Men and women both suffer after a miscarriage, a new study in Hong Kong shows, but they suffer differently and for different periods of time.
Immediately after a miscarriage, 40 percent of men and 52 percent of women were greatly distressed, according to two tests -- the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).
By six months later, 14 percent of the women were still depressed and only 7 percent of the men were. Of course, what this test doesn't seem to take into account was whether there were subsequent pregnancies, which would obviously change the results. But it did show, of course, that both parents do suffer after a lost pregnancy, not just the mother.
There were other interesting findings as well.
Men seem to suffer more and for longer if the pregnancy was planned, but they were also much more optimistic about the hope for future pregnancies.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
"Because both partners were most distressed immediately after miscarriage, Kong and her team say any interventions to help these couples should occur soon after the pregnancy loss."
If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Sometimes I think we women expect men to be just like us. We expect them to bond with a pregnancy the way we do and as immediately as we do. We expect them to be thrilled with an unexpected pregnancy just as we are and we expect them to be just as neurotic and worried as we are throughout the pregnancy.
It seems like that's a lot to ask of the opposite sex. After all, the pregnancy is in our body and, if it was unplanned, he may be relieved that there will not be a baby and I don't think that makes him a cad.
What I find more revealing is how many men do actually suffer after the loss of a pregnancy. In my family, the bonding didn't seem to happen until the babies were moving and my husband could put his hands on my belly and feel them. Even after the babies were born, the sheer physical work was largely on me. He helped document all of our nursing sessions and changed many, many diapers, but I am sure I was more bonded to our newborns for a while.
It wasn't until the kids became more autonomous that he was really able to feel needed and have that same bonding experience.
Sometimes I think women just have too high of expectations of men. We are not the same and that is kind of amazing. Why would we want to be? Someone has to be the optimistic, hopeful one, right?
When did your husband bond with your pregnancy?
Image via Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr