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Men Speak Honestly About The Pain Of Mourning A Miscarriage

03/04/2015 12:18 pm ET | Updated Mar 04, 2015

When Jeremy Littau's wife had a miscarriage, he was told to be strong for her, but he had no idea how to process his own reaction to the loss.

After writing a powerful piece about his experience on Medium, Littau and two other men whose partners also miscarried joined HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd on Monday.

Littau explained that because our culture frames pregnancy as "something that women go through" and men just support, he had no idea how to think about his own emotions after losing the baby.

"You're in that support role for pregnancy, so when it translates into loss, I don't know how to pick that up and all of a sudden make it mine," Littau said.

Louis Upkins felt the same way when his wife miscarried, and when he finally opened up to a few male friends, he realized they'd all been told that their pain was theirs alone.

"What I found once I opened up is there were so many other men who equally had been challenged in this area but had almost been told to go away silently and deal with it -- 'that's what men do.' And the reality is our hearts break just like a female's," Upkins said.

This idea of separating the grief of men and women doesn't work, according to Russell Friedman, executive director of The Grief Recovery Institute. He told HuffPost Live that it's essential to give the same weight to the pain suffered by each partner:

[A parnter] is as devastated -- uniquely, as himself -- as his wife is uniquely herself. Every person grieves at 100 percent. I have never met a half a griever. I've never met a 90-percent griever. Each of us bring our own understanding on how to grieve and how to communicate and whether to talk to not, but I don't like the idea of separating the grief into the women's grief and the man's grief. That are different, but they are 100 percent of what they are.

But what happens when you're pushed to express your grief and you can't? Steve Volk, who wrote about his experience for Philadelphia Magazine, had to explain to his wife why he couldn't cry after her miscarriage. His energy was consumed with trying to support her, and it wasn't until he found an outlet uniquely his own that he could let it all out.

"There's no funerals for miscarriages. There's no sort of culturally accepted way to process that loss. So [my wife] and I dreamed up one together, a kind of ritual. We suffered two miscarriages, and we went and had our own sort of funeral in which we addressed the babies we had hoped to have," Volk said. "That was very emotional for me and I was able to express myself and my own feelings through that."

Watch the discussion in the video above.

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