Last week Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, talked about a very silent topic – they admitted that they went through three (3) miscarriages before successfully getting pregnant.
They both earned a lot of praise for their courage, but the most remarkable think was that Zuckerberg was the one who first talked publicly about the experience. Modern day society often points out the struggles that women go through after a miscarriage, but men are often a forgotten part of the equation.
The Facebook founder wrote on the social media platform that you feel very hopeful when you learn that you are about to have a child. He 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.
Zuckerberg shared that “It’s a lonely experience”. But it’s not a rare experience as health experts inform that one in four (1 in 4) pregnancies turn into miscarriages.
Ruth Bender-Atik, spokeswoman for the Miscarriage Association, gave a statement informing that the majority of miscarriages take place within “the first 12 weeks of pregnancy”. However, they can take “up to 23 weeks and 6 days” to happen.
The spokeswoman went on to inform that the risk of having a miscarriage increases when a woman enters her late 30s. But having had two or more miscarriages in the past also raises the risk.
Even though many organizations, including Bender-Atik’s, offer advice, support and counseling to both members of the couple, men struggling with the loss of a baby are generally paid less attention than women. They’re simply expected to be less affected by the event.
The media may be partly to blame as well as even among celebrities, the ones who are usually cited speaking about the loss are generally women – Nicole Kidman, Mariah Carey, Beyonce.
Sharon Covington, psychological support services director at the Shady Grove Fertility Center (Washington, D.C), gave a statement of her own saying that “Men are the forgotten grievers”. She also explained that women usually get more attention because of two (2) reasons – they are more likely to show their emotions, and they often need a D&C, adding a medical crisis on top of the emotional behavior.
But research has shown that men grieve the loss of a baby every bit as much as women do, even if they might process it differently. Studies have shown that they may drink their emotional trauma away in a very stereotypical fashion, or develop anxiety and depression.
One key difference according to Irving Leon, a psychologist from the University of Michigan who specializes in reproductive loss, is that men grieve less actively or intensely because they don’t experience self-blame. They don’t have the feeling that their own bodies turned against them.
It’s also important to mention that men feel like they have to be the strong one in the couple and look after their significant other. Bender-Atikn reminds everyone that as far as gender stereotypes go, men are expected not to show their feelings, and some men still guide themselves by this world views.
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