His grief as valid as the mothers
Does he need to cry in front of others to make a point of his loss, or does he need to carry on silently with his life without acknowledging his loss?
Why are men treated differently? They are also grieving; men plan days, weeks and months ahead for the arrival of their bundle of joy. They also want to see a part of them grow in front of their eyes; some wait impatiently for the arrival and plan the delivery of the baby and the homecoming. Men also fall pregnant, their pregnancies are full of emotions; they wait anxiously for 9 months and watch their baby grow inside their partner/wife. Pregnancy for a father is just as exciting as it is for the mother.
When a mother suffers a miscarriage or children die in their infancy, don’t ignore the couple - they both have suffered a loss. To devalue a fathers loss and value the mothers can often leave men feeling guilty, confused and distraught. Men have the right to feel low, depressed and have mood swings - they may not be in touch with their feelings but they have feelings, just like the pregnancy they don’t carry the baby but they have the sentiments and have an attachment to the pregnancy.
Disregarding ones pain and valuing the others can bring distances between the couple, often in these cases the couple would stop communicating, especially the men as they don’t know what to say or do, and they are trying to come to terms with their feelings. There can be a certain amount of detachment from the father around the circumstances because suddenly everyone is supporting the mum. The father at this stage gets no attention - he is feeling lost, hurt in pain and isolated and there is no one who can or wants to understand his loss.
It’s important to bring your feelings to surface with your partner/wife and try and understand each other’s grief, opening up to your partner/wife about the loss and your feelings surrounding the loss, understanding it. Communication is imperative and understanding that it was nobody’s fault and these things happen. Accepting that you both have your own way of dealing with the loss, seeking professional help and support from family and friends.
Shutting one another out could result in isolation or blaming each other. Separation has an effect on the family, and grieving alone could lead to many complications in the relationship. Respecting each other’s feelings and being mindful that both of you have suffered a loss is important, as is acknowledging that you have you own individual way of grieving.
About the author
Gulnargis Sharif MBACP
Understanding that a fathers loss is as important as the mothers and that his feelings and sentiments should not be devalued, he is also grieving and may need time, space, comfort and attention. He may be suffering silently because he has to support his partner/wife and the other family members.
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