People consider the mother who has lost their unborn child and are usually very kind, helpful and supportive; but what about the father of the lost-child?
Is the father often overlooked? Is he even considered; is he suffering in any way like the mother is? These are hard questions and very nearly unfathomable as a father has a complete, different experience to the mother, but in some strange way, a similar one too.
When my wife and I had our appointment with the midwife, she could not find our babies heartbeat and we thought, ‘perhaps it’s too early to pick it up yet?’ Our next appointment was in two weeks and so we went along again and still . . . not heartbeat.
This time the midwife decided we should have a scan done to find out what’s going on. I believe she already knew at that time that our baby was lost; we still didn’t really consider it.
In a few hours we were ushered into the scan clinic and then gently guided into the room where it would take place.
As the Dr. Did her search for our little one, I noticed an odd thing, which alerted me to the possibility of the news we were about to receive. What I saw was ‘different’ in the way that you would not have expected unless you’d experienced this before. Our little boy, or girl was lying on its back as if resting in perfect peace; however, its legs were ‘flat’ — not curled up in the foetal position . . . and this was my alert. Once I saw its little legs prostrate like that I knew, even before my wife did and the Dr. had confirmed it.
So there I was in a funny place of ‘I’m just imagining it . . . the Dr. will tell us she has found the heartbeat.’ Yet, still uncomfortable with . . . ‘it’s really true! Our little one is never going to grow up!’
It’s a surreal place to be and can create jarring responses; and according to our dates, our little person had been dead for at least 3 weeks already! Who could know? We walked out of the clinic, still not fully realising our loss.
We needed advice as we knew that my wife would need to ‘give this baby up,’ sooner or later — either naturally, or with medical help; so it was back to the midwife to guide us through this grievance and unsettling process.
Now I don’t want to go into the actual process we chose to ‘give up our baby,’ that’s a whole different story; I want to reflect on how we, as a couple were feeling about it, and what we needed to do to cope.
My wife was very teary, as can be expected — but me . . . I had not been on the same journey as her; I had not carried this bundle for — however many weeks she had and my hormones are far less ‘potent’ than my wife’s. I didn’t feel as upset over this as my wife was, and she actually became angry with me because of it. So am I uncaring or indifferent? No! My journey was different. Yes, I was upset and unhappy; yes, I was shocked and needing to come to grips with it all, but I also needed to remain strong for my wife . . . if I’d broken down into a bawling mess, how would that help anyone?
Some very good friends of ours who had been through this loss themselves, were pure saints in our eyes for the help they offered us, we needed people such as these to care for us at this time. Anyone who goes through this needs to surround themselves with people who really understand and can offer a shoulder, or perhaps a meal . . . anything to show love and good sense.
They shouted us an evening out as a couple, on our own so we could talk and it was definitely a big help towards any healing. Still, my wife could not understand why I didn’t cry, or react with any intensity and still she was angry with me — for a little while. This was another thing we had to work through . . . she took a while to realise I was not a bad and uncaring person; I was simply not as affected . . . sorry to say. My way of processing this was more rational¸ even boring; and I did tend to let it go much easier. Other people who had the same view as my wife were upset with me too and practically expected me to fall apart; that was another thing I had to work through.
People may have good intentions about something sensitive, but can still miss the real issue! I was not a bad person; I was hurting . . . but I dealt with it another way, and in another place — between me and eternity, and where my little person resides now! He, or she is not with us here on earth, with our fleshly family — but in its heavenly family and with our creator! Understand this, our flesh is just that, a vessel for us to dwell within and to operate about this physical realm, but there is a whole lot more to our existence beyond the grave.
Oh I so wish people could know what is merely 5 minutes beyond our fleshly barricades’ . . . when our body gives up and separates from our spirit; it would literally change the way people think and behave and treat others in this world. Our whole world view would change exponentially!
One day we will truly get to meet with our little one; when our flesh gives up, and our spirit goes on — released from all physical restraints, and just for the record . . . part of our healing involved naming our baby, because if we didn’t give it a name, then it will have to wait for us to re–unite! He, or she would remain nameless until mum and dad spoke it to them. So, because we didn’t know if we had a boy or a girl, we gave it a non-gender name . . . Jamie. Little Jaime will not be so little when we meet up again. He/she will grow and wait, until we connect again . . . and I am excited!
For those who have survived the first nine months of existence and can see their mother and (or) father face to face, well done! You have begun a journey that has many rewards, tears and joys and we could all use some help along the way.
Here you can find some very good advice regardless of whether you are a newbie at parenting, or a seasoned professional . . . my wife and I have a joke sometimes, because my wife hates being called a housewife, or Stay at Home Mum . . . even home executive doesn’t cut it! So we call her a professional body builder because that is exactly what she is doing with all of our other kids in our family. Professionally building their little (and not so little) bodies.
Ian is interested in many things; he’s an Author, Voice Actor, Podcaster and Family Man. He holds a Diploma in NZ Drama, and is currently working towards another Diploma… in Proofreading. If you wish to connect, or find out more then check out his site: http://www.dotandtittle.com He is also a firm believer in becoming a ‘lifelong learner.’
We shape our future with our words… so make every word count!