Processing miscarriage

Thank you so much for your advice and wisdom on my last post. I wrote what follows before I read your stories, but I could be quoting you. You also said some things I’d never thought of before. Thanks for being so brave in sharing your words.

Here are the suggestions good women gave to me, which I will share in turn. I will not tell their stories, but they were right. Thank you, Jean, Renee, Becca, Rachel, Marlene, Stephanie, Renita, Chastin, Hope Anne, and Cynthia. In the interest of being concise I’m afraid of sounding terse and superior… Please know that I’m talking out of pain I will not describe here.

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Confession: I don’t have a philosophy of miscarriage. It’s unfortunate that when a Trouble comes, my ideas and theories about it fly away. Or maybe that’s a good thing? I have found nothing to stave off the pain or to match the needs of varied situations, and a numbered list has a ridiculousness all its own.

But in the weeks following my miscarriage, Jesus began the work healing me. (He’s not done yet.) Here are some of the things His daughters taught me.

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1. Talk to other women who’ve experienced this loss.

One strange thing about pain (any pain, whether cancer or abuse or the death of a loved one) is that you enter unwittingly, even unwillingly, a sisterhood of those who have known this pain. After you come to accept that you are here, gathered with others around a life event you’d never have chosen, you may find much comfort in this place. These other stories are not yours, and do not need to define yours, but are there in a circle of strength around you. Your grief is not isolated. Your sorrow does not stand alone.

Miscarriage can be part of a healthy family story. It has touched countless women without destroying them; it is not the end of the path.

As Rosina pointed out yesterday (and several of you demonstrated), anyone softened by sorrow can offer meaningful care. Let’s not demand that someone must have walked in OUR SHOES before receiving the love they have to give…

2. Find a few physical things by which to remember your baby.

Early miscarriages especially give little closure, little to say goodbye to. You might fill a box with the notes and cards you receive over that time, plant a special tree or flower, stand a Willow Tree figurine on your mantel, write a letter, sew a little blanket, or put a remembrance stone in your garden. Somehow, touch the things that will remind you of him.

3. Give yourself time and grace.

Though many experience it, miscarriage is also a private pain—no one but you held this child. It is okay to feel a lot, to cry. You have been touched by love and human life, and cannot be unchanged. Journal, talk to a friend, listen to music late at night when you can’t sleep. Give your emotions and your hormones time to settle. Don’t be hard on yourself or blame the body that betrayed you.

4. Spend time with your spouse.

Let him comfort you and sorrow with you. He’s part of this story, and it’s his loss too, though he’ll process it differently. Even after the tears are done and the words are silenced, be together. Treasure his presence and his feelings.

5. Name your baby.

…Even if you do not share his name with others. He is real, and your loss is somehow validated by naming him.

6. Re-read Psalm 139.

I couldn’t find God’s heart in the weeks after losing my baby. Most of the time I thought He probably didn’t care. He drew near and opened my eyes each time I read David’s words about an unborn child, depicting the loving and intimate involvement of the Father.

7. Steep yourself in love.

There will be a few very painful reminders along the way: the first pregnancy news from a friend, the baby who is born when yours would have been, the next Mother’s Day. You will survive this thing by loving, not by hating. Open your arms and heart to the little people around you, and to the women whose bellies are rounded with unborn life.

8. Hold onto faith.

(This one was hardest for me.)

God may seem different than you ever thought him to be. Heaven may seem more real than ever, or an uncertain castle in the air. When you have no assurance of your own, lean on the faith of others and trust their words. Feel, more than figure out. You can experience the pain without finding answers for all the hard questions right now.

He is good. And the story is not done yet…

6 thoughts on “Processing miscarriage

  1. Two hard but beautiful posts. Thank you. The comments are good as well. All these beautiful mother souls! I found that grief comes at the most inopportune times but it’s good to go with it and let the tears heal. I remember the gut wrenching sobs and telling my husband that life is all a great big NO. God doesn’t hear me and He doesn’t care. My husband just held me. What you said is so true…. The story is not done yet. God bless and keep you. Amy

  2. Shari, I so much want you and all the other moms who have babes in heaven to see a sketch by Jean Keaton called Snuggling Infant. My mom gave me a print of the sketch after I lost a baby, and it is such a precious keepsake.

  3. “Feel, more than figure out.” Spot on.

    I think of you often and your beloved child. While I hurt deeply with my friends and family who have suffered the loss of a child, it delights me to know that my own dear child has companions in heaven.

    Grieving the loss of a baby…your baby…is a lifelong process. Many months could go by where I hardly think about it…and then something will trigger my memory and I will remember. It feels like a hollow grief. December 27th (my due date) never passes without me thinking of our little gift. Our baby would have turned four this past December…when I think of it I wonder a million things.

    Are you a boy or a girl? (I think you might be a girl.) What would your favorite color be? What would you like doing? How would you frustrate me and how would you delight me? What color would your eyes be? Would you stand at the window (like Leo) and look for Daddy?

    I can’t figure it out, but I feel it.

    Blessed assurance…Jesus IS mine (ours).

  4. “But in the weeks following my miscarriage, Jesus began the work healing me. (He’s not done yet.) ” And I would say the same for mine . . . much healing, but I don’t think the pain will ever be all gone till I get to Heaven where He will wipe away all tears. Agree with your points . . . great blog post. I still treasure the figurine that our pastor and wife gave us after one particularly heart-wrenching miscarriage that is an angel tenderly holding a baby in its arms. Sending you gentle hugs and on-going love and prayers.

  5. I think that one of the more comforting things that happened around the time of our miscarriage was seeing Daryl crying, sobbing… it was assuring to see him feel for our loss– as said before, miscarriage can be a very lonely thing for the mother. We lost our baby the day before mother’s day, 2001, and another good thing was that it was baby dedication– Whitney’s dedication. Even though we mourned the loss of one, I was sooo grateful to have one in my arms already.

    Daryl sang a song that morning for baby dedication in church that he had written. One of the parts that he wrote was that “he’s somewhere with You and he does what I would do, then he’s gathered with your children singing praise around Your throne.” I think the reassuring part was that we have a little part of us in heaven– this little guy even may have the personality of his daddy, maybe the looks of his mommy! If he’s like his Daddy, he’ll be singing, loving on Jesus, and cracking corny jokes… it’s healing for me to think of him as a human, real little person that is part of us.

    Isn’t it strange sometimes the little bits of things we find healing, and how it’s very unique to the individual at times? Universally I believe it’s God and time.

    I just read in a book, though that we shouldn’t try to figure out God when we’re right in the middle of our circumstances. Unfortunately, I think we all do that. Give it time, and God, and things will be clearer… and God will still be the God that we knew before–only dearer. May Jesus be dear and sweet to you these days, sister.

  6. Shari, I am just now catching up on reading what I’d missed here and I know my response is terribly late but I wanted to respond just the same. Nothing profound just that I’m always caught off guard by the beauty that comes all packaged up in pain. That I would not want to walk two miscarriages back to back again but nor would I want to give up the beauty that I also experienced thru that time, the face of God in others, the quiet grace. …And Jesus holds us still. Grace to you girl.

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