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June 20, 2013

A Man's Perspective on Pregnancy Loss

{Morgan shares his thoughts on infertility and pregnancy loss and our situation}

I’ve been thinking lately. I wanted to give my thoughts regarding the recent and well documented issues regarding infertility and pregnancy loss. Nicole, to my surprise, has been very forthright and open with what we have been going through. At first, I was very uncomfortable with this. But then, over time, I realized it helps her cope and process. And in fact, her posts have also helped countless women that have found her posts, finding support and information. 

Nobody expects to have to deal with pregnancy loss and infertility. In fact, after having a healthy and happy (well, not so happy a lot of the time, also well documented) baby Henry, I never expected to have to deal with this. My goal (only half jokingly) has always been that I wanted to have “a baseball team” of kids (i.e. 9 kids). I just figured we’d start with one and it wouldn't be an issue to just keep going until we decided otherwise. 

During this time there have been several things I've observed that have been somewhat frustrating. The first is the lack of good information generally. The doctors are clueless. The nurses can’t figure out how to act around you. After the first loss, we were given a book from the nurse called “Empty Arms.” Just what I needed at the time, a 104 page novel to slog through about coping or some garbage written by who the hell knows. The internet seems to have some information, but not very much good information. And information for men? I couldn't find anything. Even now that we’re getting fertility treatment, I’m pretty sure the doctor’s official diagnosis as written in Nicole’s chart is “I don’t have a clue how to help you, but I’ll just ramble on about infertility like I’m actually accomplishing something, and then charge you a lot of money.”  

The second is, well, how was I even supposed to feel? Nicole was, I think, somewhat frustrated with me (and maybe still is). On one hand, I felt I needed to stay strong and supportive as we dealt with each loss and now infertility treatments. I wanted to stay positive, hopeful. I generally try to focus on the positives in life and recognize that good things in life are not promised to us. I needed to continue functioning, going to work and running the household. On the other hand, Nicole was angry, depressed, (and yes, hormonal) and would then get angry at me when I wasn’t feeling the exact same way she was. All the crazy medication has taken its toll on everyone’s sanity around here. In reality, after each loss, I would usually just burst into tears at random times for no reason, like sitting at my desk at work or during rush hour traffic, have a moment, and move on. It was usually when I would have a passing thought about things like, “I wonder how old our second baby would today” or, “wouldn’t it be great to come home to two, three or four kids running into my arms?” In the end, in between strong and supportive and total melt down, I think the most common feeling is total resignation and acceptance, because, well, there’s nothing I can do about it. 

The third is somewhat related to the first: how do other people act. Do you ignore it? Do you talk about it? Do you say “sorry” or “good luck next time” or “you’re doing it wrong” or…what? I don’t know. People are very uncomfortable about the whole thing. I don’t even think Nicole has the answer even though she complained about it a lot. C.S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed, “I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they'll 'say something about it' or not. I hate if they do, and if they don't.” Fortunately, Nicole received a lot of support from all over and it was very much appreciated and helpful. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. 

So, we’re still in the weeds at this point. Uncertain about the future. I continue trying to focus on the positives. First and foremost, Henry Morgan. That kid has so much personality and energy that you can’t help but smile around him. He’s so high energy that you literally don’t have time to wallow in your sorrow. He has helped us more than he knows.  We have a beautiful house, and jobs and wonderful family. Our dogs. Great friends. The list goes on. 

So there you have it. Maybe in a year or so I’ll look back on this post and think differently.


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Amy @ No Greater Honors
This is unbelievably eye-opening! Thanks for putting yourself out there and giving women a glimpse into what their husbands might be feeling when in the same situation, because sometimes it's hard for women to understand where their husband is coming from in the face of trial - we think so differently! Thanks also, because I know this may potentially help another man who may be going through the same thing and not know if there is someone else thinking the same way, or may think that he's not handling it like he should to begin with. I have prayed for you and your wife - children are the biggest blessing and a true gift from God. Your little boy is SOOOO cute - I love your wife's blog and I had no idea how much he looked like you until I saw the picture with you two side by side. I have no answers - I wish I did. I can only say what I heard someone else say once - it doesn't matter if you have 1 child or 10 - love them and train them just the same! Put just as much in to them, and it takes just as much work, regardless of the number! :) I am still praying for you all!
Dyan Robson
Dyan Robson said…
It's so great to read a man's perspective on this topic. Thank you for sharing.
the naptown organizer
Morgan - I know I've said this to Nicole before but I don't think I've ever said it directly to you - you are SUCH a great guy and wonderful husband to Nicole. I am so upset, sad, angry for you both that you have to go through this and it hurts so much to see one of my very best friends in so much hurt. But I know no matter what you always have her back and are always her cheerleader throughout everything. So, hugs, and thanks for being such an amazing guy.
Jen @ the mama years
It's great you're sharing this, both for Nicole and others who read her blog. Good for you, and I wish you guys the best.