Father's Grief

As the father experiencing pregnancy loss, your experience with grief is going to differ from that of your partner, not only because you are not the one who carried the baby inside of your body, but because you are an individual who is unique and you may differ in how you grew up and how you were taught to deal with feelings. Our society and cultural backgrounds can influence how we grieve.

While we seem to know a lot about grief now, many people still aren’t sure how to respond to a man’s feelings, especially those of grief. Often fathers are the neglected grievers, as it is safer to ask how your spouse/significant other is doing rather than ask you. Men experience many thoughts and feelings surrounding the loss of a child or pregnancy.

The feelings that surround a loss differ between men and women; therefore, men grieve differently than women. Women have more permission to cry and talk, whereas men have more permission to be angry. Women tend to express grief more openly than do men. However, that does not mean that women feel grief more deeply than men. 

Typically, a man is expected to be strong, appear in control and be confident, show more interest in thinking than feeling, endure pain, be brave, assertive, be the protector and provider. Men typically are not expected to cry in front of others, appear weak or insecure, to be afraid, dependent, ask for help, get depressed or lose control. 

(Taken from ‘Articles from Dad’s Corner’)

There are many reactions to grief that are common to most fathers:

  • Disbelief
  • Numbness
  • Disappointment
  • Isolation of emotion
  • Emptiness
  • Anger

Many cultural factors can play a part in a father's resistance to grief and not allowing himself to deal with the feelings he may be having. Some of these 
factors include:

  • not allowing yourself to slow down
  • not being able to seek out emotional support
  • not being able to openly express your feelings
  • not being able to accept help from others
  • the need to protect your partner and care for her.

For many men, their automatic response to grief is to overcome the feelings from grief, rather than experience them. As a father you may feel angry, depressed, guilty, helpless, lonely, disappointed, sad, hurt, afraid, out of control, confused, empty, like a failure or frustrated. This can be one of the roughest times you may experience in your life and it is important for you to take care of yourself and the feelings you are having.

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