'There was just no-one there to acknowledge that it happened to me as well': A qualitative study of male partner's experience of miscarriage

PLoS One. 2019 May 28;14(5):e0217395. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217395. eCollection 2019.

Abstract

Miscarriage occurs in up to one in four pregnancies and can be a devastating event affecting both men and women. Unfortunately, the male partner's experience of miscarriage is seldom researched, particularly within Australia. This qualitative study involved semi-structured telephone interviews with 10 Australian men, whose partners miscarried between three months and ten years ago. Participants were recruited through professional networks and support organisations. Interviews explored men's general miscarriage experience and the support received or lacking from both healthcare providers and social networks. Online health seeking behaviour and opinions on online support were also discussed. Data was transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Most men described feeling significant grief following miscarriage and felt that there was little acknowledgment of their loss, both from healthcare providers and within their social networks. Feelings of sadness, devastation, powerlessness, fear, shock and a loss of identity were common. All men felt their primary role at the time of miscarriage was to support their partner. Most men did not want to burden their partner with their emotions or grief, and struggled to find people within their social networks to talk to about their loss, leading to feelings of isolation. Overall participants felt there was inadequate support offered to men affected by miscarriage. Men wanted information, informed professionals to talk to and male-orientated support networks. A website was one mechanism suggested by men which could adequately contribute to information and support needs during this time. Men are often greatly affected by miscarriage and yet there is all too often little acknowledgement or support available to them at this time. Men affected by miscarriage want and need further support, including reputable, Australian based information and resources tailored their needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Grief
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Social Networking
  • Social Support

Grant support

JEB is in receipt of a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship Number 1035135 (www.nhmrc.gov.au). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. JEB received a partial salary from the funding body to support her postdoctoral studies.