We Both Lost Our Unborn Child {But It's Different}

To every father who has lost a{n unborn} child: your grief is important too. It might be different. It might not be processed or expressed the same as your wife's grief. But your thoughts, your feelings, your timing - they are all valid. They are important too.

To every father who has lost a{n unborn} child: your grief is important too. It might be different. It might not be processed or expressed the same as your wife's grief. But your thoughts, your feelings, your timing - they are all valid. They are important too.

We both lost our unborn child. But it’s different.

Aliza passed away two weeks ago. In some ways, we have been mourning her since the 20 week ultrasound that told us she might not live.

But it didn’t take long after that ultrasound to recognize we were experiencing our pregnancy and processing our uncertainty differently. And it didn’t take long after her passing to recognize we were experiencing our loss and processing our grief differently as well.

We both lost our unborn child. But it’s different.

It’s different, because I’m the mom.

I carried our child inside of me for 33 weeks.

Sometimes it doesn’t take long for a mother to bond with her unborn baby. That tiny plus sign is what did me in this pregnancy. I wanted to have another baby so badly. I was so in love.

She grew; I swelled. She fluttered; I felt. I was physically connected to our child every moment of those 33 weeks I carried her.

When grief comes to me, it feels like loss.

It feels like my heart was ripped out of my chest. It feels like my womb rejected me. It feels like hot tears and tissues. It feels like curling up on my side to weep. It feels like sorrow and sadness.

It feels like “empty.”

Some have tried to say that losing our child must be worse for me, because I am the mom. But that is not true. My pain is not worse. It’s just different.

It’s different, because he’s the dad.

It can be hard for a father to bond with their unborn baby, because there aren’t as many physical connections to make. Not compared to a child they have been able to physically hold, care for, play with, raise.

He’s mourning somebody who didn’t physically exist for a long time in his life. Yet at the same time, he’s missing a person he thought was going to eventually be there. Somebody he thought was going to be with him as another part of his family on earth.

He saw ultrasound pictures. He felt two gentle kicks the entire 33 week pregnancy. He held her after she was delivered.

But while he might not have carried our daughter for 33 weeks, he carried me – his wife – for that long.

He was told by other dads who had lost an unborn child that their job was to take care of their wife through their pregnancy and after their loss. And that’s exactly what my husband felt too. That's exactly what he did.

He tended me through my tears and tissues. He added his own tears to mine, a reminder that he not only cared about me, but that he cared about our baby too.

When grief comes to him, it feels like a large void.

It feels like dreams unfulfilled. It feels like we were supposed to have another baby, but we don’t.

It feels like he lost his child, but that he doesn’t really know who that child is.

“It felt like if I had been able to hear her cry just once, to see even a glimpse of her personality, then I would more fully understand what I have lost.”

Even though grief came to both of us, even though we both lost a child, it is different.

Our grief is different, because we are different people with different personalities.

When we got home from the hospital, all I could think about was how I felt unable to be the mom to our toddler that she needed me to be. I needed a break. I needed time and space and quiet. I needed to emotionally process, yet to physically hide under a rock.

When we got home from the hospital, all he could think about was how he needed “normal” again. He needed work and church and people. He needed to continue to provide and care for our family.

Sometimes, these differences have brought us to places I don’t want to go again.

The underlying stress of a high-risk pregnancy, and the grief of losing a baby can feel a lot like division, frustration, and misunderstanding.

Other times, these differences have brought us to places I wish I could stay for a long time.

The closeness, the connection, the understanding. The good-conversation-and-wine-on-a-summer-night kind of feeling. Beauty out of the ashes.

We both lost our unborn child. It’s different, but through our differences, we are learning.

Learning to give each other space to deal with our emotions in ways that best fulfill our personal needs.

Learning to provide each other a safe place to speak honestly about what we are thinking or feeling.

Learning to pray together and for each other as we process our grief.

Learning that in our life, in our marriage, in our livelihood, and in our grief, we need Jesus to get through each and every single day.

 

Grace and Peace,
Kendra

 

 

{If you would like to learn more about our time with Aliza, you are welcome to read these previously written articles.}

Our 20 week ultrasound {When There Are No Words, There is Emmanuel}

Waiting for genetic test results {By Faith We Walk Through the Darkness}

Finding out the gender and naming our baby {I Choose Joy}

Dealing with fear throughout the pregnancy {If It Brings You Glory, Don’t Lead Me Down Sesame Street}

Our first Fetal Echo ultrasound {Held Captive by a Cup of Pretzels}

Thinking ahead to Aliza’s birth {Teach Them How to Deal}

Feeling the Church’s support throughout our pregnancy {Dragging Our Dirty Laundry to Church}

Aliza's passing and delivery {Empty}

Expressing how my life was changed {God Used a Tiny Baby}