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Intimacy after mc


Forum: Recurrent Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss

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  #1  
August 23rd, 2006, 05:48 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 12,330
I thought I would share this as mrobinson (a great gal here at JM) shared it with me. It was an article in the paper. Some of the info listed is different than what we may have been directed by our Dr's or what we have read for statistics, but I thought overall it had good info & some here might find value in it.


Re-establishing intimacy after a miscarriage

Dr. Trina Read
Calgary Herald


Monday, August 07, 2006


It seems everyone has an opinion to share after you've had a miscarriage. In some ways, it is healing to know you are not alone and that people are trying to understand the pain you are going through.

As well, you can go on the Internet to find a plethora of much-needed miscarriage education.

You will learn miscarriages are more common than people think: 15 per cent of pregnancies end up spontaneously miscarrying. You will learn that with all the estrogen being circulated in the drinking water, meat, plastics and such, women's hormones have become imbalanced, creating a nation of barren women who don't know why.

You will also learn that if you are healthy and the miscarriage is "normal," after a gynecological checkup you can resume sexual relations within four to six weeks.

And so four to six weeks passes, and it is time to climb into bed with your partner to have sex. This is the moment things can go two ways: Your heartbreaking experience can bring you closer, or it can start to subtly whittle you two apart.

The key to becoming closer? Communication. Keeping the lines of communication open will strengthen the fragile intimacy that binds you together.

Miscarriage is fraught with so much emotion, there is an understandable propensity to ignore, deny and pretend it doesn't exist. It's the big white elephant of your relationship: omnipresent, but no one will discuss the fact it's there.

And it certainly doesn't help that men and women see the ordeal through a different set of eyes. The woman has had a front row seat from Day 1; while her partner has been sitting in the wings watching the drama of her morning sickness, excitement and extreme tiredness unfold. Hence, when the fetus is lost, neither appreciates the other's perspective.

Kristen Swanson, a registered nurse and PhD, surveyed 185 couples who went through a miscarriage. She found first-time dads did not consider the baby "real" until they held it in their arms.

Swanson asked the women two open-ended questions one week, six weeks, one month and one year later:

1. How has your miscarriage affected your relationship with your partner?

2. How has your miscarriage affected your

sexual relationship?

Of the respondents, 23 per cent felt their relationship was back to normal one year after their miscarriage, and only six per cent said their sexual relationship was closer. More than one-third of respondents felt distant from their partner interpersonally and sexually and were actively avoiding pregnancy.

During this time, the more a woman feels distant from her partner, the more she may repress her anger, frustration, confusion and depression. Sex can become a minefield as each sexual encounter is a brutal reminder of her loss. Non-communication means spinning deeper into a negative emotional spiral, making the sex over time more difficult to have with her partner.

When I suggest to women they need to talk to their partner about how both are feeling, their feedback usually is, "Although he is trying to understand, he just doesn't get it. He thinks I'm being overly emotional. So I go to my girlfriends for support."

It's always healthy and a great idea to seek outside support. However, although it might be difficult to get him to open up emotionally, he will be even more alienated if ignored.

There's the rub. Even though both experienced this loss together, they are pushing each other away. There can be no intimacy with this dynamic.

Women's next question is, "How can I start a conversation?"

Honestly is always the best policy. If you feel abandoned and want help to pull through this difficult time, tell him.

Swanson encourages couples to start with, "Naming what they have lost," and then discussing how they feel about their loss. The partner who is listening needs to close their mouth, open their ears and appreciate what the other person has been going through.

Once you've climbed this hurdle, discuss if you want to have a ceremony to mark the loss -- to grieve it properly, to make it real and then put it to rest.

By communicating, grieving and then making motions to move forward, only then can your relationship not hang in post-miscarriage limbo. Now when you two climb into bed after four to six weeks, it's not going to be a wacky, awkward experience. Instead, let it be the glue that brings you even closer to your partner, easing you into pregnancy once again.

Trina Read is a motivational speaker and writer with a doctorate of human sexuality. E-mail comments and questions to drtrina@trina-read.com.
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  #2  
August 23rd, 2006, 06:50 PM
srs srs is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
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