I was to become a father to my first child on September 4th, 2023. Sadly, this wasn’t meant to be as just 10 days after discovering my wife was pregnant, we were sent to the early pregnancy unit to be told the pregnancy was in fact ectopic.
That’s when my life flipped upside down.
The appointment was made for the next day after we had noticed a small bleed. I had work commitments that I didn’t want to avoid if not necessary, but fortunately my wife made sure I attended the hospital visit. I had drilled it into my mind everything would be fine, and that my luck couldn’t get much worse after losing 3 family members in 18 months. How wrong could I be.
The moment we got told I didn’t know whether to be sad, angry, or how to deal with my own emotions, whilst trying to be the ever-strong male figure in our relationship. Being told the pregnancy was ectopic was the worst news id ever received, made worse by the fact I was made to feel I wasn’t even in the room. The nurse only apologising to my wife for her loss. Yes, granted she was the one physically pregnant but as the saying goes ‘it takes two to tango’ – the same goes for the pregnancy.
When the news was broken to us all I could do was hold my wife’s hand in reassurance to her. I felt useless, I couldn’t ease the pain she was feeling. I knew there was nothing I could do but be a shoulder for her and her emotions. To this day that is what I do and will always do for her.
‘Luckily’ for us the only saving grace to this horrendous situation was that there no following surgery for my wife which, in my mind, was the best outcome to a situation that I had no control over. I tend to be someone that likes to be in control of the situation and struggle to comprehend things I can’t be in control of.
The following weeks were a struggle for me mentally to be strong for my partner but, also to try and deal with my own emotion. As a man, I tend to keep things to myself and just tell the world ‘I’m fine’, when in fact it’s clear to see that we are not. It’s okay not to be okay all the time.
I don’t think the scars will ever heal from the ectopic, but you learn to live with and manage the emotion.
For us fathers it can be very difficult as we weren’t the physically pregnant ones so it should be easier for us, right? Because we only deal with the emotional side, whereas the mothers deal with both mental and physical; so, it feels like we can be brushed under the carpet, and we’ll be alright because we always are.
There isn’t a day I don’t think about what could have been, where we would be, what stage of the pregnancy we’d be at, how excited I was and question why it happened. Why? That’s the funny thing no one has been able to give a reason as to why it happened, just a sorry that it happened. How am I meant to be able to move on without answers. Was it something I did? Could I have done something better? As a husband I feel it is one of my duties to be able to protect and look after my wife, but this experience has left me feeling like a failure.
Days go just as the sun goes up and goes down and life moves on, but the pain will always be there, just becoming a numb feeling I get each day. It has now become something that has happened and how I felt then. People expect me to be fine with it now, as if it was just something to only be bothered about it at the time. How do you tell people that it still hurts to hear your friends are now pregnant, and that everything is fine with their pregnancy. Of course, you’re happy for them but each and every time it breaks me.
Writing this has been very hard for me as I’ve always kept my emotion to myself, not to be seen as a weak man that can’t handle emotion. But this should be seen as an aid for other partners to know that it’s completely okay to struggle with the emotions and the physical pain that ectopic pregnancy causes us.
Ryan’s wife, Jennie, has also shared her experience which you can read here.
Partners often focus on their loved one who has experienced the ectopic pregnancy physically. We recognise that partners also have complex emotions of their own to navigate at the same time. We have more information on our dedicated partners space.
Thank you to Ryan for sharing his experience. If you would like to share your experience of ectopic pregnancy, please visit our guide for more information. Please remember our support services are available at any time.
To help shape the services that The EPT offers, we are hoping to put together a new partners engagement group. We want to hear from partners on what you think would support other partners during and after diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy and how we could best assist. Please complete this short form if you would like to take part and thank you for your interest.