***TRIGGER WARNING*** I share personal details about my two miscarriages. If this is a sensitive topic for you, please read with caution.
I was 17 and alone when I had my first miscarriage. My boyfriend was out of town. It was the late 1990’s, and we didn’t have access to one another via phone or text message. I had an email address to get ahold of him that he checked maybe once or twice a month and that was all.
Now before you ask, I wasn’t living for the Lord during this time. I didn’t know Jesus, wasn’t saved and yes, I was having sex with my boyfriend. That’s a story for another day though.
I still remember the day. At 9 weeks pregnant, I lost my baby. I experienced a little cramping to start, I didn’t know what was about to happen. I went to use the toilet and within minutes I held the small baby in my hand. I remember staring for a long time. It had a dark spot where the eyes were developing, and tiny limbs. It was the most surreal experience. I wasn’t sure what to do about it, so I wrapped it in tissue and flushed it down the toilet. I was devastated.
I was terrified to be a teen mom. I couldn’t imagine telling my mom, my boyfriend, his parents, or anyone else for that matter. I felt like a huge disappointment. I was the A-student. I was smart. I used protection every time. How could I be pregnant? Only the dumb girls got pregnant. Or so I thought. But the moment I lost my child, I was crushed. I felt like a failure. I wondered if I had done something wrong. And I blamed myself for the loss.
I spent the next 2 years making really reckless decisions. I would binge-drink, get into cars with drunk drivers, I even tried party drugs but nothing could ease the pain I felt.
My crazy cycle finally came to an end when I gave my life to the Lord and began living for Him instead. It started a process of healing that would take a book to explain. My life was transformed. I eventually met my husband, and he was one of the first people I trusted to share what happened to my first child. He loved me unconditionally.
But as he and I desired to have our own family after we were married, we were met with infertility issues for more than 3 years. I blamed myself. You see, I had spent the weeks leading up to my miscarriage PRAYING for God to take my baby. Begging Him to not let me be a teen mom. Pleading my case. When it happened, I didn’t blame God. I blamed myself. And the enemy used that shame to keep me from believing God would forgive me for wanting my baby dead, and that He would bless me with a child once again.
The emotional roller coaster was overwhelming at times. It nearly destroyed our marriage because as we should have been sharing our pain and fears with each other, we each isolated ourselves pretending everything was fine. We “had faith”. We “believed” God would do it. But inside I couldn’t believe that God could possibly give me the deepest desire of my heart because of what I had done.
And truthfully, we felt like no one understood what we were going through. Our friends popped out babies one after the other, and all we longed for was to hold a sweet son or daughter in our arms. The Bible says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”, and our heart were sick with anguish and grief as we struggled to become parents.
But in an instant, God showed up. Through a prophetic prayer over us, God confirmed that within the year we would have a son. We had been praying specifically for a son. I felt like Hannah in the Bible with my heartache over my lack of fertility.
That day eventually came when our first son was born. You can imagine the joy we felt to finally hold him. It was love at first sight. Even though we desired more children, we believed he was probably the only one. And we were okay with that.
When our son was over a year old, we got pregnant again. We were shocked, excited, and nervous. I can’t explain why, but I didn’t want to tell anyone about the baby. The pregnancy came too easily. I was worried for some reason I can’t explain. I felt a sense of dread and heaviness over my pregnancy instead of joy.
At 10 weeks we went in for an ultrasound and were told there was no heartbeat. I was devastated. We went to another doctor to get a second opinion and not only was there no heartbeat, the baby was only measuring at 7 weeks gestation instead of 10. I can’t explain the feeling. If you’ve ever felt it, you can understand. It was crushing defeat.
I opted to allow my body to miscarry naturally instead of taking the drugs they offered. They educated me on signs of infection, and even told me when I should call 911. I felt nothing for almost 2 weeks. I still felt pregnant. Until I didn’t. I started to have labor pains one afternoon and called my husband to come home from work. We cried together for the rest of the day.
The next morning, very early, the bleeding started. But it would not stop. It was so different from my first miscarriage. After 30 minutes, we got in the car and headed to the hospital. I lost so much blood. I’m not sure why I didn’t need a blood transfusion, but I did end up in emergency surgery. The sac would not detach from the uterine wall, and I was bleeding from the gap. They intubated me and put me under.
When I awoke, I felt empty and lost. It was different than the first miscarriage. I had the love and support of so many people around me. But in their attempt to make me feel better, some of their words hurt and pierced my soul instead.
Through my experience of losing 2 children to miscarriage I learned that simplest thing to say is “I’m so sorry for your loss”. The people that offered those words comforted me in a way that no other words could. It validated the pain I felt and it validated that my baby was real.
There were others who tried to offer comforting words, but they instead invalidated my pain. These are the phrases you should avoid:
1. It was God’s plan.
Say instead: “How can I pray for you?” or “I’m praying God would comfort you in your grief” or “God loves you and your baby so much”.
You see, God is the author of life. He is not a God of death. And while He uses our heartaches and tragedies to draw us closer to Him for His will, Satan is the one who wants to steal, kill and destroy.
2. At least you weren’t farther along.
Say instead, “I’m so sorry for your loss, what would be a good day for me to do some chores for you?”.
Few people knew how traumatic the whole experience was. Or that I lost as much blood as I did, or that all I longed to hold my tiny baby in my hands the way I had with my first miscarriage. Pregnancy loss causes real grief, and we need to stop minimizing those emotions.
3. The baby probably had a defect and wouldn’t have lived a good life anyway.
Say instead, “I’m so sorry for your loss”.
This statement is filled with so many different issues, I can’t address them in one or two sentences. The reality for me is that no matter what “defect” my baby may have had, it wouldn’t have mattered. My baby was real. My baby lived, if only for a short time. My baby mattered.
4. Let me know if you need anything.
Say this instead: “What would be a good day for me to bring you dinner?” or “let me watch your oldest for a day so you and your hubby can have some time alone”.
I literally had no idea what I needed. Because what I needed no one but God could give me. What I needed was for my baby to still be in my womb healthy and growing. What I needed was for the emptiness in my womb to be filled with hope and joy instead of sorrow and pain.
5. You’ll have another one.
Say instead: “I’m so sorry for your loss”.
I wish it were that easy to know. Because truthfully, how do you know? We were infertile for years and couldn’t have any children. Please be careful not to offer false hope to a couple who is coping with the loss of a child through miscarriage. It’s painful and makes it feel as if the child lost can easily be replaced. Like going to Target to get a new pair of shoes.
Miscarriage hurts. Yes, it’s common, but common doesn’t mean “normal”. It doesn’t negate the real emotional and physical pain women and men go through. Please understand that no words you offer will bring the comfort you may intend. But God’s word can penetrate the pain. Pray for your friends after miscarriage. Check in on them. Bring them flowers. Write them a card. Encourage them with God’s word. Keep it simple. Keep it real. And remember they are GRIEVING.
I’ve since been blessed with 2 more children. My husband drew me a card for Mother’s Day last year and included each of my 5 children as a flower. If my oldest had lived, he or she would’ve just turned 19 this year. My younger child would’ve been 6 years old. It’s a surreal feeling. If you’ve suffered a miscarriage, you’re not alone. There’s help if you need it. You don’t have to suffer in silence.