Yesterday I discovered that when I showed my husband Aisha Tyler's video, it really set him him back in his healing. I knew it made him sad to see it, as it did myself. But I didn't know it actually made things worse for him.
Men and Women. We are so different in how we need to handle things.
For me, reading, watching, talking and blogging about childlessness is helping me work my way through the grief. It is helping me to understand my emotions and how I feel about the many issues associated with this journey. Connecting with other women who are going through, or have gone through this, is a really important part of the grieving and healing process. As is crying over someone elses story, like Aisha Tyler.
For my husband, it is an altogether different story. Talking about it, hearing about it, reading about it. All these things make it worse for him. He needs to let take time him through the process. He needs space to allow the emotions to work their way through. He doesn't need to be reminded it about over and over. He doesn't need to immerse himself other people's stories.
He rightly believes that everyone's experiences are different, and what we are going through as a couple and individuals is unique to us. And that is true. So for him, there is no point in hearing about others. It only provides a constant reminder that we are going through something awful. And he gets enough of that just from daily living in our society, let alone from his own emotions and thoughts.
In contrast, for me it helps enormously. As I am reading other peoples stories and hearing their opinions and experiences, I am discovering what is true for me individually. I am agreeing with some things, and not agreeing with others. I am experiencing the same things as some people and not having the same experiences as some others. Instead of just living with confusing and overwhelming emotions, I am gaining structure and understanding to my grief. And I am learning a lot about myself along the way.
I greatly respect my husbands needs and, as such, I don't bring it up very often. But every now and then, it all just overwhelms me and I need to talk to him. He understands this just as much as I understand his need for silence. And he agrees that is important for us to talk about this as a couple. So, we are gradually finding a balance. When I really need to talk, he is fine with that. And I respect the fact that if I talk about it too much, it will drive him crazy!! Thank goodness for this blogging outlet!
Our talks can be stilted for a while, and then I will suddenly find out some amazing revelations about what he is going through. I love finding out how he is feeling and what he is experiencing. I love it when we connect on the same things, but I also appreciate it when I found out that something is so very different for him than it is for me. I treasure learning more about him. Each thing I discover strengthens my understanding of him and increases my respect for his own individual journey.
Our first wedding anniversary is this weekend. We've been together six years and started trying to conceive several years before we got married. But still, the end of the parenthood dream has been a huge issue for us to have to go through in this first year of marriage. My only hope is that it brings us closer together.
This is such a complex issue - the gender differences toward healing.
What has been your experience in the differences between how you and your partners have dealt with grieving the loss of parenthood?