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“Men and Women Grieve Differently” is the Understatement of the Year

I will never forget the moment right after Harper was born when my husband took my hand, and with tears running down his face, he said over and over again, “we will get through this. I promise, we will get through this together.” I was holding our beautiful daughter, and with the look in my eyes, I think he was afraid he would lose me forever into the vast void of grief.

We shared the same exact experience, moment for moment, and yet we ended up grieving so differently. My feelings came out like water works; the tears came all the time, anywhere. Business meeting? Yup, put the team on mute while I cried my eyes out. Grocery store? Oh definitely, so many triggers like walking next to a family with a newborn. School drop off?  Absolutely, because I should have been taking 2 children, not one.  I had to talk it out, weekly, sometimes twice weekly with my grief therapist.  I needed to wrap my head around what had happened to us and how we were going to survive.  My grief had no mercy, but his did, and I was envious. I felt lonely in my despair. He seemed like he had this whole “baby-loss” thing down pat, and compared to him, I was failing! I DON’T fail at anything in life. I am the true type A, super over-achiever that had accomplished more in my 35 years than many do in their lifetime.  “I should be handling this better,” I would say to myself.

I wanted to see my husband cry daily; I needed to know he was miserable to! Misery loves company after all. I wanted him to be JUST LIKE ME and then it dawned on me, he’s never been just like me. He is actually the complete opposite in almost every way, so why all the sudden would we deal with this the same? As long as he honored the way I grieved, then that’s all I needed from him. I stopped being envious of how he held it together, and started being grateful that he was, because God knows I wasn’t.  I was a mess. He had his role and I had mine.  Maybe he let me do some of the grieving for both of us.  Maybe I let him create all the distractions, like dates with friends and family because I too longed to be the “old me.”  It actually doesn’t matter either way, all that matters is that we navigated through it together. 

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