In “Couple Communication After A Baby Dies,” we get the “straight talk” about the ways in which parents can and should communicate after pregnancy loss or the loss of an infant. As someone who has experienced both of these losses, I was struck by how Sherokee Ilse, her husband David, and Monika and Tim Nelson balance their own personal experiences with insight into the more universal experiences of all parents facing similar losses.
The authors chose to write the book when they realized they weren’t the only couples to who had to deal with pregnancy and infant loss. In fact, being able to talk to another couple who had similar experiences helped the authors cope in their own lives. However, the authors realized that many couples do not have people outside of their romantic partnerships who they could talk to. So, they decided to write about their own experiences as a way to provide support for other couples.
While reading the book, I instantly related to their struggles. I also better understood some of the difficulties my husband and I had trying to communicate after our losses. Unfortunately, my husband and I did not know any others who had similar losses who we could talk to. I wish I had read this book after my daughter’s death from SIDS because it might have helped my husband and I communicate better.
One of the most helpful parts of the book for me was the discussion of the different ways men and women cope withe loss. Although I had been aware of the ways gender can complicate communication, I had never really thought about differences in grieving. I wish we had this information when my husband and I were first grieving our losses; it would have helped us understand and accept our different reactions.
This book has helped me think differently about the past tensions in my marriage;
The authors also give specific tips to help couples improve communication. Although my husband and I already use many of these strategies, we hadn’t applied those tips to communicating about our grief. I also suspect it could go both ways: learning to use these strategies to help cope with grief can help relationships in other areas.
Finally, I was struck by how the authors eloquently encourage grieving couples to use coping with tragedy as a way to improve relationships. In other words, it is important to bring good into your life and the lives of others after a tragedy. Their book is a testament to this maxim and the ways healing, connection, empathy and support can come out of loss.
I believe this book can be a source of comfort and guidance for many couples who are grieving a loss.