Ending a pregnancy for fetal abnormality

Coping with bereavement - men's experiences

Every man we talked to said they felt very sad about the loss of the child, though some felt they had not been as deeply affected as their wives or partners. Several men said they were unprepared for having such strong feelings afterwards. Several had talked about their experiences informally with someone outside the family. (Also see 'Counselling and other kinds of support'.)

Many men believed that talking about the termination to friends or a counsellor would not help them feel better about what had happened and that they preferred to deal with it in their own way. Several said that getting back to normality - particularly going back to work - had been the best thing for them. 

Other men said they had suffered serious regrets about the loss of a child - some had coped by accepting their feelings philosophically and spiritually, others still found themselves feeling unsettled at odd moments. 

Some women said that their partners were just as affected by the loss of the baby as they were but had found it difficult to adjust and accept that they needed to get time off work for bereavement. One woman said her partner had rejected counselling even though he clearly needed it and eventually only accepted help when a male GP intervened. Some men joined ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices) with their partners and attended meetings and some also joined the ARC's men's online group which several said had helped them initially. 

Many women thought that men 'grieved differently' from women because men didn't want to talk about the baby and carried on as if nothing had happened. 

Women felt their partners' silence didn't mean they didn't care but that it was a mask for hiding unhappiness. They said that their partners didn't want to break down because they were trying to be strong to support and protect them. Several women said they thought their partners felt 'helpless' because they couldn't do anything in a practical sense to put things right. 

Last reviewed July 2017.

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