What about the father? Matt & Jenny Kistler share on miscarriage, disappointment & stillbirth

The Kistler family…and lions

The Kistler family…and lions

Miscarriage is all too common and it is difficult to talk about.  If care is given, it is usually directed towards a grieving mother.  Yet, what about the father?  When men are overlooked in the grieving process, what is the cost?  How can you give meaningful support to both parents?  In part two of the series on miscarriage and infant loss, Matt and Jenny Kistler share their story.  

You can listen to the entirety of our conversation here. The Handle with Care podcast can also be found on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify.

Here are three thoughts at the close of this second conversation on miscarriage and infant loss.

  1. Not all miscarriages are the same; there can be a wide variance based on the timing of the loss.  Regardless of timing, do not reduce the loss as you talk with a grieving parent.  Especially avoid statements that begin with words like, “At least…”  These phrases minimize the impact of the loss.

  2. If you know a couple that has experienced miscarriage or infant loss, have you taken time to reach out to both the mother and the father?  Matt talked about being overlooked as care focused on Jenny.  Make time to communicate care to a grieving father, to ask him how he is doing and to acknowledge that he shares in this loss. 

  3. Saying “I’m sorry” is a good response to someone who is experiencing loss. As Jenny said, it allowed her to chance to talk if she wanted to or to just acknowledge the sentiment with a thank you. This expression of care also let her know that she was not along in the midst of her pain.

2018 Christmas card photo

2018 Christmas card photo

Here are a few additional excerpts from our conversation

How to reach out to a grieving father

 18:40 - Matt Kistler

You I just think it's as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee or a beer or whatever it just depends on how well you know, I mean, I know someone really well, it's going to impact the way that I approach situation. But I think just, that engaging and just saying, “How's your wife doing? How the kids?” is going to sound right.

Like, “how are you doing? Are you impacted like, like you held a baby, that was a very traumatic issue. What are your thoughts?” I mean it takes the right person in the right relationship to do that, but I definitely think that there's a, there's a place for it. There's an appropriate timing for it and just, I think that conversation might have been 10 minutes long, but that's just enough to like, that person to say, “Hey I've been there, I know what it's like ,if you need someone to call, that’s great, but just know I like I've been there ,I see it. I identify with it.”

Avoiding bitterness

29:17 - Jenny Kistler

I have seen with friends and acquaintances…is a tendency amongst women to become bitter when friends and people they know become pregnant if they've had a loss and they're not pregnant again. Yet again, having multiple losses and obviously that also can sometimes go along with infertility, not always. Sometimes it's just loss and my advice there would be to try to find joy for others no letting that bitterness grow. You have had a loss and you see someone else. It's just focusing inward and away and it just causes destruction on yourself you know, you, it hurts your relationship. I've heard stories of women that just get so bent out of shape because so-and-so shared that they were pregnant. I just thought that was so insensitive to them because they just had a miscarriage and, obviously, this is my opinion. But the problem with that is that you are unable to step outside of your own pain and see that this person's joy really is unrelated to your pain and you all have to find a way to be happy for others when they are given joy.