I've miscarried three times, and while there are multiple valid responses to a pregnancy loss, I'm here to tell you that, for me, it didn't get any easier. As a result, there's a lot of things I wish my partner said to me when I miscarried. Yet, I'm aware that it's entirely possible he said these things to me and I don't remember them. It's also possible that I wouldn't have actually been responsive to these comments had he said them to me at the time. I'm aware that he did the best he could, having suffered a tremendous loss himself while trying to take care of our two children to give me the space I needed to completely zone out and grieve.
I can't think of anything more isolating than the days immediately following my miscarriages. Except, perhaps, maybe the six years I was hiding the secret of being sexually abused by my step-father. Yes, I really am equating the two. For me, both solitary experiences seem like the world would end before anyone was able to understand what I was going through.
The world didn't end, but it sure would be helpful to feel understood and unconditionally loved during these traumatic experiences. There is no way to truly know how to comfort someone in grief, if only because everyone grieves differently. Truly, it's also possible that even if my partner had said the following things it may not have made a difference to my dissociated self, but I still would've liked to have heard them.
"I Love You No Matter What"
It doesn't matter about the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy loss. It doesn't matter how you feel; whether you're devastated or relieved or you think you're ultimately to blame. It doesn't matter if you totally break down and you're never the same. No matter what, I love you.
"I Can't Possibly Understand What You're Going Through"
I'm certain my partner knows that even though he was also grieving, my experience was bizarre and incomprehensible to someone who doesn't have a wanted-but-dead-fetus in their womb.
"I'm Hurting, Too"
My love is a man a few words, at least sometimes. One of those "sometimes" is during grief. He gets silent and isn't too keen on processing what's going on, or even why. A piece of that, undoubtedly, is our cultural socialization of cisgender men to be stoic, unemotional "manly men." Another piece is likely my misunderstanding of the grief cues of autistic individuals.
It's not that I wanted him to hurt and he didn't. It's that I know he was hurting and he couldn't, or didn't know how, to express it in a way that I could hear.
"We Will Keep Trying If You Want To"
I needed to know he was on board with what turned out to be an overpowering need to have baby number three.
"We Will Stop Trying If You Want To"
I also needed to know that he was on board with stopping trying if I couldn't handle moving on.
"I'm Taking The Kids To My Mom's For A Week"
What I really wanted, needed, and for the most part got to do, was zone out completely and binge on Netflix while huddling under the covers for a week. After the first miscarriage, my best friend came into town and, with his help my partner, was able to pretty much allow me to do that for the days following my D&C. However, I would have liked to have known that my children were spoiled and taken care of in a way that only their grandmother can do, so that I could hibernate without mama-guilt.
"I Bought You Everything Lucy Hale Has Ever Done"
As I've said before, the discovery of Pretty Little Liars got me through my first (and second, and third) miscarriages. That was in no small part due to my wildly inappropriate, reminiscent-of-my-high-school-days-crush on Lucy Hale. Sometimes a little school-girl-type obsession is good for healing the soul.
"I Don't Blame You"
Why? Well, because I blamed myself. I knew it "wasn't my fault" in the sense that these things never are and sometimes pregnancy losses just happen. Still, even in the midst of all that realism, I blamed myself. After all, who else was there to blame?
"I Still Love You"
It may seem silly, sure, but I needed to hear it. I needed to hear it over and over and over and over again. After all, my love language is words of affirmation.
"It's OK For You To Fall Apart"
Moms often feel like we always have to keep it together. I really needed it to be OK that I was falling apart while processes my pregnancy losses. To know that my partner would pick up the emotional slack of loving on our kids gave me the ability to feel every single ounce of grief in order to move on.
"I'll Sleep In The Kids' Room If You Want"
I wanted it to be as dark and lonely in my bedroom as it felt in my womb, and was in my heart, so I definitely would have appreciated my partner leaving me alone. If only for one night (or several, depending).
(That's called retroflection, for those Gestalt therapy buffs.)
"We'll Get The Baby That Is Meant To Be Ours"
Yeah, this is kind of corny. Yes, I may even have scoffed had my partner actually said this because, well, "How could you know?" Still, I wanted him to know we were going to have our rainbow baby even when I didn't. At the time, I remember wishing I knew he wanted that rainbow baby as much as I did. It may not have helped as much as I thought it would have, but it couldn't have hurt.