While miscarriage is a common experience, it’s still something we go through alone. It’s something we tend to hide. It doesn’t have to be that way.
By Matthew, Contributing Writer
Miscarriage isn’t easy for me to write about, but it has surrounded me lately. I’ve seen my wife and many other women around us go through the experience of joy turning into pain after a doctor’s checkup. While miscarriage is a common experience, it’s still something we go through alone. It’s something we tend to hide. It doesn’t make pleasant conversation, but it’s a conversation we need to start if we are to heal.
After that dreadful doctor visit, it seems like everyone else zooms by with their lives. But there you are, struggling through the hurricane of emotions. What’s the process of untangling our destroyed dreams from the knowledge that we need to move on? How can we grieve yet avoid 20 questions tomorrow in the office?
First, your grief is not wrong. It is real and reasonable. Death stings us in painful ways and it’s especially difficult to deal with the loss of a little one. It’s all right to be upset and it’s definitely ok to keep to yourself for a week.
You may benefit from looking at the Psalms where the writer experiences a huge range of emotions and circumstances and manages to praise God. I’ve always seen the Psalms as the anti-Sunday School book of the Bible. In Sunday School we learn the “right” answers, but in the Psalms, we see the writer yell at God and ask seemingly irreverent questions of God. The Psalms are a great guide to show us what trusting in God looks like in real life, when things don’t go well and when we have real questions about real heartache.
Depending on whose statistics you believe, as many as 70 percent of conceptions end in miscarriage. In the past year, three couples in my circle of friends have gone through a miscarriage and those are only the couples who asked us for prayer. There are doubtless other men and woman dealing with miscarriage, but they aren’t telling others.
I’m not saying you need to shout the news from the rooftops or text everyone in your address book. I’m saying that this is too big of a weight to shoulder alone and there’s a good chance that at least someone in your circle of friends knows exactly what you’re going through. Instead of hiding in shame, why not grab some coffee with that person and share your common experience? It may be a difficult conversation, but it’s one worth having.
Do you have advice for women and couples going through a miscarriage?
This topic hit home with me so much after having dealt with several losses, one of which was 26 weeks gestation and involved a funeral and burial. I have so much to say about this but I’ve said a lot of it on my site already so I guess I would just point people in that direction. http://www.OurHeavenlyHomestead.com and click “Sophia’s Story” to find out more.
my advice for couples going through miscarriage is pretty much the same as the article said. TALK ABOUT IT. And for couples, do not neglect each other. It has been two years since I miscarried and never talked much about it at all. Sure, my family was there and knew but no one really knew what to say. There wasn’t much conversation so I never had much of an outlet. My husband was hurting too (I am not sure how much he thinks about it now) but he is not an emotionally open person so only will briefly talk when he has a drink or two. I am glad I don’t know anyone who had a close experience with miscarriage, It is a painful and sorrowful experience and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I do wish I had searched for a support system, perhaps a group to talk about it with.
I am still healing after miscarrying our third child last month at 13 weeks. The baby stopped developing much earlier, but we didn’t find out that she was gone until my first appointment with my doctor at 11 weeks. Your advice is spot on….it was so helpful for me to share with our friends and family what we were going through. So many women spoke up and supported us–so many I had no idea had miscarried.
It also helped me to name our child. Instead of just being “the miscarriage,” my baby now has an identity, and that helped my grieving process.
Some resources that were helpful for me online were stillbirthday.com, misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com (great information there, even if you have had a miscarriage), and various online communities on Facebook, babycenter.com, etc. Knowing that I wasn’t alone was huge.
Thank you so much for this post and for helping to break the silence surrounding one of the most painful losses a woman can experience.
How true! This is certainly a topic that isn’t discussed enough – even among women who have experienced it. We’ll share “how it happened” stories, but it’s hard to recognize and talk about the true grieving process, especially as it is a slightly different process than the typically thought of grieving process. Even two years and one very healthy baby later, the wounds still feel fresh. Each church should have a miscarriage support group.
I agree with having miscarriage support groups within the church. We all grieve in different ways and it’s so helpful to have a like-minded person to share your story with. I’ve been through 2 in 6 months and it has been very difficult for me…I’m still feeling depressed but am slowly pushing through with the Lord’s help. Thanks for this post!
I have had a number of miscarriages over the years, along with seven healthy pregnancies. I used to feel guilty for being so broken over my miscarriages when I had so many healthy babies as well, but my husband was really able to minister to me. He reminded me that every pregnancy is a life and that it is totally appropriate to mourn the loss of a life. I also tended to beat myself up wondering what I could have done differently. While it is good to look at your habits and level of health, it is also important to trust God and His plan. There are women who totally abuse their bodies with junk food, smoking, and drugs who manage to carry full term babies. There are things that don’t make sense in this life and we can’t just linger on that, but have to grow and learn from what we go through.
I’ve suffered two miscarriages, both just this year, and both very early on. I also have a grown child. Because both of these pregnancies were a surprise, and because they both ended so early, somehow I felt I didn’t really have a right to grieve and to feel the way I did, that I lost two precious babies.
Unfortunately society dictates that early miscarriages (especially) should remain a dark secret, something to be kept hidden, and we’re made to feel as though the loss was a huge failing on our part. Thus we feel guilty when we grieve for a life that once was but is no more. We feel guilty for falling apart and being unable to cope with daily life for a little while. We’re made to feel as though we should just pick ourselves up, shrug it off, and move on. When we can’t, we feel as though there is something very wrong with us. Why can’t we just brush it off as we’re “supposed” to?
I agree that we need to have more conversations about this kind of loss, and most especially the very early losses that are so overlooked by society. Women need encouragement to speak up, to vocalize their pain and share about their losses so they can find the kind of validation we all so desperately seek. Validation of the life that so briefly existed, and validation of the acute feelings of grief and loss.
Thank you for starting this conversation.
Miscarriage really does need to be discussed more, but of course, each woman handles it very differently. I have had 5 miscarriages, most of them early on…. but, the pain was still very overwhelming, and I always went through a very rough 6-12months recovery… there was no getting around that….
As I tell other women that I have counseled (I am not a professional counselor, but I come alongside those who go through a miscarriage and help them work through the grief)… you must go through it to get to the other side…. and it isn’t easier the more you have… in fact, it is harder because you think you should’ve learned this already… but you have…. knowledge does not dull pain.
Some women are very internal in their processing, but even that woman will benefit greatly by talking to just ONE person about their miscarriage and sharing their heartache. I surveyed women who had had miscarriages for a pamphlet I wrote about getting through miscarriage at home, and I was amazed at how many women told me that they had never discussed the details of their miscarriage with anyone else before, and afterwards telling me that they felt like they had experienced some healing they didn’t realize they needed until then.
For the woman who needs to externalize her pain by talking to others, she will often find herself avoided/shunned… yes, even by Christian folk… If not, then good intentioned people will say some pretty awful and insensitive things… and this then drives the woman to thinking that she shouldn’t talk about it…. so, she suffers alone… misunderstood and shrouded in guilt and pain.
I have had a miscarriage and a still birth and both are hard to process and grieve. Our church does have a group for those struggling with fertility and miscarriage. It is a safe place for most people to process what they are going through. I don’t go because I feel a little out of place after my stillbirth. She was full term and we don’t know why she died. I am expecting again and trying so hard to trust God with the outcome, but deep down I just don’t. I have anxiety and high blood pressure every time I go to see the doctor. They put me on home monitoring and my blood pressure is fine at home, I just freak out when I step foot in the building. We were not planning on having more kids after our daughter died, but even as careful as we were I am expecting again. I miss both my babies and have found it is just easier not to talk about it because people don’t know how to react or what to say so they avoid you. If you do have a hard day and bring anything up it just makes people uncomfortable so I just quit. I am sorry that so many women have to go through this pain every day, but who ever you are know that you are not alone. If you do find someone to process it with then consider your self blessed.
[…] recently wrote an article about miscarriage. It was difficult to write as I tried to balance some simple advice with the difficulty of losing a […]
I article was recommended to me by a close friend. I had a placental abruption at 6 months of pregnancy. The placenta detached from my uterine wall. Unlike the women who experience early miscarriages, I knew my baby’s sex and felt her move since 17 weeks. I had her named picked out – the whole shebang. While all miscarriages are painful, this was different for me. I placed my daughter on my chest after her very premature birth and cried like I have never cried before. She lived for 4 precious minutes. I fell into a deep depression; a dark abyss of sorts that kept me in a state perpetual torture sadness for 2 years. In May 2012, I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl. My family felt like it was another chance to be a mother, but to me, I was already a mother. Just because the miscarriage happened and a child was lost, doesn’t mean that you’re not a mother. A strong support system and sharing your story is very important.
My pregnancy was totally unexpected…we had 2 healthy kids aged 10 & 5 and really weren’t thinking there were more children in our future…then we found out that we were indeed going to have another child.
In our case, we both, individually, became very certain that this child was not ours, but was to be a gift for my SIL & BIL who were having fertility problems. It was a time when God spoke so clearly to both of us about sacrifice and giving. We were able to share with them the joy and pain of the pregnancy…and then, just a few days after we shared our news with them, I miscarried.
It was a wonderful, miraculous, treasured time that taught me so very much about trusting God and stepping out in faith. We had wonderful family & friends who asked us the hard questions about our decision and supported us when this child was taken away from us.
I can rejoice because I know that this child’s purpose was fulfilled.
We all have the right to grieve. I lost my baby, 30 years ago. Hubby and I tried and tried for another, until I just threw my arms up and said forget it and had my tubes tied. To this day, I still grieve for the baby I lost. She was my daughter. When she was inside of me, I talked to her, I sang to her, I rubbed her, I just loved on her. Today, thirty years later, I still grieve, but I know someday, I will be able to hug her and tell her how much I love her. I still grieve.
I had 8 miscarriages before having my first full term healthy baby. I had 2 other miscarriages in between my next two healthy children. My one thought is there is no one answer. Each person deals with loss differently. I found it very hard to speak with those who hadn’t walk this path. Find what is right for you and deal with your grief. Most importantly know you are not walking this path alone.
[…] miscarriages occur during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. One reason could be diet-induced infertility, as […]