Today I want to talk about Jim and what losing Grace has been like for him.
Men are expected to “be strong” for their women when their baby dies ( and in general too).
I think this is a load of shit.
I spend 7 years off and on with a guy who had been conditioned not talk about his feelings. It was awful. Whenever I tried to get him to talk about his feelings, he would shut down or space out. I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. I often felt very alone.
When I started to fall for Jim, the thing I liked the most about him was how open he was with his feelings. Honestly it was a turn on! Any time he is upset, happy, worried, etc., we talk about it. We are so close that we can read each others’ faces and know instantly when something is wrong.
When I think about the night Grace was born, in some ways I think it was harder for Jim. He had to pace around a room, with my blood all over the floor, wondering if I would survive. He was all alone. He had to be “strong”.
When we came home, I was a wreck for a long time. I would cry pretty much non stop when I wasn’t sleeping. Sometimes I would cry in my sleep.
I read somewhere that couples who are in sync will often take turns losing their shit. I think that’s true, because whenever I would start to feel better, Jim would melt down.
Now, Jim has some close friends/family that haven’t treated him very good. I have to say, it makes me very angry. Some of them gave him the signal it was okay to talk about Grace, then shut him down when he tried. Others just straight up ignore him. WTF? He is always there for his people! He is an amazing friend!
You know what? I am guilty of being sexist towards him too! Quite a few months ago, I told him he doesn’t understand because he didn’t carry Grace in his body. I also said that he wasn’t sad because I hardly saw him cry. He said, “you’re doing it, baby. you’re treating me different because I’m a man”. I realized he was right and apologized.
Since then I have just relaxed and let him be himself and grieve in his own way. He said when he was single and had to deal with things like this, he would shut down and reboot like a computer. But now that we are married, he couldn’t do that because I needed his support and attention. So he had to learn a new way of processing and such. He said it’s been a learning experience.
90% of couples who lose a baby to stillbirth break up or get divorced. It either brings you closer together or tears you apart.
If you care about or love someone who has lost a child, reach out to them. Ask them how they feel, and listen, no matter how uncomfortable it is for you. Sit in the sadness with them. Cry with them. Talk about their child.
There is no time limit on grief. It never ends; you just learn how to live with it.