What Your Partner May Need

This was written by a wife talking of her own experiences, who has unfortunately suffered the loss of a child.

I am speaking only from my own personal experience of loss. My first pregnancy was an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in the removal of my right fallopian tube. My 2nd and 3rd pregnancies are my living children. My third child was my son Saul who tragically and unexpectedly died at 16 months old and my 4th child was our son Beau ended in TFMR (termination for medical reasons) at 20 weeks. So it is fair to say I have a varied experience of loss. So use this as a guide to potential feelings and pointers, but remember your partner is an individual and you know them better than anyone else so will know what works for them.

It is important to remember that what you and your partner are experiencing may feel totally different from you both as individuals. You are grieving too and it’s important to share your feelings. Don’t feel like you need to be strong or don’t want to burden your partner with your emotions. How you want to cope or what you want to do on a daily basis might be different from your partner.

Right now your partner needs to be allowed to do whatever he/she feels is right. If that means staying in bed all day, looking at photos or watching videos, trust your partner to do what is right for them at that moment. For me, each loss has had a different reaction. Sometimes I have felt like I want to get up and get on with life and others have seen me wanting to sleep, not eat and scream and cry all day.

If you have lost a baby in pregnancy, it can be important to understand that you may have bonded with the baby very differently. For a woman, and I am speaking only from my own personal experience, as soon as you see the 2 lines on the pregnancy test you are having a baby! Not a ball of cells or an embryo. I know myself, I imagined what the baby would look like, what it’s personality will be, potential names, nursery ideas and that is all before the first scan. It is an intense time and as a woman, you are going through lots of physical changes as well as the huge emotional changes that becoming a mother entails. Losing a baby in pregnancy is just that, you have lost a baby, and not just a baby, you have lost a lifetime of birthdays, first days at school, and all the exciting things that come with planning for a baby. There is nothing more soul-destroying than walking out of a hospital with a memory box when you should be leaving with a baby. It is also important to remember dates, such as due dates etc. These can be times that your partner may find particularly difficult or triggering.

I know when I lost my 3rd child at 16 months old, my whole world had been shattered and destroyed. I had lost my purpose and my whole entire future had changed in an instant. I found and still find it difficult to talk about how I feel, my anxieties and worries. I personally need space to talk in my own time when I feel ready and to who I want to talk to and that may be a family member or friend. This doesn’t mean I love my husband any less.. its who I feel I want to share those emotions with at that particular time.

My main piece of advice is just be there. If she wants to light a candle (which you think is stupid) just light the candle….. it’s important to her. Be there if she wants to talk or even if she just wants to be held in silence. Let her guide you.

If you feel the grief is too much and perhaps your partner needs more support than you can provide, there are people who can help and listen. Please look in our help and support section.

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