Miscarriage following a healthy pregnancy
Peter remembers the need both to be supportive and to express his emotions after his partner’s miscarriage.
One thing I have learned is that so many people go through what Jen and I went through, and through talking to people we have found it much easier to come to terms with and this is something I will take away with me for the rest of my life.
Miscarriage is very difficult for men generally, I think. It is hard to accept and actually I found it really hard to show my full emotion.
On the day of our miscarriage in 2011, we experienced polar opposites. Firstly the true high of telling our daughter and the excitement on her face, plus telling all of our families who we met with on Christmas Day. Then possibly the biggest low of our lives, completely deflation and upset when suddenly that same evening, Jen started getting stomach pains.
As we travelled to the hospital to have our worst fears confirmed, the Christmas number 1 was playing – the Military Wives, singing Wherever you are. A very poignant song and a moment which we will never forget.
For me, although this was churning me up inside, I had to simply stay strong for Jen and Millie. Support, an ear and a shoulder were the best things I felt I could offer at this point. We got home around 2 a.m. on Boxing Day, when Jen and I could finally be on our own at home, with Millie tucked up in bed, and simply cuddle and let all of our emotion out. I coped on Boxing Day by playing in a rugby match I play in each year. Jen told me I had to play as she could see I needed a release and it was perfect for me as I could get rid of my emotion on the rugby pitch (in a completely legal way).
I think it was probably the next day when my mother came and took Millie for a sleep-over that Jen and I had our first really good chat and emotional breakdown (Kleenex has great sales figures for the end of December). It was just what we needed – two days on our own, where we would for no reason cry and hug and then work out what we would tell people.
Christmas Day 2011 will never be forgotten in our minds, although Christmas Day 2012 was simply amazing, as we had a one month old baby in our arms. Me and Jen still have a little cuddle and remember each year for the one we lost. This whole experience has brought us much closer and stronger, which is actually fantastic especially as it’s our 10th wedding anniversary this year.
For me – and I’m not sure if this is generally felt by men – there is very limited support, but in all honesty I’m not sure most men are open to discuss things. This entire subject is shied away from as though it is wrong to discuss and this is not the case. With so many families experiencing it, it must not be a subject to brush under the carpet. When I had personally come to terms with things I found the best way was to talk openly and honestly and it was only at that point that I suddenly realised how many people go through it. My male and female friends were so supportive and also it has allowed us all to be open about these things.
Since the miscarriage, I still had something which I needed to do to get complete closure and it was at that point I found out about the Miscarriage Association. I had found a charity which would have been really useful to me at the time, but I was not aware of them and no one at the hospital had told us. Therefore I set myself the challenge for Jen and our loss to raise as much awareness as I could and in April 2013 I ran the Virgin London Marathon in a fraction over 4 hours, raising over £3,000 for the charity.
The money raised is my way of continuing to support people who go through miscarriages. One thing is for sure – I will never forget my first marathon. And one thing I have learned is that so many people go through what Jen and I went through, and through talking to people we have found it much easier to come to terms with and this is something I will take away with me for the rest of my life.