The strong silent type. In a world of instantaneous global communication, endless information and opinion, many men are still incredibly guarded about their emotions and refuse to speak on topics that ultimately are shared experiences among many. The affect that a miscarriage has on the man in the equation is one of those topics.
I’m going to resist pretty much every instinct I have as a man and speak about in one of the most public ways available to me, this blog.
Mama Fearse met me outside the beach house when I returned from playing basketball in the city the night prior. When she jumped into the car to talk to me, I immediately sensed that something was awry. I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was worried, really worried and that she wanted/needed me to be strong. We talked about the bleeding and what it could mean, we agreed that if the pregnancy had ended that it was probably nature knowing best, I reassured her, I held her and I pushed the lump in my throat deep into my stomach. I constantly reassured Mama that it was going to be okay, even though I had no idea whether or not it would be.
Up until the moment that we found out that we had lost the pregnancy I was supremely confident it was going to be okay, I saw the look on the doctors face a moment before he put his hand on Mama’s shoulder to console her. I thought not of myself at that point, I didn’t think of my loss, I only thought of Mama. When she elected to have the D&C that night I marveled at her strength, in the same position I don’t think I would of been as brave. I wished and wished I could take her place, I didn’t think it was fair that on top of losing the pregnancy that she would also have to have surgery. We dropped off Lil Fearse and headed to the hospital, I read all the information and pamphlets that they thrust in our hands and although they are designed to inform and comfort the affected, I found that they made me feel much worse and I tried to hide them away from Mama, she had enough on her plate and I felt like I would be protecting her by sparing her the sad truth and statistics.
Mama went into surgery and I went home for an hour. I made phone calls to the few close friends and family that knew. I did this with a eerie calmness, the people I called expressed their sadness, but I didn’t, I waxed philosophical and comforted them, even though I was the one that needed comfort. I paced and paced in the backyard, I drank a glass of whisky and smoked the remnants of a broken cigarette that was in my office, it didn’t help. I felt sick. I felt helpless. Before I knew it I was on my way back to the hospital to Mama who was back in her room lucid and calm. We watched TV and asked when we could leave. we both wanted to get home, back to the safety and comfort that the Fearse Cave affords us.
I poured myself generous glass after generous glass of whisky, I hadn’t been drinking since Mama had fallen pregnant, but given the circumstance I jumped headlong back into an age old practice, swallow your grief and try and drown it in liquor. I don’t drink alcohol in front of Lil Fearse as to set an example for her and not to normalise alcohol consumption even on a semi regular basis.
My father was a heavy drinker and in hindsight seeing that normalised in my childhood led to years of me doing the same and thinking nothing of it. The arrival of Lil Fearse changed that for me though. My father was a man of very, very few words, in a way this gave what he did say more impact when he would open up, but those occasions were quite rare. My father died from a heart attack when he was 45, I was 15. The heart attack that killed him was his fourth and was surely not helped by his reluctance to live a more healthy lifestyle. I am incredibly proud of the man my father was and miss him every day, I feel cheated that I do not have him around to talk about fatherhood. The man that I am today is by and large a result of what I observed in the 15 years I got to spend with him upon this mortal coil. Talking about Dad, however, is probably best saved for another time.
There was a thick fog of sadness enveloping our home. Mama and I didn’t want to leave the bed or the couch for at least a week solid. Lil Fearse kept us smiling and ultimately grateful that we had her in our lives. In the sadness of this situation she was the gleaming beacon of joy that kept us moving, kept us talking and didn’t allow us to collapse into deeper depression. I talked with Mama Fearse daily about how she felt, constantly reassured her that there was nothing that she had done that had caused this loss to happen. We mourned the dream that could of been. We grieved for that dark shadow with a heartbeat we has seen weeks earlier. I overheard the conversations and support that came in for Mama from her friends and family. The revelations that friends of ours had gone through the same thing,
I received no phone calls, I had maybe one conversation that was any longer or of any more substance than “That sucks, bro…..So how about them Yankees?” with other men. No one wanted to talk about it, no one wanted to admit it had happened to them and no one wanted to tell me about their emotions or ask about mine. The idea that men are emotionally bulletproof is a falsehood, I felt angry, guilty, depressed, inferior and had waves of self pity. The emotion that was most overwhelming of all though was the feeling of helplessness. I couldn’t change what had happened, I couldn’t fix it or make it better, I couldn’t take my wife’s place and at times I couldn’t begin to understand the physical toll it had taken on her body.
Don’t get me wrong here people, I am in no way here preaching about how hard it is to be a man. I just wanted to shed some light on what a man goes through in the situation in the hope that someone somewhere who is going through the same thing read this and knows that it’s okay to own the way you feel about your families miscarriage, you might be the third person in the conversation when it comes to pregnancy and parenting but that’s okay too. You aren’t alone, chances are one out of three of your friends have experienced this, they understand, even if they wont bloody say so..
Keep Your Head Up Fellas.
BIg Poppa Fearse.