So you’re ready to ‘jump back on the wagon’ after experiencing a miscarriage or infant death. You’ve talked about it, seen the doctor, cried, laughed, planned (or not planned) and you think you might be ready to fall pregnant again.
It’s natural for guys to want to support their partner during pregnancy. A subsequent pregnancy after miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn is fraught with anxiety. How can you support your partner (and yourself) during a subsequent pregnancy? Check out these ideas
1. Keep your batteries recharged
It might sound strange; ‘you’ are often the last person you think about after you’ve experienced a miscarriage or death of your baby. You’re busy looking after your partner, your children, going back to work and ‘doing life’ that you can forget about yourself. Subsequent pregnancies can be really, really scary. Really scary, and you may think and feel things that hit you for a six. Looking after yourself is possibly one of the most important things you can do to support your partner during a subsequent pregnancy. Sounds strange, doesn’t it! Think about it though – if you are burned out, spent and come apart, your ability to support your partner and family will be greatly diminished. Finding healthy things – even small things – to recharge your batteries will pay huge dividends now and in the future. Keep up the exercise, take time to read, watch the football – anything that will help keep you balanced.
2. Celebrate every milestone
Often, miscarriage or infant death will be sudden. There won’t be any warning, and then you’re faced with coming home from the hospital without your baby. Every subsequent pregnancy after that will be difficult and emotional. A great strategy to support your partner is to celebrate each milestone. Pregnancy is a nine-month marathon (and for many couples, much longer if falling pregnant takes longer). It’s not selfish to celebrate milestones of the pregnancy!
3. Be honest
After miscarriage and infant death, it can feel like your whole world changes. It has changed, and you don’t need reminding that everything is different. Your family plans have changed, and you will need to find a new normal. Here’s the thing though – your plans have changed, but you’re still on the same team as your partner. A strong team supports each other and is honest with each other. Have you seen sporting captains be honest with their team? They can be very honest! Find positive ways to be honest with your partner on what you are thinking and feeling about your subsequent pregnancy. She’s half of your team; she needs to know what you’re thinking, feeling and experiencing. Support her with your honesty. The team works best when ideas are shared, thoughts are talked about and everyone is listened to.
4. It’s ok to freak out
Yes, you heard correctly. It’s totally ok to freak out. To wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat, wondering if ‘it’ will happen again. It’s ok to be worried, scared, and freaked out. No amount of people saying ‘this one is different’ will help. It just won’t. Put this into perspective. You and your partner have experienced a miscarriage or infant death. Maybe it’s not the first time, either. You’ve had at least one experience of your hopes and dreams dashed. It’s normal for you to be very, very anxious. It will be normal for your partner to be anxious, scared and worried too. Add that to the usual rollercoaster of pregnancy hormones and you’ve got an automatic freak-out generator. Be kind to each other, and gracious in those freak out times. You can’t predict the future, but you can be kind, compassionate and understanding to each other.
Have you gone through a subsequent pregnancy after a miscarriage or infant death? What did you do well? What do you think you could have done better in supporting your partner? Share your ideas in the comments, below.
If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637
Peter Vidins is a Sands Parent Supporter. Outside of his involvement with Sands, he works 9 - 5 in the city. In my spare time he does a stack of freelance writing, tries to spend as much time with his family and enjoys spending time in the garden. He is Dad to Daniel, my first born who passed away, and Zoe (7) and Eli (5).
Click here to see Peter talk to Emma Alberici and Paul Kennedy about Sands and the Men's Helpline on ABC Breakfast TV.