The husband perspective, huh? I hesitate to write this, because doing so opens the flood gates to many sad and difficult emotions--some of which maybe Becca will never fully understand and others that I personally thought (or wished) had begun to fade. Perhaps like many men I wish to suppress them. Let me start by saying I have not seen such bravery in anyone since Becca began this blog. It has allowed me to reprocess what has happened in a way I probably would not have otherwise.
Throughout this hurricane of events I found myself in a state of constant damage control--carefully positioned, available, and often constrained to viewing Becca’s pain through her eyes. I understand now that I will never fully comprehend her pain, nor physically feel what she went through. What I do accept as fact is that her pain--physical and emotional--is something that will always be a part of us. For me, I quickly began to let go of the lingering sadness for survival purposes. I had to let go of the fact that I was about to become a father. I had to let go of the promise I made that Becca could be a stay at home mom while we raise our children. I had to let go of something I allowed myself to see as absolute truth. The truth that we were pregnant. This is a truth that Becca has not, and maybe will never fully let go. And if I’m totally honest, maybe neither will I.
My perspective on all of this is based largely around responsibility. I feel a responsibility to be there for her. A duty to understand what she is going through. I feel charged by the powers that be to care for her. I am a man. This is what I am “supposed” to do. Love, Honor, and Cherish. I love Becca and I cherish her, but maybe most importantly, I honor her. When I think of the word honor, I immediately flash to the stories and times of King Arthur, castles, and ladies-in-waiting. My mind goes to a time when honor meant chivalry and fearlessness. So in this vein, I began to assess the damage. Calculate the risk. Devise precisely the right words in an attempt to make Becca feel better : "It will be ok.” "We will try again.” “I love you so much, this is not your fault.” These were words generated based on things I knew she was feeling. Words I knew to say because she told me that’s how she felt. So why didn’t these words help? I was being supportive. I was listening and definitely trying to understand. I found it impossible to be the antithesis to her grief. I'm trying to figure out how to grieve too.
I wanted her to understand me too, but often my worries seemed much more concrete than hers. Here is a direct list of my concerns that maybe other husbands would relate to :
1-When will Becca feel better?
So, I googled. And was delivered an endless list of side effects and risks. Symptoms : Pain. Cramping. Bleeding. Scarring. So much concrete information. I was forced to recognize that learning about when these symptoms would resolve was not actually answering when my wife would feel better!! At this point I must throw in a very important NOTE to other partners in this position : do not read every topic/forum on the internet related to D&C together. You’ll find yourself in a endless cycle of what ifs and worry. Trust me, I know. Please reference the phrases such as : “It will be ok”, "Let’s wait to hear what the doctor says” and “Don’t worry, it’s only a 1 in 600 chance”.
2- How much is the deductible on my insurance?
This applies to my American readers (high deductible insurance premiums, I know you hear me). My wife is in physical pain and we're both in emotional pain after a surgery that we obviously didn't want to have and I'm looking at $5,700-10,000 deductible on top of the crazy rates already paid into our health plan monthly. This is a tough one to swallow. Of course I don't want to be worrying about this stuff at a moment like this, but it’s what I do, and someone has to. It seems it would have never been a point of stress if the bills resulted in a beautiful baby.
3-Why is Becca Crying?
I am just trying to discuss logical, factual things!!! Hormones. Right, I won’t forget. Sorry.
4-How do I encourage Becca to move on?
Should I suggest work as a distraction? Should I push her to find something to do? No. She knows what to do. She just wants you to love her. For an action-focused person this is sometimes hard to remember.
5-Where do we go from here????
Well, I’m not sure about this one, but I do thank our family and those that have given words of encouragement and support throughout this difficult time. It has helped a lot.
If anything, this experience has given me a new understanding of the word HONOR. The picture of what honor and chivalry is has evolved in my mind. It is no longer about galloping up on a white horse and fixing everything with a few swipes of a broadsword. Honoring has come to mean a constant give and take, it means a balance, a partnership. It sometimes means putting a need to process and express above a need to fix. In other words, to honor means the willingness to compromise and even sacrifice. It means honoring the fact that we have different processes of coping, but we will respect that and support each other the best we can anyway. Honoring also means giving myself time to grieve and process and focus on my own needs for the overall health of our relationship. We both need time to figure out what our new normal will be, but I know we will get through this together. We have a love that will never be broken. (I am always and forever here for you, Becca).