Medical literature will tell you that a miscarriage is defined as the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks gestation.
Miscarriage survivors will tell you it is having something so profoundly sweet and precious taken from you that it leaves you empty, cold and lonely.
Each woman who has suffered through a miscarriage will have her own unique view of it and how it affected her life, but for this post, these are my perceptions of losing a baby in the early weeks of pregnancy. All of us react differently to circumstances forced upon us, but I’ll give you my story and my reactions to it.
My first miscarriage happened only 10 months after we were married. But I was simply devastated.
How can a woman truly describe the pain of losing a child you never held in your arms? Some people think a woman shouldn’t have to grieve the loss of a baby in early pregnancy. They think the fact that you carried that child for only a few weeks is reason enough to brush it off as though it was only a lump of tissue.
God’s Word says it differently. “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13
This verse gives every woman the right to grieve her lost baby. The “forming” it talks of here is begun in the very early stages of pregnancy, sometimes before the woman even knows she is pregnant. Did you know that around 5 weeks of pregnancy, simply one week after a woman knows she’s pregnant, that her baby’s heart starts beating? And then to have that heart stop its life-giving function leaves a woman vulnerable and grieving deeply.
I know when I lost my first baby, that miscarriage was the most difficult of all of them. I felt empty, alone, and hurting. Sure I had my husband and family beside me, but I missed my baby. It had been with me for every life-giving second for 6 weeks. I couldn’t shake the dead feeling I had inside.
My life as I had known it to that moment was changed forever. I had loved…..and lost. I had given of myself only to have death snatch it away in an instant. That feeling of “having company under one’s own skin” was gone and my arms ached for the baby I would never hold here on earth.
As I began to research possible causes of early miscarriage, I came to the realization that the medical community will do absolutely nothing until a woman has had three miscarriages. There was no way I was going to lose two more babies before I found an answer!
And so started my career of online researching. After hours of reading, I decided to do a hormone test since I suspected I was low in progesterone. A woman’s body has to have enough progesterone to sustain a pregnancy.
Sure enough! I was right. My progesterone levels came back at pretty much zero. But now I had a plan of attack. I still went on to lose one more baby before carrying my first to full-term, but it honestly didn’t devastate me quite as badly as the first. After the first child was born, I lost another one, and then yet one more almost nine years later. They were all devastating in their own way, but once you’ve been through one, you know a bit more what to expect.
I would encourage you ladies who have lost babies to do your own research. If I had not done it on my own, I would probably not have my firstborn son today. He, too, in all probability, would have ended in a miscarriage. You don’t have to be a doctor to understand the human body and all it requires to sustain a pregnancy.
If you are one of those who have given an angel back to God, take heart. You will get through this. It feels as though life has ended, but the sun will shine again. Just give it time.
Let your heart grieve that precious baby you carried within your womb, for it had a soul with worth beyond measure. Your grief is real and the sooner you accept that, the sooner healing can take place. It isn’t wrong to cry every day and every night. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian if you feel empty, alone and depressed. Just remember, that it will get better and there will come a day that you’ll find you actually smiled. Than a day you actually laughed. And if the Lord is willing, the day will come that you will hold a sweet newborn in your arms.
If you are the friend of a woman who has suffered a miscarriage, I’ll just say a few things. Sometimes people don’t know how to react to death, especially when they can’t even see the precious person that died. It’s easy to wonder why this woman is making such a big deal of it. Whatever your thoughts, please don’t ever, EVER say that to her. Unless you’ve walked in her shoes, you’ll have no idea of the grief that is tearing her heart apart.
Acknowledge that her grief is real, then say nothing more. She doesn’t want to hear about how there was probably something wrong with the baby and it wouldn’t have lived anyway. She doesn’t want to hear that God has a purpose in it if she will only believe it. She knows these things, but she must come to accept them in her own time. For the moment, give her a hug, tell her you love her, and say nothing more.
Just be a shoulder she can cry on. Be that strong, silent pillar to sit beside her at the next social gathering when she sees that pregnant mother walking by and her loss is driven home yet again. Take her out for lunch and let her know if and when she wants to talk about it, you are there to listen.
A good rule of thumb I’ve found to go by is to pick myself up out of my shoes and plant myself in theirs. Imagine how you would feel and how you would want people to respond to you.
Then pray God’s Spirit goes ahead of you. He has more power than we give Him credit for! In His time, He will heal that broken heart and fill the void left by that precious baby.