I remember a time when I was on the other side of miscarriage. I had several friends around me that were walking through the thick of it and I did not know what to say, how to respond to their pain, or how to help them.
I told them I'd pray for them. I shared (and over shared probably) verses that I thought would be an encouragement. I committed to praying for them faithfully, and I did.
BUT, having never been through one, there was a lot I just didn't understand. Like when to stop talking, and when to just listen. To allow them to grieve in the way they needed to (which is different for everyone) and just ask what they needed. I wanted to fix it. To help. To make them laugh again and see the beauty of life around them.
Then we walked through a miscarriage.
I did not expect it to be so raw, so deep and so painful. Physically it was hard, but emotionally my heart was bleeding. I didn't know that it would be that painful.
I learned a lot following those months after we lost our wee baby. But it was a painful journey. I wrestled with a lot of questions and there were times I was just angry—at God and at the whole world that seemed to be pregnant around me. But slowly, slowly, the Lord spoke to me in my pain and brought beauty and hope back into my heart. A very special project born out of that were onesies I made for some special friends of mine I'd been praying for.
Then fast forward to this year, when we had a second miscarriage. It was really hard in different ways than the first time. There was a lot of waiting in this one. Waiting for results, waiting for growth, waiting for news always that would take away the heaviness in our hearts.
But God is faithful. He is so GOOD and He sustained us in those waiting days. He continued to sustain, comfort, and be our Help in the days that followed. He still is. He promises that He remains the same (Hebrews 13:8) and is with us, even to the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). I am so grateful for that and kept thinking this throughout those long days.
After our first loss, I journaled and hand lettered scripture that the Lord had shown me. In my journaling I wrote what I was feeling, what I was praying, and what God was showing me. After our second, I continued to journal. It was a deliberate, cathartic habit that I have been doing for a couple of years and I am so thankful I have continued to keep it up. And from that, along with my lettering, God has brought healing and clarity in my life. He showed me that He is Good, regardless of what I'm feeling, or suffering. He cares deeply and IS near to the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18).
One day in the middle of our second miscarriage I penned out some things that I had learned in this process. I wish I had known these in our miscarriage last year, and even before it so that I could have better ministered to those around me that had gone through it.
My hopes in sharing these though, are that they will help someone else that is going through a miscarriage, has been through one, or is walking alongside someone that has had one. I hope they help you if you are suffering, or if you just don't know what to say or what to do for a loved one. Here is a list of 10 things that really helped me.
10 things I learned from miscarriage
1. Feel what you need to feel.
Without guilt or condemnation, let your body feel what it needs to, as it needs to. I struggled with this the first time, because I felt guilty about the ugly things I was thinking. How I was hurting, and angry, and confused about the whole experience. But holding in what you are feeling will only make it worse later on. Those feelings are going to come out. Somewhere, somehow, they will. Part of this healing process is to feel what you need to feel, when you need to feel it. This may mean going to a quiet place alone, before God, and letting it come out. Ask your husband to help with this, if you need to make arrangements for little ones you have at home. Or just plan some time each day to be alone; in a private place where you can go before the Lord uninterrupted to pray or cry. He can handle all the things you are carrying, and He will not condemn you for the craziness you are going through. He created you, He loves you, and nothing is hidden from Him. Psalm 103:14 says, "For He knows our frame, He remembers that we are dust."
2. You are not strong (and that's okay).
I struggled with this one a lot initially. I thought for some reason I had to be very strong, and show everyone how brave I was. But I was only fooling myself and, biblically, I realized this was not what God asked of me. Psalm 73:26 says, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." He showed me that it was okay to be weak, and to rest in Him fully in my weakness. He would give me the strength I needed, when I needed it. Realizing that He would strengthen me was freeing and helped me to let go of that burden.
3. Pray about seeing those pregnancy tests next to the maxi pads.
Seriously. Walking down the grocery store aisle only to see those bright pink little boxes almost made me lose it right there in the store. Why? Seeing anything remotely baby-related in those first few weeks was hard. Any reminder of the little tiny baby that was no longer in my body was just painful. Pregnant women, newborn babies, baby announcements etc. All hard. There is a time when it's a little easier to head down the aisle and not weep about seeing those tests (and all the other things) but give yourself some space for a month or two. Pray in those days that the Lord brings healing to handle the times when you will face painful reminders. But it's okay to step back from those triggers for a small season, for the sake of your heart. Confide in your husband and a close friend (one that's gone through miscarriage is tremendous) to help you in areas like shopping for maxi pads, or running a couple errands so you can rest (your heart) at home.
4. Pray against hurtful comments.
Thankfully in this area I didn't really have many comments that hurt. A couple come to mind that I can remember, and they were really said out of misunderstanding on the other person's end. The simple truth is that people that have not been in your place do not know what to say. And so, sometimes comments can be said that just really hurt. Things like, "Well, at least you have your sons at home," or "You can always try again." I think what was more hurtful for me was that others did not realize I was still hurting a month later. There is an expectancy I think to move on as quickly as your body physically does. And it's just not the case with the heart (see the C.S. Lewis quote above). Knowing ahead of time, that people will say things that may not be very thoughtful, even without meaning to, pray for grace in hearing them. Grace in seeing that their intentions and heart are true. And grace in times when some people do NOT say very gracious things. God has given us immeasurable grace and we can ask Him for the same. We are only human, and I can well remember a time when I said some things I KNOW I shouldn't have, simply because I just didn't understand. If you don't know what to say to someone that is hurting, it's okay to just be quiet and offer a hug. I know how much it meant to me when someone just offered a hug.
5. Grace. For yourself, and for others.
The Lord extends so much grace to us in our weakness (as I mentioned above). At this time extend a little grace to yourself. For me this meant being gentle to myself by doing a little pampering. Your body is going through a lot and your heart is trying to catch up with what is going on physically. Slow down and do some things that will nourish your body and soul. Brew some hot tea, run some bubble baths, read some lighter literature or stories, go get a massage or pedicure. Pamper yourself in ways that will help boost your spirit and nurture your mind. My husband generously and lovingly treated me to an afternoon out to get a massage and it was one thing that really just helped me physically feel better. Feeling beautiful during the hard days felt far from me, but finding a little time each day to pamper myself did wonders in boosting my spirit. I am so thankful for friends and family that poured into us throughout those weeks.
To be continued ...