I wrote this poem with the ache of empty arms after losing a wanted and tried-for baby. The pain of miscarriage is a very personal and deep feeling of loss. From the moment you find out your pregnant, you begin to love the child. You begin to daydream about their future, what they will look like, what their personality will be like… as if they were already here. Really, they are here. There’s just multiple layers of skin between them and the world. That’s what makes any loss, at any time so hard.
My womb no longer felt fruitful and nurturing. It felt like a grave site and I was the walking tombstone. I cried everyday, for weeks, for months…I cry now as I write this 6 year later.
Looking back there was not a lot people could do or say to help the physical, emotional and spiritual pain of my miscarriage. Some wanted to so bad, and felt helpless. Some actually made it worse. I pray this article will not only comfort those who are suffering but will help others understand how to better minister to the pain when you might be feeling helpless.
My faith & hope in God was the only thing that even began to touch a pain so devastating. Faith that one day I would see my baby in heaven. I had hope they were with our Heavenly Father – a much better parent than I ever could be. I began to long for Christ’s return like never before. Consolation came from knowing this world and all of its pain and suffering was temporary and we will live with God unaffected by sin and death someday.
The Comforting Secret Behind Job’s Children
The Bible tells us Job was “blameless and upright and one who feared God and shunned evil.” What’s very important to note is the numbers. God blessed him with 10 children, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys. Then the first two chapters are a record of his losses.
If you know the story, satan was allowed to take all these things away (including his health) as a test of Job’s true love for God. Would Job curse God if he wasn’t so healthy and prosperous? He does not. He remained faithful albeit confused, he doesn’t always claim to understand what God is doing.
Here’s where the numbers are important. By the end of the book God beautifully restores all things and replaces them with twice as much as he had before (v. 42:12). So if he had 7,000 sheep, he was given 14,000. He had 3,000 camels he ended up with 6,000 and so on with everything else, except….
When he got to Job’s children. We expected God would give him double – 20 more, right? Instead he only gets 10 more. Was this a raw deal?
No. It is because although the first 10 died, he never really lost them. They still existed. He would see them again someday. In the same way we trust we will see ours again too. Miscarriage doesn’t mean we have really lost them – we just can’t be with them right now.
To Be Fruitful Is to Multiply
In the garden, Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply – and they did. What if because of the fall my body simply will not allow me to do this? The Good News is -we still can. “Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matt. 28:19) That is spiritual multiplication and ALL of us are capable of this -even men!
Even more beautiful than a baby being born into this world is watching a baptism. It is the difference between temporary earthly life and eternal spiritual life. A baby is born out of water (amniotic fluid) has the father and mother and sometimes family there to immediately embrace the helpless child and promise to provide for and nurture the child to adulthood.
So it is with baptism as they emerge from a sort of womb water of Christ. We as the family of Christ gather around and receive the baby (in Christ) pledging our commitment to help them grow in the Lord.
Rejoice again my sister, you are and can be fruitful in the Lord. Use this time of loss to consider how the Lord will use it in your life to grow you and others closer to Him.
I consider my miscarriage as a ministry pearl on a string of many. Pearls are made from the agitation of a speck of dirt in the inner most part of the oyster. So is this pain, in so many ways an opportunity for fruit to be born of brokenness.
DO’s and Don’ts
Here are some VERY IMPORTANT practical Do’s and Don’ts when trying to comfort someone who has had a miscarriage:
- Don’t quote Romans 8:28 – or try to give her any deep theological answers. Silence and a shoulder to cry on is always safer and better.
- If she is angry at God, don’t minimize this. Try redirecting her anger appropriately. Assure her that God did not plan for this, but it is a result of a fallen sinful world and the true enemy is satan and death. One day there will be no more sickness, pain or death.
- Don’t limit her grieving to a time or way you think is appropriate. Every woman mourns differently. Encourage her to grieve freely. Sometimes they need permission to do so.
- Don’t assume her numbness is because she is just sweeping it under the rug. Some do this as a coping mechanism to deal with the pain.
- She may go through a range of emotions including, Confusion, Anger, Resentment, Sadness, Regret, Depression.
- Don’t point out ways she could have avoided the miscarriage. She already feels like a failure and that it is somehow her fault. Do assure her there is nothing she could have done to save the baby.
- Don’t be surprised if she’s still wearing maternity clothes for quite a while after. Offer to help go through her clothes and help put them away after about a month of grieving. Sometimes even looking at the clothes is too painful.
- Don’t assume she needs someone to babysit her other children (if she has others). Sometimes just hearing them play and laugh, or holding them helps ease the pain as she’s reminded of blessings she already has. But do offer to come and stay with her, caring for their physical needs, making lunch, changing diapers etc. Allow her to get rest knowing they are safe and close by.
- Do offer to bring meals, but don’t ask her what she likes. She’s not hungry. Instead of saying “can I bring you a meal?” say “I would like to bring you a meal, what are some of your families’ favorite meals and which day would be best?”
- Husbands, don’t be surprised if she has no interest in sex for weeks even months. Your doctor will have suggested she wait at least three months to conceive again. She is often very fearful and apprehensive about it happening again. Let her know that you would like her to initiate and let you know when it’s time.
- Don’t be insensitive – if you have just had a baby or you are pregnant your presence is very hard for her as she wonders why not her?
- Do encourage her when she’s ready to join a Women’s Bible study, write or blog about her loss, or read a book on the topic.
- Do send flowers and cards, flowers represent life.
- Don’t feel bad if you put your foot in your mouth and didn’t know that she miscarried. Do apologize and subtly inform common friends so that they do not make the same mistake you did.
- Do pray for and with her if she’d like. Not just once but often.
- Don’t avoid her at church because you don’t know what to say. Let her know you’re very sorry for her loss, and you couldn’t imagine what the pain must feel like.
Print it out the poem Knit and Not Forgot here and give it to her, send her a link to the songs below. Let her know you care.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16
Song to PRAY
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