It was one of the most painful, gnawing, and raw weeks of my life. My husband and I lost our baby in miscarriage, and the tumultuous circumstances surrounding that week are etched in my emotions and memories forever. We are not alone. As many as 15%-20% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage, where the baby dies before the 20th week of gestation.
The Emotions of Miscarriage
The world seemed like a vacuum, sucking my energy and ability to breathe out from within me. I felt the tumbling feelings so many women feel.
Extreme sadness over the loss of my child, the dreams for our future, and for the unknown
Anger that God would let my child die
Failure that I as a mother couldn’t protect my unborn child
Inadequacy as a wife to my husband that I wasn’t able to mother his 2nd child
Seclusion as people around me pulled away out of fear of saying or doing the wrong thing
Reactions to Miscarriage
Still physically exhausted from my own miscarriage, we travelled again – this time for a funeral, just days after the joyful shopping trip of two expectant mothers. I was devastated for her, ashamed of my jealousy, and still mourning my own loss. Never once did my sister-in-law minimize my pain in light of her obvious devastation. But the reactions of those around us reflect the reactions of so many around women who lose children to miscarriage.
Ignoring the loss – Even though everyone at the funeral knew of our loss, most people did not acknowledge it.
Minimizing the loss – Several people comforted me by saying at least I lost the baby early and didn’t go through the entire pregnancy.
Speaking ignorantly – One friend of the family approached me and said that miscarriages are gross – the bleeding – and she was surprised I would attend the funeral in that state.
Coping with Miscarriage
I could barely contain the raw emotions of my heart, The loss of a child in miscarriage often goes unacknowledged by many, not out of coldness but out of ignorance. It is time to give mothers the ability to grieve and receive support from others.
If you have experienced a miscarriage, do what you need to experience and acknowledge your loss.
Name your baby. On that sad, drizzly day, as rain streamed down the window, I silently named my child Rayne. I could at least then say, “Rayne – I miss you and love you.”
Mark your loss. Some women plant a tree in honor of their child, hang an ornament on the Christmas tree each year, or make a charitable contribution that helps mothers and children.
Speak about your child. It is OK to say you miss your child, miss being pregnant, and are devastated that you won’t hold your child in your arms.
Rely on your faith. Sometimes it is all we have.
Acknowledge the loss of others. It is perhaps one of the most important lessons I learned – to offer support and a shoulder to mothers who lose their children in miscarriages.
Helping Someone Else Cope with Miscarriage
If someone in your life has experienced loss through miscarriage, consider doing more than just waiting for her to signal the next move.
Offer a hug – just as you would if she would have lost anyone else in her life.
Send her a card – a note to let her know you are thinking of her, praying for her, and acknowledging her grief.
Consider a memorial gift – women who suffer miscarriages know of their loss and loss is real to them. Things like a keepsake ornament, angel figurine, or tree planted in the family’s honor are ways to show that you understand this is real.
Ask her what you can do – even if she can’t think of something she knows you are there and are willing.