The following post is from an anonymous mother who contacted me and asked me to share her experience grieving the loss of an unborn baby. To any of you women out there who have endured the pain of a miscarriage, let this be an encouragement to you.
Dear Grieving Mother,
I'm not going to say I know how you feel because I don't. We're all different, and we all process things differently. But I do know the pain of loss. I know the joyful anticipation with which you were waiting for your little bundle of joy. And I know the devastation and grief that is caused when you experience the loss of that child through miscarriage. It's painful. It's horrible. And at times it's lonely.
While none of the pain of other people's thoughtless words or indifference can compare to the actual loss of that child, the words that people speak after a miscarriage can cause more grief if spoken carelessly. While few people knew of the miscarriage my husband and I experienced, those that did often said things which were sharp and careless and though definitely not ill-meant, they hurt.
“At least the baby hadn't been older before the miscarriage or born and then died.”
“At least you have your other child and you can have another one.”
“At least you can have children; that's more than some people have.”
“Something must have been wrong which would have been terrible for the baby to live with.”
And while all of those statements may have been somewhat true (yes, all of them were actual statements to us), they're not helpful. And it made it so that the grief which we were naturally feeling felt wrong and unnatural. In this day and age, abortion is widely accepted and death is widely embraced, and I believe it makes our culture callous in their responses towards such a loss like a miscarriage. Torn between wanting to grieve the way I felt was natural and acting like I could rationalize it and pass it off as a non-ordeal, I emailed an older Christian lady who I trusted with my very confused emotions. I was grieved and hurting, but I didn't feel like anyone thought it was okay for me to grieve. After emailing this lady, I received this loving response:
“I completely understand how you feel about people's responses to something so big and disappointing in your life. I have noticed the same thing when my daughter had her 2 (possibly 3) miscarriages. People said the most awfully insensitive and even hurtful things to her. Though she has had 4 children, she had wrapped her whole heart around the little ones inside her even though they were only 8-10 weeks old (one was 13 weeks!). To her, they were a baby who was lovingly and joyfully anticipated, then lost and mourned. People do NOT understand the powerful emotional bond that happens the minute you learn you are expecting. Yes, there are reasons the Lord allows the miscarriage, but it still bears the truth that there was a little soul inside you that you and your husband had created together and the Lord knows them fully, even though they never had the chance to fully form and come into the world. Psalm 139:16 tells us that “in Thy book, all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” That tells me that the Lord is looking on and KNOWS them and eternally records that little one from the moment of conception as a viable person, a soul that He is eternally interested in. Why He takes them home before they are fully formed is a mystery to me, but the full forming of their body is in no way a pre-requisite of them being noticed or loved by God...so why is it that way with people? I have never understood the insensitive thoughts people flippantly toss out to ladies who have just lost a baby...regardless of the percent of bodily formation. I KNOW that is hurtful and that you desire not to judge or react to others, but the questions and hurt still linger in your heart and mind. The Lord has “wired” a mother that way and it is good that you can still value and feel what is a perfectly natural sentiment about losing a baby. You already know that you will meet that little one in eternity, but it doesn't fill your arms and heart here on earth....you were anticipating holding another heavenly treasure! Somehow, people expect a sort of detached “big girl” viewpoint on the biological mystery of losing a baby in miscarriage, and that has always baffled me that they cannot stop, reflect, and grieve at least somewhat along with the mother who keenly feels the loss....even though she is fully aware that there was probably some reason the baby would have been whole and healthy had it survived the entire pregnancy. Acceptance is not equal to indifference! Indifference does not bolster acceptance.”
After reading this email, it was the first time I really grieved. I had cried while holding my husband's hand and holding my one year old tight in my arms....but the first time I really wept and mourned for my little baby was when I read that email. Grieving is natural...and just because your little one was never born into this world, that little one was still your child. A very special child loved by God.
So dear mother, grieve. There is time to move on, and it is good to still focus on the good and joyous times in your life. But the grief of a child, no matter the age, is natural. I only pray that this helps you through this difficult time in your life and is an encouragement to your hurting heart. You're not alone, and the grief is completely naturally. The grief doesn't immediately stop either. Months later, I still grieve when I think of the due date that will pass as a date un-noticed. I watch my child play and wonder if there will ever be another little person playing next to my precious little one, whether I'll cuddle another child in my arms. I see other ladies joyfully anticipating their little ones or carry their newborns lovingly around, and I wonder if that will be me again sometime. But with His help, the pain will slowly lessen, though the memories will remain. But His strength will pull us through those hard times....
May God bless your continued journey,
A Fellow Healing Mother