I honestly thought a devastating loss would bring my husband, Nick, and I closer together. We already had a bond but our daughter’s death, the trauma of it all, would hold us together because we are her parents. We were the only ones we knew who had experienced such a loss. I thought that we could talk to each other openly about her and without judgment. We truly understood each other, and it was us against the world. He was my support system. As I have mentioned before, Nick took on the role of being my protector, making sure I was okay. To maintain that role, he put his own grief aside.
As time went on, I noticed that we grieved differently. I desperately wanted to talk about Zalayah as much as I could, but Nick hardly ever brought her up. I wanted to go to counselling together but after the first few sessions, I ended up attending alone. I started to feel like we drifted apart due to the different ways we grieved our loss. Not only that, but we were also different people after her death and would never be the same again. I felt like I had to get to know Nick all over again, this time the version of him that was grieving. I often wondered why Nick did not seem as devastated as I was, why he did not break down in tears as often as I did or talk about her everyday. It angered and saddened me, and I started to resent him. I felt like he had moved past it, and I was unable to. I stopped talking about her as much as I wanted to because I thought I would upset him.
Eventually I became so consumed by my own grief, just trying to get through the day, that I no longer focused on Nick. I guess I could say I became selfish by focusing solely on myself. I could also look at it as I only had enough energy to help me survive each day doing the absolute minimum. I just could not take on relationship issues as well. I started to shut down and started living in my head.
While speaking with counsellors, I became more aware of what was happening in my relationship. Our communication had completely broken down. I searched online for similar stories to see if what we were going through was normal and I was shocked to find out that couples who had a miscarriage were 22% more likely to break up as opposed to couples who had a healthy baby at term. For those who experienced a stillbirth, the number was higher at 40% more likely. I read that many couples go down the same path that Nick and I had travelled with some couples deciding to split up and I could understand why some couples decided to do so because I was in that situation. Nick and I grieved very differently, and our communication was non-existent, two issues that have led to many couples in situations similar to ours splitting up.
We decided to go to counselling as a couple. Talking about our feelings has helped us reconnect. I know he is still grieving even though he has a very different way of showing it. If you are experiencing issues within your relationship after a loss, I encourage you to talk about it and seek support. It is quite common and there are ways to help resolve the issues (see below links).
Why Couples Fight After a Miscarriage, and What to Do About It | InStyle
Ending the Silence: How Miscarriage Impacts Your Relationship (healthline.com)
How to Keep Your Marriage Intact After a Miscarriage | RELEVANT (relevantmagazine.com)
Tips for a Healthy Marriage After Loss – UnspokenGrief.com