A little while ago Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, his wife, opened up about a traumatic and often silenced topic – they revealed to the world that they suffered through three (3) different miscarriages before successfully getting pregnant.
They earned a lot of admiration and praise for their courage, however the most remarkable part was that Zuckerberg talked about it to the public first. Modern society often shines a light on the struggles that a woman goes through after loosing a baby, but a man’s struggles are often overlooked, ignored or forgotten.
The Facebook founder raised a great deal of awareness when he took to the social media platform to write that people feel really hopeful when they learn that they are about to have a child. He then added that “You start imagining who that baby will become and dreaming of their future. You start making plans”, and in the case of miscarriages, all of a sudden they’re gone.
The main message that Zuckerberg wanted to send through was that “It’s a lonely experience”. But unfortunately it is not a rare experience. Statistically speaking, one in four (1 in 4) pregnancies end up being miscarriages, and Zuckerberg said that most people refuse to talk about the experience out of fear of realizing that they somehow did something to cause the miscarriage.
Ruth Bender-Atik, spokesperson for the Miscarriage Association, offered a statement explaining that most of the miscarriages take place within “the first 12 weeks of pregnancy”. But they can also occur “up to 23 weeks and 6 days” after the pregnancy.
Bender-Atik went on to share that a woman is more danger of having a miscarriage once she enters her late 30s. However, the risk also increases if a woman has had at least two (2) other miscarriages in the past.
Even though most of the organizations offer counseling, support and advice to both men and women, men dealing with the loss of a child are usually paid less attention than their wives.
Sharon Covington, director of psychological support services at the Shady Grove Fertility Center (Washington, D.C), offered a statement saying that “Men are the forgotten grievers”. She went on explain why women typically get more attention than men – on one hand, women show their emotions a lot more than men, on the other, they usually need a D&C, which adds a medical crisis to the emotional behavior.
The media may also share some of the blame as this type on news is often one sided. When a famous couple loses a baby, TV stations and newspapers generally interview women and women alone – Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Nicole Kidman, Lily Allen, Bethenny Frankel.
But previous studies have revealed that men are affected by miscarriages as much as women. The only difference is that they sometimes process the loss differently. It turns out that the old stereotype of men drinking their emotional trauma away applies to a lot of grieving men.
Other men develop depression or a state on anxiety after the loss of a baby.
Irving Leon, psychologist and expert in reproductive loss from the University of Michigan, informed that there are two (2) key differences between how men and women grieve a miscarriage.
Men experience a less intense form of grief as they don’t struggle with self-blame. Most women who’ve had a miscarriage have the feeling that their own body turned against them.
The other difference is also related to social stereotypes – men generally feel that they need to stay strong, show less emotion and take care of their significant other through this time of crisis.
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