I found myself asking my husband what he thought I should write about next on my blog. If there was something about grief or baby loss he felt should be spoken about to better help and inform the world of.
His response was quick and tender: “Talk about what it means for dads.”
And he’s absolutely right.
So many times, the focus and emphasis have been put on me. After all, I was the one who carried my baby. I was the one who felt the tiniest of kicks and the smallest of hiccups. I was the one who birthed my son, who literally felt life inside of me. Surely, one would think I hurt most.
Nevertheless, it’s far from true. And believe me, it’s only because I’m living it that I have a clearer picture of what grief means for dads. Because after losing Julian, I was so wrapped up in my own sorrows, that there were times I forgot my husband was also hurting.
But dads grieve, too.
Boy, do they grieve. Maybe not in the same way, maybe not at the exact same moments, but they sure do. My husband is no exception.
Aside from myself, my husband is literally the only other person on this planet who felt what I felt, saw what I saw, held what I held, in Julian’s final moments. That’s more than enough reason to recognize a father’s grief.
But we certainly do grieve differently.
I’m more open, wear my emotions on my sleeve, and much more vocal about Julian’s loss.
My husband isn’t.
But it doesn’t mean he isn’t grieving just because he doesn’t let the world know as I have chosen to do.
And I’ve had to remind myself this in the very beginning when we first lost Julian. Being the more vocal type, I kept talking about it, sharing my feelings and his story with others. My husband didn’t.
I kept breaking down and crying, in front of our living sons, alone in Julian’s room. My husband didn’t.
I kept talking about triggers and how certain things were so difficult for me to get through. My husband didn’t.
Finally, one day I couldn’t take it and just screamed, “Talk to me! What are your feelings?”
Only then did he break down. That’s when he told me how he keeps it all inside.
That there are so many times he’s on the verge of losing it, but then he looks at me and knows he has to be the stronger one. That if he breaks down too, who will be there to comfort me? If he talked about certain things, would that stress me out more? Would it make me cry harder?
Wow. No. No. No.
That is not how I want him to feel. I want him to be free of his feelings and emotions. I want him to tell me his thoughts.
So we talked, and cried, and held each other for a long time in the midst of our sorrows.
The thing is, the world is so quick to ask the mother how she’s doing and how she is coping, and the father gets left on the sidelines. It’s the way society is. It depicts that men should be the stronger ones, the ones who take care of the mother, the one who doesn’t crack or show they’re hurting. He himself thought this was how he should be.
But he lost a child, too.
My husband, who felt, heard, saw all the same things as I, didn’t nearly get checked on, asked about, or talked to as much as I did. I couldn’t help but feel sad that this man has felt the need to take on so much of my weight on top of his. And part of society expects him to. But we can change that.
So, if I ever cross your mind enough to utter the words to ask how I am, or enough to send me a message, do me a favor and think of him too. I can guarantee you the odds of him hurting inside are pretty high. He may not say much, he may not say anything at all, but I can tell you that to be thought of and to acknowledge his grief, will surely mean a lot.
Because when all is said and done, he lost his child, just as much as I lost mine.
Originally published on the author’s blog