DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married 13 years. Early on, we struggled to have children and needed reproductive specialists in order to have our two beautiful girls, ages 4 and 8.
During my wife's second pregnancy she had mini-strokes. We were advised against another pregnancy, which surprisingly happened two months ago. Faced with the difficult decision of continuing the pregnancy and risking my wife's health, or ending the life of a child we would never see, know or raise, we chose the latter.
My wife feels I'm not grieving because I'm trying to show little, if any, emotion. I assure you I hurt inside enormously. How can I reassure her of such, while trying to be a "strong man"? And how do we avoid the stigma associated with our choice by those who may have known about the pregnancy? Never has the quote "Don't judge people until you have walked a mile in their shoes" rung so true. -- DAD OF 2 FLOWERS AND ONE ANGEL
DEAR DAD: I'm sorry about your loss, and for the pain you and your wife are experiencing. However, while I appreciate that you are trying to be strong and put on a brave face, that may not be what she needs right now. A grief therapist could help you two reconnect on an emotional level and communicate your feelings more effectively with each other.
As to your worries about "stigma" for ending a pregnancy that put your wife's life at risk, there shouldn't be any. While bringing a new life into the world is wonderful, your wife has a greater responsibility to her two little girls. They need their mother -- as do you.
If anyone has the gall to make a negative comment, her response should be that the pregnancy was terminated because her doctors told her that carrying it to term might have resulted in her death. Anyone who would judge your wife after hearing that isn't worth her time or yours. Trust me on that.