The Missing Member: Thoughts on Miscarriage | Part 1: Processing the Pain

This post is the first of a series of three regarding miscarriage. Our intention is not to overlook other types of loss, but to shed understanding for those experiencing miscarriage or ministering to those who have lost through miscarriage. We also understand that this is a trigger for many mamas. We love you and pray for healing in your hearts.

The Missing Member

It was Spring 2014. Our first child was a year old and we were talking about trying for another baby soon. Before long, a test came back positive. We were excited and we were ready! It didn’t take long for us to start planning a nursery (the soon-to-be big brother and new baby would share). And me? I was eagerly anticipating the miraculous labor and birthing process.

The morning sickness set in almost right away. I remember sitting in a restaurant with my little family and panicking to come up with a plan as a wave of nausea swept over me. My first thought was relief. After all, I’ve heard so many times that morning sickness just means all the hormones are at good levels. Things hummed along nicely.

For a single week.

One day, things were fine. The next day, there was blood. The bright red kind that you read so many warnings about on pregnancy blogs. Over the next four days we waited and prayed. We hoped and prayed for a miracle. We agonized and wept many tears at the possibility of loss. On Friday, our test results came back. It was a cold “negative”. Why am I sharing this? Because it happens all around you. Did you know that statistics say that one in every four pregnancies end with a loss? If you yourself have not lost, you likely know more than one family who has.

Processing Loss

#1 – Take Time to Absorb the Initial Shock My husband and I took the next day to just get away and just talk and pray and process. It was so good for us to weep and talk as we needed to, without any outside pressures.

#2 – Name Your Baby  Please don’t brush it off as “pregnancy loss” or “not being pregnant any more”. You were blessed with a tiny life that was given by a sovereign, loving God. That tiny baby – that tiny human – fulfilled the purpose God orchestrated for His glory in a short time just as much as an old person who fulfilled their purpose in many decades. Your baby deserves to be given the basic privilege of personhood: a name of his or her own.

#3 – Write it Down Part of processing is allowing yourself to look at the wound instead of covering it with a bandaid. Don’t worry about making it neat and tidy. This isn’t necessarily for anyone else to read. This is for you to verbalize what you’re feeling. This is for you, to look the wound in the face and begin healing.

#4 – Don’t “Get Over It”  A dear friend of mine lost her only brother a few years ago in sudden and difficult circumstances. Her wise words to me were this: “You don’t get over it. You just move on.” The point is that loss is part of your story now. It will change you and that’s okay. Don’t forget the pain. Take the pain and walk forward, allowing the Lord to use this part of your life to His glory.

#5 – Accept the Way You Grieve  It’s so true that we each have a different style of grieving. My husband and I both handled the loss differently. For me, it meant many, many tears and difficult days. It may not look the same for you. That’s okay!

#6 – Remember Fondly There are two dates that will never be quite the same for you: the date of your miscarriage (or the date you found out your baby had passed on) and your due date (the day your baby “should” have been born). Use these days as opportunities to continue processing, to share with others, and to gratefully remember that little one’s life. Our family has chosen to pick a special, color-filled bouquet of flowers to display in memory of our baby on the date of our loss. Some families release balloons. Others make a birthday cake.

#7 – Big Love for One So Small There will be hard days. There will be things you see that remind you of the little one you lost. There will be days you can’t stop crying. There will be moments you tangibly feel like someone is missing from the family get-togethers and family portraits. All that means is that you love that baby!

Walking through miscarriage has so many ramifications: suddenly you’re fallible and pregnancy isn’t just about waiting for 40 weeks. Watching others walk through miscarriage presents so many challenges: how to you love the family and help them?

Parts 2 & 3 of this series coming soon.

In tender, loving memory of our second baby, Elianna Hope (“God has answered our desire for hope”) . April 1, 2014

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3

Laurel West

Happy Wife. Mom of Three. Homemaker. Christ Follower. Multigenerational Texan. Chai Addict. Photographer. Health Nut. Natural Birth Junkie. Classically Trained Soprano. Founder of Adventures in Oiling. Amateur Graphic Designer.

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