"Given the frequency of pregnancy loss, these findings could have significant societal implications if related," says lead author Katherine Gold, MD, MSW, MS, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School. "Miscarriage and stillbirth can be powerful and traumatic events for families. While many couples become closer after a loss, if a couple was struggling before the loss, this could be a huge stress for their relationship."
A key factor seems to lie in how men and women process their grief. The results call for additional research, to learn more about specific risks and whether or not certain interventions can help long-term marriage and cohabitation outcomes.
New York Times writer Lisa Belkin says that informing couples of the risks to their marriage at the time of the loss might encourage them to seek help sooner, either individually or together (through couples therapy).
I'm certainly inclined to agree about the importance of grief counseling for both parents after the loss of a baby. I've had two miscarriages -- each near the end of the first trimester -- and although we were both completely and utterly devastated, I found there to be certain differences in how my husband and I each processed our loss. The first time, I was completely consumed with grief and couldn't understand how my husband could carry on almost normally. Turns out, that impression was sheerly external: He felt compelled to put on a brave face because he wanted to be strong for me.
Through a lot of honest discussion, we came through it holding hands, but I've seen firsthand how this heartache can crack the earth between a couple -- and how that crack can easily widen into a chasm.
How about you guys? Have you known any couples to split after the trauma of losing a pregnancy?
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel serves as momlogic's East Coast Editor. She has written for The New York Times, Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the Web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|