After his child was stillborn, a 31-year-old husband found himself at odds with his 30-year-old wife. The cause of their conflict was his wife’s assertion he had no right to grieve.
He took to the Relationship Advice subReddit to seek guidance.
Redditor ThrowRAconcernedHB posted:
“My wife says I don’t have the right to be upset about losing our child.”
“My wife and I have been together 6 years and married 2. We have always wanted kids but wanted to wait and not rush at the start of our marriage.”
“The pregnancy came as a surprise but a very welcomed and happy one.”
“Everything went smoothly throughout the pregnancy. There were never any signs of issues.”
“We decorated the nursery together and put up the furniture. We were so excited to meet our baby and be parents.”
“She carried to term and the day of the birth again things were ok. She gave birth and we didn’t hear any crying.”
“We were so confused and you can see it in the doctors’ eyes that they were very concerned. I can’t begin to explain the heartbreak when we were told that our little girl didn’t make it.”
“We were able to hold her and she was so beautiful.”
“A funeral home has a free funeral service for little angels so we buried ours just the two of us. I have never seen a casket so small.”
“I have been trying to be strong for my wife. I only cry when she’s not around so when she needs me I’m there.”
“It’s been hard to stay strong when she’s crying in my arms. Seeing her like this adds to the pain.”
“Last night I couldn’t hold it in and started bawling with her. She didn’t like that at all.”
“She started saying that I was trying to make it about me. How I should be the man and support her.”
“She also said that I don’t have the right to be so upset because I wasn’t the one carrying her and giving birth. She went to bed and left me there.”
“I know she has it worse than me because she carried our angel and gave birth to her. I just didn’t expect her to react that way.”
“But I lost my daughter too. I wanted to be a father, I didn’t get to change her diaper for the first time and spend my first sleepless night with her crying.”
“I lost her too.”
“I know that my wife is hurting which is why she’s reacting that way. How do I support her better but also let her know how I feel in a way that doesn’t seem like I’m taking away from her?”
Redditors overwhelmingly suggested counseling for both the OP and his wife.
However some Redditors included some unhelpful comments and suggestions.
The Original Poster returned with an update.
He included some very pointed criticisms for how some Redditors responded.
“I want to first of all say thank you for the help and advice. I tried reading as many comments as I could. It’s a lot to get through and I appreciate the help.”
“I read a few comments that sort of blamed me for my wife’s reaction and assumed that I treated her pregnancy and the birth as if it wasn’t a big deal. I’m not sure where I implied that.”
“When I say that the pregnancy went smoothly I meant that the doctors never found any medical problems and that both of my girls were healthy. I have never once and never will dismiss that experience.”
“If I treated everything she went through like it ‘wasn’t a big deal’ I wouldn’t even be here asking how I can make things better for her. I also never even equated our pain I believe what I wrote is ‘I know she has it worse than me because she carried our angel and gave birth to her’.”
And ‘I know that my wife is hurting which is why she’s reacting that way. How do I support her better but also let her know how I feel in a way that doesn’t seem like I’m taking away from her?’ I’m not sure where I equated our pain.”
“If anything I am diminishing my own pain in order to support her or at least I tried to. Even after what she said I wasn’t mad at her.”
“I was hurt but I wasn’t mad. I know she said it out of pain. It still hurts.”
“I didn’t need to read that I’m a piece of sh*t husband that doesn’t care for my wife because I’m also grieving the loss of our daughter.”
“I see her every day. I see the pain that she is in. I hear it. I can’t begin to imagine it and I never will be able to understand it.”
“I know that what she is going through is worlds different than me. If I could take all her pain and put it on me believe me I would. No question.”
What I also didn’t need to read is how my wife is ‘evil’ and other countless mean words. That wasn’t the point of my post. It wasn’t to boost my ego and to bash my wife.”
“It’s incredibly rude and unhelpful in every way. I asked a question because I was at a loss and didn’t know how to proceed.”
My wife isn’t a bad person at all. She’s an amazing woman and she honestly deserves the world. She doesn’t deserve this at all.”
“Thank you to those of you who acknowledged what she said but also didn’t speak ill of her. It doesn’t make me feel any better having people say those things about her.”
“She’s not abusive or a monster. It made me sick reading those comments. It’s upsetting that I even have to say this but it’s the internet, I get that.”
“Apologies for the rant I just wanted to let off some steam.”
He then included some more insight into his background.
“I’ve always felt the need to be ‘superman’.”
“When I was 16 I lost my father and it was extremely hard on my mother and I. I had to be her rock then or I would’ve lost her too.”
“This caused me to act out in ways people would call ‘evil’ to others around me. I’ve lost friends because of that.”
“I held it in at home for my mom and it came out in an ugly way. I can understand why my wife is reacting this way and I’m not going to leave her over this.”
“I wasn’t planning on it. I want to be there for her but I don’t think I can be there for her the way I have been.”
“I can’t carry the weight of both our pains on my shoulders anymore. I’m barely holding on right now.”
“I feel like I’m in a speeding car with no steering wheel or brakes.”
“I haven’t mentioned anything to my wife about her comments and I don’t think I will right now.”
The OP then shared he would be seeking therapy for him and his wife.
“I’ll be looking into some counseling dealing with this type of situation.”
“I also want to look into some counseling for [postpartum depression] for my wife. I’ve heard stories of how heartbreaking it could be when it isn’t taken seriously. I don’t even want to imagine it.”
“I hope we find the help we both need and that we can come together eventually.”
His wife is receiving support from family and friends, but he knows it is not enough.
“Our friends and family have been by her side as well. They call and text her often. Her mom and sister come over too. I’m happy that she is getting extra support.”
“I wish I was doing more for her myself. It didn’t occur to me how me crying in her presence could make her feel worse.”
“I feel guilty now like I’m failing her. It would be nice to get a check in from our loved ones once in a while but she needs it more so it’s ok, I want her to get the most help. I’ll use the counseling.”
“As stupid as it may sound, having strangers tell me that it’s ok to cry made me tear up a bit. The only person in my life who has told me that is my father.”
“Whenever I would get hurt as a kid instead of telling me don’t cry, he’d say that it’s ok to do so. He’s the type of man and father I aspire to be.”
“Hopefully, with the outside help I will be stronger for my wife. Thanks again.”
“I love my wife and I want us to get through this and come out stronger together. I love my daughter and she will forever be my first born.”