10 Ways to Support Men’s Mental Health After Miscarriage
This one is for all the boyfriends, husbands, dads and dads-to-be, in the infertility and pregnancy loss community…
Too often, miscarriage is only considered and treated as a female problem. In my experience, having experienced three consecutive miscarriages over the past two years now, all of the medical care and after-support tends to focus on women.
Of course, that’s understandable to some degree, but this can easily leave other-halves feeling a little bit forgotten or overlooked.
And, as anyone who has ever walked this path will know, the truth is that the menfolk aren’t just onlookers, third-party observers or uninvolved bystanders, waiting by on the sidelines for their women; they are right there in the trenches, too.
And although most of the hard stuff may not actually be happening to their bodies, it’s still their pregnancies, their emotions, their marriages, their families, their mental health and their future dreams lying in the balance, too.
Thankfully, when we shared our latest baby loss news, my husband received lots of personal support from friends and family, every bit as much as me. But I know that isn’t every man’s experience. The fact that bereaved dads are dealing with all the same feelings of disappointment and loss and grief as their partner isn’t lost on me. And neither is the fact that in addition to watching their partner suffering whilst feeling pretty powerless to do anything about it. And often, they can feel an extra pressure to seem strong and appear together, like men are “supposed” to be.
10 Ways to Support the Guys.
So, I decided to come up with a few suggestions for ways that friends and family can help support men in the aftermath of infertility problems or miscarriage.
1. Text, call or message to let him know you’re thinking of him and are always available if he wants to talk.
2. Offer to take him out for a beer or coffee. You don’t even need to talk about what’s going on specifically. He may not want to talk about it, and often just offering male company is enough, but also be available to listen if he does.
3. Take him to the cinema. You don’t have to talk at all, but it might help take their mind off things.
4. Buy him a little gift and drop it in – because normally, there are endless gifts for the women, but nothing especially for him.
5. Offer to babysit (if they have other children already) so that the couple can get out and just have some space and time together to talk, without all the distractions of being at home with kids.
6. Or, just offer to bring over a pre-prepared meal. If you don’t cook, just grab a takeaway and take it around. Returning to work straight after a loss can be hard on a guy, and it just helps to lift off one extra responsibility, especially in those very early days.
7. Offer to go round and help them with that DIY thing. Not only will that help the whole family out practically, but also men sometimes find it easier to bond and talk over doing physical things.
8. Buy him a voucher to support some self-care. This could be for a massage treatment or a grooming session, a book or music voucher, or even just dragging him out with you for a run or to the gym.
9. Invite him to do something fun with a group of friends. Getting him out to do ordinary, fun stuff with friends will help him feel more like himself. And doing it as a group also takes the pressure off, too.
10. Encourage him to talk to a professional. Men tend to struggle to talk openly about their problems as much as women. So, if you sense he’s struggling, why not encourage him to see a counselor or therapist. You could even research it, or recommend someone you already know to make it as easy as possible.
So there’s my starter for 10, but if you have any other thoughts or ideas for how to support the menfolk well, I’d be really keen to know.