have any energy or interest in going out of the house and being around people. It is imperative not to overlook the fact that in addition to the emotions, part of the woman’s experience is physical. and that too requires time to heal. Your doctor may tell you that physically, after 6 weeks, you are ready to resume “normal” activities; you may not feel ready to return to work, to exercise, or to be in social situations. This is completely normal.

Men, on the other hand, after an initial emotional reaction, may over time, begin to handle the loss in a different way. Men may feel like they need to put their feelings aside and “be there” or “be strong” for their partners. Even though they too may feel sad, they may resume their routines sooner and by doing that, their feelings which were initially front and center, may take a “backseat” to their day-to-day commitments.

So, this is where a couple may feel that they are on the path to “disconnect” – women may need to be at home and not socialize; men may be out and about due to work and household pressures, and as a couple you may feel that you are drifting apart. What you thought was such a bonding experience, may now lead you to question whether you are “losing your partner” since you are each on different pages.

Important things to keep in mind:

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! Many couples feel the same thing – or have felt the same way – and almost always couples manage to survive. This may feel like a whole new crisis in the relationship and you may feel shocked to be confronted by this development.

What can you do?

The key to overcoming this crisis as a couple and to managing this stage is COMMUNICATION!

Letting each other know where each other is at is the only way to get through this. And the most important part of the communication is realizing that you do not have to be in the same place to allow communication to take place. But by giving each other permission to be wherever each partner is will enable you both to navigate this difficult path.