On my calendar each year I write down the birthdays of our loved ones, little hearts are drawn where an anniversary is celebrated. But on my calendar, there are 5 birthdays that many wouldn’t really count. Five birthdays of members in our family that we don’t get to celebrate with yet. They have gone ahead of us to Heaven and I can’t imagine the celebration they get to enjoy up there!
With each loss the ache does not get easier. With each loss I long for Heaven more.
The topic of miscarriage is often kept silenced. Why is that?
God has placed a deep desire on my heart to reach out to Mama’s who have experienced this loss and be a person who offers them the hope of healing by pointing them to Christ, the One who can actually heal their hurting heart. I also long to help those who have not gone through such pain to maybe understand a little bit about what their loved one or friend may be going through and give pointers on how to encourage and help them through this difficult time.
Many women have sent me messages asking, “How can I help my friend? I don’t understand her pain and loss, but I want to help!” I say, “Praise God for your sensitive spirit!” What a blessing it is when the body of Christ acts like the body of Christ and reaches out to our hurting family members, even when we do not understand.
My advice first of all is to pray, pray, pray. Pray for that Mama! If you are a mother whether by birthing your own child or by adoption, as soon as you know that baby is on the way your heart instantly fills with hopes and dreams! Your mind suddenly becomes filled with nursery themes, potential baby names, pictures of what he/she may look like. “Will he have my eyes?” “Will she have her Daddy’s dimples?” We DREAM and can’t wait for those long nine months to pass and we get to hold our sweet anticipated baby in our arms.
We follow a healthy diet plan, we endure the morning sickness, we wait in anticipation to feel those first flutters, we follow our prenatal plans to a “t”!
So what happens when those dreams are shattered by a few simple words that hold the most heartbreaking news, “We can’t find a heartbeat”? How can one really help a mother who no longer is going to get to see those dreams fulfilled? A mother who is left sobbing much of the time as she feels the deepest pain her mother’s heart has ever known.
Pray my friend, pray. Don’t just tell her you are going to pray and then never do, as can often happens in our Christian circles, no. Really, pray! Her pain is real. Her pain is deep. She may struggle for a few weeks, a few months. Pray for her! Ask God to bring her to mind often so you remember to pray. Write her name down on your hand, on a piece of paper, on your mirror, anywhere you will see it often so that you can be reminded to pray for her. God is the only One who can ultimately bring the healing and healing takes time. So in that time, pray!
Second, I encourage others to acknowledge she and her husband are really truly experiencing a loss. The loss of any life is a tragedy. We mourn for those babies that are aborted, so why would we not mourn the loss of a baby who was miscarried or born still? We understand that God is the giver and taker of life, but it is still very natural to mourn and grieve the loss of the baby one truly never knew.
How can we acknowledge this loss? I encourage those who ask, to go pick up a coffee/tea/hot cocoa and drop it off at her home or her place of work. Let her know you are thinking of her! Send a note in the mail letting her know you are thinking of her and praying for her. When you see her ask her how she is doing, I mean really
doing and then wait for her reply. Don’t ask in a “I really don’t care hurry up and answer so we can move on because this is awkward” kind of way. We all know how that feels anyway when we are not going through a rough time, so imagine how it would feel when it is compounded by this hurt? Show you really do care by listening. Even if you don’t know the hurt and pain yourself (praise God for that!), listen, admitting you can’t relate instead of trying to pretend you do. There is nothing wrong with admitting you may not understand or relate but it is rather frustrating when others who have not experienced the pain try to pretend they do. Don’t listen with the intent of finding out juicy gossip to spread around. Keep her shared heart confidential and take it to the Lord, not to your next ladies luncheon. Don’t be afraid to cry with her if she does choose to open up.
Third, don’t gloss over the loss by giving input where it is not needed. Oh my oh my, this is where more hurt can come in. Avoid saying things like: “At least you were not that far along”, or “You are young, you can always have more!” If this is her 1st loss or her 17th, no one child will make up for the one she has lost! If you have children in your home, you know that if you were to (God forbid!) lose one of your children, you know that no other child could take his/her place! It just isn’t possible! The same thing applies to when a baby is miscarried! Though we may not have known that child out of the womb, that child was ours and there is no replacing one life with another!
Also, if she has had multiple miscarriages please, oh I beg of you, please do not try to give her your advice on the matter or encourage her to stop “trying”. I’m just going to be blunt, it isn’t your business. I know, I’m sorry, that was harsh or maybe a bit “to honest” but wow, seriously, your thoughts on their reproduction does not help. That is the business of her, her husband, and God. We do not know God’s will or plans for the lives of others. Our job is not to judge or weigh in on that matter, our job is to minister.
I was the recipient of comments such as these and they hurt and frustrated me. As much as we all think we can control the conception of life, that truly is in God’s hands. If we had heeded the “wisdom” of others (who were not doctors) we wouldn’t have had our 2 year old. Life is in God’s hands. When comments are made about “just stop trying!” it feels as if the commentator just devalued the life of the baby lost. Talk about bringing out the “mama bear” in a real quick hurry! Not to mention, the commentator has just lost opportunity to actually minister in the life of that woman.
This in a nutshell is in my opinion a few ways to help minister to a hurting mama. I am deeply appreciative of the women God has placed in my life that have encouraged me, prayed for me, and simply been there through my times of grief and loss. God is good and God brings healing in time. His grace is sufficient in our time of need and every moment of the day.
I hope this blog post has been helpful and given a few ideas of how to help minister to those you know experiencing this kind of loss.