I remember I handed over my phone to my husband as soon as I entered the hospital, not wanting to deal with the world. We had just found out our son had died when I was 28 weeks pregnant and I was to be induced.
Everything seems so blurry right now, yet so clear. I remember waking up in the morning and crying while hugging my husband. I’d just spent the first night in the hospital and unbeknownst to me, had a long road ahead. A long way to delivery; my mental state and its journey are another subject.
At that point, it didn’t occur to me that maybe my husband didn’t want to deal with the world too. He had to field a volley of questions, update concerned family and friends, run around for medicines, take care of me all the while managing his grief.
While I was crumbling and he looked as steady as a rock.
I have lost count of the number of times he has woken up to me sobbing in my pillow and has offered his support. Two years later, I still find myself crying, and he is there to hug me while I wallow in my grief. I have had fights with him about why wouldn’t he cry like me or share things with me.
The truth is, men and women grieve differently. It took me almost a year to understand that while I needed to talk about my grief, my husband had his ways of dealing with it. But every time we speak about our son, he is still the same calm, rock-solid shoulder of support that he was to me in the hospital.
I was surrounded by our families in the hospital, but I wonder did anyone stop and ask him how he was doing? Friends come and ask you how you are feeling, but they forget to ask the father.
A mother may bear the child in her womb, but a grieving father carries him in his heart.
This is a heartbreak of a unique kind; you wish your heart could stop beating too, but you find life doesn’t end.
Nobody holds a grieving father by the hand and offers him comfort. Nobody offers to feed him food and make his bed. Nobody even sees him crying. He is supposed to take care of everything silently; the storm inside and outside.
I am not sure I could be as strong for my husband as he has been for me. Sometimes I wish we could both crumble, but I know even when my husband looks calm, the water inside is running deep.
Maybe grieving dads need other grieving dads to talk about their emotions. Or possibly some men don’t function that way. Either way, it is not easy being a grieving Dad. He is expected to get up and go to work like his life didn’t just come to a standstill.
I am sure it broke my husband’s heart into a million pieces too, yet he found it in his heart the strength to help me heal.
A grieving father doesn’t look different from any other father. But inside, he has lived and lost since his baby died.
He has lost the opportunity to play ball with his kids, the opportunity to know whom will they look like, the many chances he would have to watch movies with them, the opportunity to give away his daughter at her wedding or to watch his son bring home the girl of his dreams.
It is not just a miscarriage/stillbirth/death; it is a lost lifetime.
Yet, he gets up every day, braving the maelstrom of emotions, holding his wife while she cries herself to sleep. How do men find such immense strength to go on? Where did my husband find the fortitude to help himself and me to sail through?
If you ever come across a grieving father, although I hope there are none in this world, offer them a warm hug. They don’t talk much, but just sitting next to them at this time is enough. Maybe make sure they have everything they need, or that they have eaten and gotten their rest.
For a grieving dad is the strongest person out there, but even the strongest need support.
About the Author: Amrita is the mother of a beautiful baby boy in Heaven, named Yuvaan. She and her husband live in India, and she works as a content writer. She finds solace in writing and penning down her experience with stillbirth is an important part of healing for her.