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Feelings After Losing a Pregnancy










QUESTION:

My partner and I were recently faced with a difficult event, the termination of pregnancy after 14 weeks.

My dilemma is this: On learning of her pregnancy I was ecstatic, truly it was the happiest moment of my life.

I'm 36 years old and this was to be our first child together and I don't have any children from previous relationships so the unexpected news was met with giddy abandonment on my part and I was determined to love and provide everything for this child to the best of my ability.

The news of complications was the worst moment I've had to date. After the surgical termination and the subsequent check-ups, it was found that should we choose to conceive again at a later date we should be able to.

My problem is a little different from the norm in that she wants to try again and I don't. The disappointment previously experienced was more than enough for my lifetime and the fear I have of knowing I won't be that excited as with the first pregnancy is disturbing. Almost knowing in advance I won't love the next child or look forward to it is killing me.




ANSWER:

This is a new one for me, partly because so few men ever talk about such things. The one thing I would challenge you on is knowing in advance you won't love your next child, because the science and all our experience with many thousands of new dads says you will.

Most men have mixed feelings until their baby arrives - initially excited then scared - and then the biology kicks in, the same biology that turned wild cave boys into monogamous dads who worked closely with their mates to care for and keep their many babies alive.

In the first six weeks of holding, soothing, bathing your baby - especially if you do the cave dad thing of putting your baby to sleep on your bare chest - you will develop chemical surges of oxytocin (aka love hormone) that will turn you to mush, and grow new neurons that will drive you to love and care for your child no matter what. Your child will also grow neurons dedicated to milking you for all you're worth, which you respond to with more chemical surges.

When born, you will hold him for the first time, stare into his eyes as he stares into yours, and when you welcome him to the world, he will recognize your voice and become calmer. It feels like he knows you are his father that will protect and care for him. When you calm him it will feel like "dad to the rescue", his first smile will send you for a loop (big oxytocin generator), and later when he gets excited when you walk into the room, all is good in your world.

We have always told the dads-to-be there are not words to describe how they will feel about their baby once he/she arrives, but I think you got a taste in those first weeks. Due to your experience, I believe you will love him even more. Give it some time - your experience was devastating and recent; everything I have learned indicates you will be a great dad. Good luck to you and your mate.

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