February 18, 2010

For Those Who Have Miscarried

Lately, there has been a lot of loss around me and after hearing yet another friend share her news about losing her baby, I penned these words for her and wanted to share them with anyone else out there who is enduring the pain that comes with losing a baby.

No one can prepare you for the grief you feel after you miscarry; it's a loss unlike any I've known and it's important for you to know that your loss is real and the sorrow you feel is normal.

I allowed myself to grieve my loss like anyone else would grieve if they lost a child whom they had held. I shared with Jason, our families, and our friends that I needed the space and time to grieve as I saw fit and that it was important to me that they acknowledge the loss of our first baby as that and not some medical hiccup. One of the things that I found most difficult was that no one could seem to understand how much hurt I was feeling and that drove me crazy. I wanted to shake people until they hurt as much as I did. And the only time I did not feel that way was when I was sharing my grief with others who I knew had gone through it, too.

I encourage you to share your loss with others as much as you feel comfortable. You will be amazed at the number of women who have miscarried and soon you will see that you are far from being alone in this. It's an awful club to join, but once you do, you find there are many members to journey with.

What's difficult about a miscarriage is that there are no social cues alerting people to grieve with you as there would be if you had delieverd your baby stillborn and had a funeral. With a miscarriage, people either don't know what you are going through or if they do, they may say "Oh, well you were only X weeks along.....you'll get pregnant again." They don't mean to be insensitive, but they don't understand just how real this loss is to those of us who have gone through it.

While the sting of losing our baby has dulled, it is still there and I suspect it always be until we get to meet our sweet baby in heaven. Don't be discouraged if you find that you are feeling okay one moment and then out of nowhere you become quite upset or angry over your loss. For me, a trigger is when someone announces they are pregnant; I feel happy for them but the reality of my loss is far greater in that moment and I often find myself an emotional wreck.

I read a book called "Grieving the Child I Never Knew" and found it to be helpful in processing my grief. The author suggests naming the baby you lost and I did that and while I do not discuss this with others, it is helpful for me to think about our baby with a name because it breathes life into the fact that he was once alive.

Try to understand and be aware that your husband will grieve this differently and you may come to a point where it seems like he has moved on and you are still aching over your loss. We went through this and I had to learn to not be upset with Jason because he seemed fine; he grieved differently than me and for a shorter period of time. I think it is harder for us as women because of the instant emotional and physical connection we feel with our babies and the trauma we endure when we physically lose them.

Your loss is real and you are not alone in your grief. I'll never understand why the LORD allowed our babies to be glory babies, but I trust HIM as the GIVER and TAKER of life and it does my heart good to know that my baby and your baby are in the arms of JESUS.


Anonymous said...

Justine and Jason, I want you to know you are SOOOO LOVED! Imagine me wrapping my arms around you (if you'll let me) and giving you a long hug. I am grieving with you too. You were on my heart about two months ago, and I am sorry I didn't write you then. I am thankful that God's plan is for good and not evil, but it is so hard to walk through the fire! Your little one is so precious! You are so right. No one can ever fill that place that your baby does! I will be praying for your continued strength and encouragement to press into God and find His peace. Love you both so much! Katina

Anonymous said...

Wow Justine. You've always been a good writer. I actually do know what you are going through. I had a miscarriage January 1st, 2003 I was almost 4 months pregnant. I always had a feeling the baby was a boy, so his name was Noah. Everyone grieves differently and you are right, no one understands the feelings of a miscarriage like another woman who has gone through the same heartache. It is also hard for the husbands because they want to be supportive, but don't know how. All the while going through their grief in their own way. Miscarriage is extremely common and different for every woman. I hated all the sympathy, so I didn't go anywhere in public for weeks. I decided to have a DNC because I didn't want to wait days, or weeks or a month just waiting for something naturally to happen. It was the best decision for me. A woman approached me after having a miscarriage herself and had the guts to tell me that she felt awful for having a DNC because she felt it was having an abortion. Needless to say, that put me over the edge and tears for weeks more.
Even though the doctors said that there was nothing I could've done to prevent it, I couldn't help but think I could have. I did start trying again six months later, but I was more careful anyway and didn't tell anyone I was pregnant until way past the first tri-mester. I did feel a little guilt when trying to have another baby because I didn't want to feel as if I was replacing Noah. It's harder for people to understand because the baby is lost in the womb and not physically out in the present. I thought about him on what would've been his first birthday. I wondered what he would have looked like, what his personality would have been.
You have to go through whatever grieving process that soothes your soul. You take your time and when you're ready, be prepared to listen to the voice of God to strengthen you to move on. All life is precious to God and knowing that our little boy is healthy in heaven brings peace to my soul. The hurt will subside, but never fully dissipate. I'm glad it doesn't completely fade because it's a reminder of the child I never had the honor of holding in my arms.

I'll be praying for you,


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing these words with me. My heart is aching at the loss of our baby. I know this will be a long road and I will grieve in different ways along this journey. I pray that I will rely on the Lord as much as you have. You are a blessing to me.


Renee said...

Justine - I know our loss is different, but I am so grateful that we can grieve side-by-side, knowing that our babies are together in heaven playing at the feet of Jesus.