The Grieving Couple
Men and women do not experience grief in the same way. For a moment, right after the death, they seem to grieve together. From then on, they move at different rates and have different feelings. Furthermore, grief is intensely personal and directed inward. Reaching outside this inner world to help each other is difficult.
Women tend to show their feelings by talking about them. A mother may begin to bond with her baby as soon as she thinks she is pregnant. This bond is powerful and deep. She may feel the loss of her baby in her heart forever. Often a woman interprets her partner’s tearless silence as lack of caring. He probably does care greatly but has difficulty showing it.
Men tend not to express their feelings as openly. This can be cultural – men must be “strong”. So a deeply felt loss might not show. Men seem to move through grief faster than women. They soon go back to work and into the business of life. But if a man accepts the differences and offers his partner time, understanding, and a listening ear, he has given gifts that will never be forgotten.
These differences may cause conflict in a relationship as you struggle together and separately to come to terms with the loss of your baby. But there are things you can do to help your relationship survive:
- Care about each other and your feelings and needs.
- Keep an open line of communication and share your thoughts and emotions.
- Accept your differences and acknowledge each other’s pain.
- Assure one another of your commitment to your relationship.
- Talk about your baby.
- Find ways to remember him or her.