Miscarriage: Partners Feel 'Invisible'

The partners of women who have recently miscarried often feel invisible and unable to talk about their own feelings of loss and pain, according to a new study.

The majority say they reacted to their partner's miscarriage with sadness, grief and shock, but almost a quarter didn't share their feelings with their partner, often for fear of adding to her sadness or saying the wrong thing.

These are the findings of a study involving 160 people by the Miscarriage Association and University College London.

Almost half of the partners surveyed said their grief affected their work, while 58 per cent said they struggled to concentrate and 47 per cent reported sleep problems.

But those who did share their feelings with their partner often found that it helped them both through their loss.

A further 22 per cent said they felt excluded by healthcare staff who directed all information regarding the miscarriage and support services towards their partner.

Getting support from others was also reported to be a problem, as many found that while friends and family might ask how the woman who miscarried was coping, they very rarely were asked how her partner was coping.

The partners surveyed explained the main things which would have helped them were: having friends or family check they're OK, hearing other people's stories and experiences, and having healthcare professionals speak directly to them as well.

In response to these findings the Miscarriage Association has launched a public awareness campaign called 'Partners Too'.

Ruth Bender Atik, national director of the Miscarriage Association, said: "These findings show that partners often feel invisible during and after miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy.

"All too often the voices of partners go unheard and their needs go unmet. We want this campaign to highlight their stories, showing partners that they are not alone in their feelings and telling them where they can find support.

"We want them to be considered, rather than sidelined, during and after pregnancy loss."

It is thought as many as one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage and a further two per cent are ectopic (when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb).

For more information and support on miscarriage, contact The Miscarriage Association.

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