Inspired by blog posts like the one from Sharyn Casey. I wanted to give a guys point of view.
This is my experience.
It’s 2011. We’re not trying to have a baby, but we have stopped NOT trying to have a baby. One night my wife tells me that “she’s late.” She didn’t have to tell me, I already knew. Off to the supermarket to get some tests. But she doesn’t take the test straight away, she cooks dinner first. The waiting is so nerve wracking! We finally get around to the test but this time it’s a false alarm. We test twice, just to make sure, but nope. No baby. And just to confirm it, Aunt Urma shows up a couple days later. She must have missed her bus…
Its a few months later. Again, my wife tells me she’s late. Again, I already knew. I’m good at keeping track of the days. Off to the supermarket to get some tests. This time, I try to keep cool about it, just in case nothing happens. But this time there is no false alarm. This time we get the two lines we need on the stick. We’re going to be parents! We test twice, just to be sure. My mind starts to race, I can’t believe I’m going to be a dad. I want to tell people, but we’ve already been told how it’s best to wait until the 12 week mark. I think to myself “but three months is soo far away!” I start to plan a list in my head of all the things we’ll need to buy. At the top of that list is an All Blacks onesie.
It’s the 6 week mark. We decide to tell our parents. They’re thrilled! On my side it will be the first grandchild. On my wife’s side it will be the second. We decide to also tell our siblings, but that will be it. My brother is thrilled, he actually jumps up and tears around the house yelling “I’m going to be an uncle!” We’re so happy. I’m looking forward to when I can actually feel the baby kicking. When we’re out shopping one day, I find the All Blacks onesie I was looking for, it’s so cute!
It’s the 12 week mark. The time when it’s supposedly “safe” to tell people. We haven’t had our appointment for our 12 week scan yet, that’s next week. But keeping this a secret has been so hard, and we’ve made it to the 12 weeks so we decide it’s OK to tell people. I announce it by taking the onesie to work. “Look at this!” I say. They catch on immediately and congratulations come from all around.
It’s the next week. I’m sitting in a dark room, staring at a monitor. On the screen is the image of a baby. Not that I would be able to tell, it’s all just light and dark squiggles. The woman doing the scan is talking, but as it goes on, she gets more quiet. I ask if everything is ok, but she can’t say, she needs to go get someone else. In comes a more senior person who takes over. She explains that things aren’t looking good. They’ll need to do some more tests and some more scans. It’s later that week. The results are back. Only this time, we’re not sitting down with someone who does ultrasounds. We have specialists sitting in front of us. I’m prepared for bad news. I’m prepared to love my baby, no matter how she’s going to turn out…only that’s not the news we get. It’s not a bad case scenario, it’s worst case scenario. We’re going to lose it. My stomach drops. I’m totally devastated. I’m not one for crying in public, but I’m crying on the inside.
It’s a few months later. Our marriage is at the lowest point it’s ever been. We’re having a huge argument where all the feelings we’ve both kept bottled up come out. We were offered counseling, but I didn’t think we’d need it. I was pretty sure that I was able to handle and cope with our loss. I mean, it’s not like it was a full grown person right? Looking back, there were signs that I wasn’t. Every time I saw a pregnant lady, I hated her for being pregnant. Every time I saw a couple with a newborn, I felt resentment. It seemed that everywhere I looked, there was a pregnant person or someone walking their baby and they all seemed to be smiling. I wasn’t smiling. And I didn’t see it at the time but slowly, the communication we had was drying up. We didn’t talk about it, we just went back to life as we knew it, working, playing sport, doing housework etc. We were living with my parents, as we’d originally decided to move in to help save money for when the baby came. Again, I didn’t know it at the time, but this had put even more pressure on us as we didn’t have our own space. So here we are and everything finally comes out. The tears that I had on the inside finally came out. I don’t know why so many kiwi blokes think crying is a bad thing, I certainly had always felt that way but I couldn't hold it back any longer. I don’t really even remember what was said that night, I just remember feeling like a ship in a storm heading for the rocks. I’m a man of faith, but hadn’t really even relied on that to get me through. When you isolate yourself from support, it’s easy to get into difficulty.
But I feel like someone was watching over me, watching over us. Somehow, our ship didn’t hit the rocks. We came through the storm, out the other side, stronger than we were before.
We’ve been able to talk and deal with the loss since then. It still hurts to think about that tough time, but we’re blessed with three little girls now. The truth is, there are still people out there going through similar things. I can’t even imagine the sense of loss that a woman must feel, when the life that was growing inside her is no longer. I had always thought that as a man, it would be easier to get through. It’s not. Everyone's situation is different and everyone will react differently. The key thing I’ve learned is, men, don’t push your support away. Lean into it! Most important is your spouse/partner. Keep the channel of communication open. Let them in and make sure they let you in. You’ll both be feeling the same things. I’d also say to use the other support you have at your disposal whether that be family, friends, faith, counseling or other support groups.
I need to acknowledge my wife. She is the best wife you could ask for and I’ll love her for eternity. In the end this experience helped to bring us closer. I feel that with her by my side, I can stare down the barrel of anything.
I know that we’ve had a happy ending with our three girls and that not everyone will get that. To be honest I don’t know what to say except that life will go on. There is something better for you out there, don’t give up. For those of us lucky enough to have children, love them, cherish them and be grateful for them, even though they can test us at the best of times!
Feel free to comment below, or on my Facebook page!