As I write this, I am in my seventh month of pregnancy. One of the first questions everyone asks is, “Is this your first?” I usually respond with “Yes,” but I really hate that question. The truth is that this is my second baby. I never met my first. He died after just a few short weeks in my womb, only a week after I found out I was pregnant. He was a surprise baby for my husband and me, and I remember feeling a myriad of emotions when I looked at the faint lines on the pregnancy test. I was overwhelmed, worried, excited, hopeful, fearful. But in the days that followed, the feeling that surfaced to the top was love. I loved this little person within. However unexpected he was, I felt blessed to be his mom.
So, when we lost him so soon, I was devastated. All of these hopes and dreams, all of these maternal feelings, all of this love, were now without an object. I couldn’t understand how someone so tiny and hidden could leave such a hole in my heart.
Navigating the waters of grief following a miscarriage was a confusing experience for me. I didn’t fully understand why it hurt so much. I didn’t know how to make it better.
I still don’t have all the answers, but by God’s grace, I can say that I have done a lot of healing and growing since those dark days. I want to offer encouragement to those of you who are mourning the loss of a little one you never knew by sharing a few of the things that helped me to cope with my loss.
- Stay in the Word. It’s easy to become angry at God when we experience loss of any kind. We tend to feel that God owed us something better. Reading the Bible and praying were crucial in helping me to keep the right perspective.
- Give yourself time to heal. I thought the grief should subside after a few weeks. When I still found myself bursting into tears at the store or in church months later, I thought I must be doing something wrong. I’ve since learned that everyone grieves a miscarriage differently, and there is no set amount of time for grief. It’s okay to cry and mourn months and even years later.
- Accept your spouse’s grief. I expected my husband to mourn the same way I did. When his grief was more private and less demonstrative, I felt as though he didn’t care. I had to realize that we were different people and it was unfair to assume that just because he didn’t grieve like me, he wasn’t grieving.
- Give your baby a name. Although I lost our baby very early, I felt strongly that he was a boy. We named him Judah. Having a name to call him helped me to acknowledge that I had lost a real child. It legitimized my grief.
- Do something to honor your baby’s life. My husband and I put together a little box with things that reminded us of Judah. We included letters from each of us to him, the positive pregnancy tests I had taken, and dried flowers that a relative sent us after his death. I still find it comforting to go through that box and recall his brief life.
I will never forget the first little one God gave me, and I look forward to meeting him someday. Many of you have little ones waiting for you on the other side of eternity, too. If you are suffering a recent miscarriage or stillbirth, I ache with you, and pray that God will give you the comfort and peace that only He can offer.
Photo Credit: niagaragriefcenter.org
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