You and your partner have experienced a miscarriage, but your feelings sometimes go unnoticed. You may find that most people direct their sympathy toward your partner rather than you. You may feel alone and isolated, especially if you believe you must stay strong and stoic for your partner and keep your feelings to yourself.
While you share your partner’s sadness and grief of the pregnancy loss, you may grieve in different ways and intensities. You may not feel or be comfortable showing the same anguish as your partner. Their bodies undergo notable physical changes during pregnancy and miscarriage. While you have witnessed these changes, your attachment to the pregnancy may have differed. Or you may have felt highly invested in the pregnancy from the beginning and are now feeling deeply affected by the pregnancy loss.
How might I feel after a miscarriage?
If you are in a crisis situation, please call Lifeline (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), or 000 immediately. If you are unsure, you can learn about the signs for when you should seek mental health care.
Miscarriage is a unique form of loss. Families may mourn the absence of a baby that they didn’t have the chance to get to know. Before the loss, parents often begin to contemplate the changes and responsibilities that lie ahead in caring for a new baby. Many parents start to invest their hopes and expectations in the pregnancy, which often begins well before conception.
We encourage you to embrace and be curious about your feelings rather than critical or judgemental. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Not everyone who experiences miscarriage will feel sad; some may feel relieved or confused. Most likely, you will have many different feelings simultaneously, and your emotions are likely to change over time as you go through the different stages of grief.
Here are some common emotions that you may feel after a miscarriage and some quotes from men we have interviewed during our research studies that you may relate to:
Grief and Sadness
Grief and sadness are shared emotions following a miscarriage.
Sadness is a natural and expected feeling to experience. You are not only feeling sad about the loss of your baby, but also the loss of the future you imagined, and possibly feel sad that others are not providing you the support or reaction you expected.
I was pretty devastated, I started crying. I was pretty down for about a week… really, really sad. Really down. Really down on the world.
If you didn’t tell anyone about your pregnancy, you might feel alone in your pain and sadness. Although it can be challenging to be vulnerable and share these feelings, talking to someone about your loss may help with these feelings.
Partners, family, and friends may understand your feelings, or they may not. Partners often have different experiences and reactions, and open conversations can be worthwhile.
As a male we’re probably …just like …I’ll be fine. I’ll brush myself off and I’ll be alright …but deep down you’re not.
If you do not receive the support you would like from friends or family, consider speaking to a support group or perhaps even a psychologist or mental health professional.
You may experience a period after the miscarriage where you feel emotionally and physically empty or numb. Some men feel a sense of disbelief that this has happened to them, and it may feel surreal to feel so distressed when there are limited memories to process. Allow yourself time to absorb what has happened, talk to others, and find ways to remember your baby.
My role was just to be extremely focused… I had to switch off there’s no baby any more. I’ve got to look after my wife… It was more an advocacy role …and just trying to get help.
NOTE: If you experience intense and prolonged feelings of disconnection, numbness, or dissociation which interfere with your functioning, you should speak with a mental health professional.
Feelings of anger may arise because you do not feel in control of the situation or your body. Anger may arise from not knowing the reasons for the miscarriage or feeling dissatisfied with the medical treatment you received. Or you may be resentful that other people have not responded to you in the way you felt you needed. A miscarriage can feel unfair and unjust. Or anger can sometimes be a way of keeping feelings of sadness at bay.
As the person who did not go through the miscarriage physically, you may feel that your family, friends, and/or medical professionals do not acknowledge that you experienced a miscarriage too. This can also bring feelings of anger.
There was just no-one there to …acknowledge that it happened to me as well…one day I saw myself as a dad, the other day I was not a dad anymore.
Many poeple describe feeling jealous of people who have children or have fallen pregnant. It is painful to see others with a baby, and, understandably, you feel this way. Criticising yourself and feeling ashamed about these feelings doesn’t help and certainly doesn’t take them away. These feelings are transient and don’t make you a terrible person. Speaking with others who have experienced a miscarriage may be helpful. It can also be beneficial to avoid events that might trigger your sadness until you feel ready.
A miscarriage can be a very confusing experience. It can occur suddenly and out of the blue. There may be little explanation for why it happened, and you may experience a whole range of intense, complicated emotions as a result.
In our study, we found that when men take on the role as a supporter for their partners, they are often left not knowing how to feel or how to deal with their own emotions. You may feel that expressing your emotions will be too much to put onto your partner, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t find support through other people or services.
At the time I didn’t feel comfortable, even bringing up anything I was thinking just for that worry that she was already under enough strain as it was.
You may experience shock as a miscarriage is not the outcome that you imagined when you found out you were pregnant. Shock and disbelief are common feelings, and it often takes time to absorb that you have had a miscarriage.
It was a really feeling of what the hell kind of thing. Where is this coming from and …what have we done wrong? Have we drunk too much alcohol?
Worry or anxiety is a common emotion following a miscarriage. The intensity and duration of anxiety are likely to change over time.
The experience of the miscarriage itself may be very frightening, depending upon the circumstances. Necessary medical procedures may be painful, and you may not feel like you can control the situation. The absence of control can make you feel anxious.
Uneasy thoughts tend to take the form of “what if…” or “I should…”. Many people fear having another miscarriage and worry about what this means about their body and their health. You may also feel nervous about telling others about the miscarriage.
If you feel unable to switch off feelings of anxiety or worry, and you or others around you are concerned about you, consider seeking a referral to a psychologist or mental health professional who can assist you.
…scared. scared of her situation, of what could happen …we would be running out. might be… another embryo and we only have so many that we can.
Failure or Lack of Control
You may feel like you have failed yourself, your partner, or your family by miscarrying. Or perhaps you feel like your body has failed you or have no control over your body, which can arouse anger and anxiety. It is essential to know that it is highly unlikely that you have done anything to cause your miscarriage. Trusting your body again can take time.
…the feeling that it’s not in your hands…. You can really want it and you can do the right thing but nothing is guaranteed and that is quite hard to deal with.
It is common to feel guilty or blame yourself for a miscarriage, fearing you did something “wrong.” It is rarely the case that you have done something to cause a miscarriage.
In distressing situations, where we have no control over outcomes, we are inclined to look for explanations about why terrible, unforeseen things happen. In the absence of proof, it is understandable why we might want to blame ourselves, even though there may be no evidence that you caused this or were at fault in any way.
You may feel relieved after a miscarriage. Perhaps your baby was diagnosed with a medical condition, or your partner was unwell during pregnancy (e.g., Morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum). You may also feel relieved if the pregnancy was unplanned or if your circumstances would have made caring for a baby a challenge. There are many valid reasons people may feel relief following a miscarriage and feeling this way doesn’t make you a bad person. You can feel relief simultaneously as feeling a range of other complicated emotions about the pregnancy loss.
You may also feel guilty because you feel relieved after losing a pregnancy. This feeling might coincide as you are feeling sad or anxious. It is normal to have a range of complex emotions at any one time. There is probably a good reason why part of you feels relieved, which is OK. Relief doesn’t discount feelings of sadness or make you a terrible person. Uncertainty (or ambivalence) about the pregnancy is a normal part of all pregnancies, even the most wanted pregnancy.
When should I seek mental health care?
If you think that the intensity of your feelings is troublesome to manage alone, you might consider seeking professional mental health support. You can now access Medicare rebates to speak to a psychologist who has high-level training and who is required to keep the details of what you tell them confidential. To find out more about when you may want to start seeking professional mental health support, you can read about common mental health symptoms on our When should I seek mental health care? page.
Pregnancy loss support services for men
How can I support my partner after a miscarriage?
Support for everyone
Having a miscarriage
After a miscarriage
Didn’t find the information you were looking for?
We, at Miscarriage Australia, understand the need for more research, information, and support for men who have experienced miscarriage. As part of our vision, we aim to expand on our research on men’s experiences of miscarriage, and in turn, to expand the sections on our website for partners – and hopefully in the future, to make a separate Men and Miscarriage website.