Miscarriage Grief: Fathers Struggle Through Loss Too

Letterboard about Miscarriage with Grieving Dad in Background

It’s something people forget when they talk about miscarriage grief–fathers dealing with miscarriage also struggle. We talk a lot about pregnancy loss on Undefining Motherhood. Some of our articles about how to deal with miscarriage and coping with miscarriage grief are applicable to partners, not just the woman physically experiencing the loss.

But let’s be honest. When we write miscarriage content, or when we think about the subject of pregnancy loss, most of us consider the mother. And that makes sense. Her body, heart, and hormones are going through a lot.

But while it’s important to help women understand things like what to expect when miscarrying, we also need to remember the fathers dealing with miscarriage. When it comes to miscarriage grief, dads and partners feel pain too.

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One Father’s Story of Dealing with Miscarriage Grief

As a father dealing with miscarriage, I struggled to wrap my brain around the loss my wife and I were experiencing.

I remember the rushed pace as we all but ran through the waiting room, not wanting to make eye contact with the expectant mothers in our OB’s office.

Waiting for the elevator seemed like an eternity.

We barely held it together.

And then I remember our first cry.

We sat in the car, in the parking deck, for a few minutes and both sobbed. The ride home was quiet, except for the soft sniffles coming from both of us.

The miscarriage didn’t just happen to her. It happened to me too. It happened to us.

When it comes to miscarriage grief, fathers hurt too.

I Pushed Having Children

My desire to have a baby was strong before my wife’s was.

I am a primary school teacher. Much of my career has been with kindergarteners and first graders. After teaching for a few years, I was ready for kids.

I had had to talk my wife into the idea of even trying. We had just celebrated our second wedding anniversary, and family was on my brain.

Driving home after that horrible OB appointment, I began to blame myself. We all know mothers sometimes blame themselves after miscarriage, but it turns out, fathers sometimes do too.

I had rushed her into it. I had wanted it too badly. We had done something wrong and this was our punishment.

I ran all the scenarios through my brain, yet I couldn’t bring myself to ask what she was thinking. It would hurt her too much.

She had been through too much pain and sorrow.

Life as You Never Knew It

Returning home is like going back to your life, yet it isn’t your life at all. Not the life you knew.

The first night, we cried some more.

I called our parents to deliver the news.

The onesies, baby board books, and “coming November 2012” sign would not be necessary.

The toys, the home we’d imagined, the life we’d imagined–it all suddenly disappeared.

The Reality of Miscarriage Grief Set In

As we tried to reconcile ourselves to the loss of all we’d dreamed of, our parents did what they could to console over the phone. But it wasn’t hitting. It’s really hard to know how to offer miscarriage support.

My wife didn’t want to talk to anyone, and our parents respected that. I wanted to get off the phone quickly.

The reality was starting to set in.

Our lives had been altered. I needed some time to wrap my head around the new normal.

We spent the next day together on the couch. Finally deciding that cookies sounded great, we headed to Publix.

At the register, the unassuming cashier cheerfully asked if we wanted to donate to the March of Dimes campaign.

It’s for premature babies and their care. Many of them are very sick. Some don’t make it.

Our unassuming cashier at Publix

She finished her pitch and waited for our response.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my wife’s hands instinctually go to her belly. I saw her slide the sunglasses down to cover her eyes, and I knew it was time to go.

I quickly paid.

We hadn’t made it to the parking lot before I heard the sound. Sniffling.

Then once in the car, crying.

Why Don’t We Talk about Miscarriage More?

As a partner in loss, you experience your own grief. You also wonder how best to help the person you love experiencing the physical loss.

In an attempt to try and protect my wife. I tiptoed around “the loss.” I didn’t call it by the name “miscarriage,” or talk about my own grief as a father.

We didn’t tell anyone. We didn’t talk much to each other about it either. This went on for several weeks.

Our parents would call to check, but there wasn’t much to say. “I’m fine. She is fine. We are fine.”

Of course I was lying, but what do you say?

Quote from Glennon Doyle

Slowly, I began to open up to a few people. Some of my teammates at school knew that I was going to an OB appointment and that they hadn’t heard anything else.

They would ask and I would just shake my head.

Not ready to fully talk, but needing someone to know.

This was what opened the door wider for me. That simple shake led to a full out discussion of how they too had experienced pregnancy loss.

Experiencing loss feels isolating, but when an estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss, talking about it quickly helps you realize that you’re not alone.

Their stories would twist and turn and inevitably involve a “and you know [pause], we had a miscarriage too.”

In experiencing miscarriage grief, fathers and mothers alike become part of a new club.

It was like I was part of the club now.

All of these people I had known for years had experienced the same thing, but I didn’t know it until I experienced it too.

Grieving, Healing, and Rainbows

We began to heal. We settled into our new normal of being in the childless parents club, and then we found out we were some of the “lucky” loss parents.

We were pregnant again.

Our rainbow baby was due in January. Of course, we kept this fragile news to ourselves for a while.

Pregnancy after miscarriage produces a lot of anxiety.

Both of us voiced, more than once, the fear of losing this one too.

I would check in many times throughout the day to make sure my wife was ok. At home, I tried to keep her still, relaxed, and comfortable. To find ways to ease the pregnancy anxiety after miscarriage.

We both were holding our breath.

As November, the due date of our lost pregnancy, approached, the emotions of the loss came flooding back. I experienced the miscarriage grief of a father all over again. I can’t speak to what my wife went through, but I know she struggled.

Due dates after loss tend to be emotional no matter the circumstances, and it helps so much if people remember and acknowledge them.

We couldn’t help but think about it. We would have had a baby by now. We had a friend, who had also found out she was pregnant and due in November. She delivered a healthy baby boy.

We should have been doing the same thing. I was angry.

Each night, I prayed for the safekeeping of our rainbow, but I still demanded answers for our loss. I needed closure before our rainbow was born.

Closure for a Father Dealing with Miscarriage Grief

One night in November, around the due date, I had a dream.

I was holding a baby.

I was out shopping for baby items because we had nothing.

We were at the mall, then Target, and then another store, but none of them had baby items.

In the dream, people would stop us to coo over the baby and comment on how cute he was.

What was his name? How old is he?

I could feel his weight in my arms, but every time I went to look at my son, I couldn’t make out his face. Something was covering it, or my head just wouldn’t move down.

Every time I opened my mouth to say my son’s name, I couldn’t remember it.

The next morning, I woke up to a tear-soaked pillow, but a heart at peace. This was the closure I’d been praying for. After miscarriage grief, fathers also have to move forward from the loss.

I finally did. I was now ready for our rainbow.

We had lost a son, but WE were just 2 months away from meeting our daughter. I was finally ready to prepare.

It took until 2 months before our daughter was due for me to fully come to terms with the pregnancy we had lost.

Unlike my wife, my body was not going through either physical experience. But my heart and soul were fully entwined.

Miscarriage doesn’t just happen to the one carrying the baby. It happens to the ones who created the child.


Jay is an elementary school teacher in Marietta, GA. His experience with miscarriage is one that could be told by countless other fathers and partners. He now has two amazing daughters to add to his son in Heaven.

4 thoughts on “Miscarriage Grief: Fathers Struggle Through Loss Too

  1. Wow, so many details this father remembers 7 years later! So many of his feelings and experiences resemble my own. I, too, received closure about two of my miscarriages by learning my babies’ genders through dreams and visions. Thank you for sharing the memory of your son with us and for being a voice for bereaved fathers!

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