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Grieving the Unborn Child

Grieving the Unborn Child

Is a man’s emotional struggle regarding infertility different from a woman’s? As a man, the grief over a miscarriage or infertility may be very different but is still very real.

I see the world pass me by as I drive to work, young children, ever so occupied in their own big wide world of fun and games. My eye catches the attention of a little girl child who looks like she is about 2 or 3 years old; instantly my mind is drawn to a distant compartment of my mind where the loss of an unborn child three years ago is secretly tucked away. For some reason, I have rationalized that the unborn child was a girl and that I could have been a proud father of a cute little girl in a polka dotted dress with pig tails running around me and my wife.

I look around me and I see young dads on their motorbikes taking their uniformed kids to school; something that most men consider a burdensome task before getting to a busy day at work. I wonder, will God ever give me such a blessing?

It is only recently that I realized I hadn’t grieved the death of my unborn child. I recognized that there are unresolved emotions with no appropriate outlet for expression. There was no memorial service, no grave to grieve over or to even mark this child’s existence. I was so focused on comforting my wife and running to hospitals that I didn’t think it was a man’s place to grieve about this and perhaps being a man, my natural instinct was to deal with the problem later.

Our friends and family focused their attention on my wife and tried their best to give her words of solace and comfort. After all, she was carrying the baby in her body and had to deal with the horrible effects of the miscarriage that included an emergency surgery and a difficult recovery period. Soon after this, both of us became so caught up in her grief that we both unintentionally forgot that I was also to grieve. I rarely wanted to talk to my wife about it as I saw how distraught she was – I decided to just be there for her and worry about me later.

We had bigger problems to worry about now; we were not able to conceive naturally after this and this brought on a whole new trauma in our lives. My wife was devastated and so was I – but I thought I just needed to be there for her right now. Almost two years later, one night as my wife and I talked about the fertility treatments and decisions we needed to make, for some reason I opened up and was able to talk about what I was going through.

It was so amazing to hear that even she had had similar thoughts and emotions and kept a lot from me thinking I was over it. I felt a huge burden lifted off me. I began the grieving process. In hindsight, I should have opened up much sooner. My wife was able to move on and deal with it better because she talked about it openly, to me and to other women going through the same pain. I did not seek out other men who went through this.

I always thought it was not something guys do and it might seem strange to another man if I were to talk about it. But now I realize that others may be going through the same emotional turmoil and talking about it always helps.

Over the last two years, my wife and I have been going to various fertility treatment clinics in multiple cities. I do worry about the fact that we have been married for four years and still have no children. Even through all of this I would always ask people to pray for my wife but never asked them to pray for me. I felt I needed to be the strong protector. But I have learnt that this does not solve anything.

By me keeping my feelings bottled up I was not helping myself and neither was I able to help my wife. I just didn’t want to think about it and without realizing it this made me non- receptive to my wife talking about it as well. Our relationship is much stronger today because we are able to talk to each other openly and we are also able to help other couples going through the same experiences. While the journey is rather painful I’m assured that God has a plan and while I need to be a source of comfort and strength for my wife, I also need to deal with my own feelings.

There hasn’t been a day when we haven’t prayed out loud for God to grant us our hearts desires. I have been reassured as I write this article that God works together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. I know that God knows best, and all I can do is submit my heart’s desires to be a Dad into His hands. I am comforted that my grief can only be healed by Jesus and my hope can only be built on Him.