Dear Amy: My partner and I were so excited last year when we learned we were pregnant for the first time. We waited to tell our families until the end of the first trimester. Then, right after we told everyone of the good news, I had a miscarriage.
Since then, I feel I've been struggling to move forward.
The fact that it happened during the pandemic while we already had been feeling isolated makes this loss feel harder to me, and losing the pregnancy just after sharing it feels especially cruel.
I'm having a hard time going to work, staying in touch with friends, exercising, sometimes even getting out of bed.
My partner has been struggling with the loss in his own way and I am often finding myself feeling more distant from him than ever.
Do you have any advice about what I can do to bear up under this sadness?
Amy says: I am so sorry you are going through this.
Some of what you are experiencing might be triggered by hormonal changes. Your body needs time to adjust to what you have been through. Contact your doctor, describe your depression and exhaustion, and ask for advice regarding possible treatments, including antidepressant medication. Ask for a referral to a mental health professional.
It is vital that you continue to take care of your body with good nutrition, light exercise and sleep as you heal.
Ask a supportive friend or family member to call you every day for the next three weeks. Even if you don't pick up the phone, knowing someone is checking in will help.
You and your partner are bound to experience this loss differently, because the loss of a pregnancy has a physical, hormonal and emotional component for the pregnant woman that her partner cannot experience.
Your partner is hurting, too, and may be extremely worried about you, so he doesn't want to burden you further by expressing his own feelings of loss. This makes both of you feel even more alone.
Take time every day to hold hands and show compassion toward one another. Consider ways to memorialize this loss in a way that feels right for both of you.
There are many online support groups, too. Mymiscarriagematters.org offers one-on-one supportive mentoring as well as daily "live chats." The organization has a separate group for men.
Help yourself, first
Dear Amy: I have been seeing my boyfriend since 2010. He agreed to be my boyfriend in 2014, and since then has not been very emotional with me. He makes me feel like I'm begging for love and attention, yet he tells me he loves me.
He grew up witnessing violence between his alcoholic parents. I feel this is maybe why he lacks emotion and openness within our relationship. I am so in love with him, I want to grow old with him.
Since I know I can't change his personality, how could I get myself to be less frustrated with the constant guessing within our relationship? I simply want to make him happy.
Unfortunately, he is currently suffering from alcohol addiction. He hasn't been interested in self-help literature or AA.
Amy says: The best thing to do would be to take some of the helping and healing energy you are expending on your boyfriend and apply it to yourself. Start attending Al-Anon meetings through al-anon.org. Read up on codependency.
When you understand your own motivations, your presence in this relationship will come into sharper focus. You can then make decisions about your own life, vs. trying to control his.
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.