Keyan, on ‘Simply Say’
Keyan and his wife have experienced five miscarriages. Here he reflects on a partner’s experience of loss and how it’s talked about.
I get that a lot of people didn't know what to say because they’re scared of saying something wrong or upsetting us.
Miscarriage is a devastating, painful experience for both parties, yet in my experience and from what others have told me, the partner is often somewhat overlooked – and men especially are assumed not to be affected by pregnancy loss.
It’s something that even affected the way I dealt with it at first. My wife and I have had five, and she was definitely depressed. Looking back, I now realise I probably was too, yet initially I thought I should be getting on with things and looking after her.
Our second miscarriage happened on holiday and was incredibly traumatic, yet I went straight back to work when we got home. A month later I totally broke down and had to call in sick.
I struggled for a long time after each miscarriage. At different times they have made me feel powerless, angry, sad and sometimes jealous of others, which I hated feeling. On occasion, my wife and I would have different emotional reactions at different times, which was difficult.
It also affected how people would deal with me. Of course my wife went through more than I did, not least physically, but it was noticeable how few times someone would ask me how I was doing, too. And that culture of not talking means other partners in the same situation also don’t know how to deal with it, because they simply don’t hear about it.
We’ve both had plenty of inappropriate things said to us. In a hospital in New York, for example, one of the A&E doctors came in and said to my wife, who had been bleeding and by now recognised the symptoms, “I see you’re pregnant, so why are you crying?” I think we were both too shocked to respond.
I’ve never found it helpful when people say “At least it was early” or “At least you can get pregnant” because it feels like they are undermining the devastation we both felt during those times. So I get that a lot of people didn’t know what to say because they’re scared of saying something wrong or upsetting us. But in my experience, “I’m sorry, I’m here” and acknowledging it is the best possible route to opening up a conversation.