Words of Comfort in Miscarriage

My Three Other Children

Between my son and my daughter, are three children who are in Heaven:


Mara

Even though we didn’t know whether that baby was a boy or a girl, we named her Mara.  Maybe because we had a vibrant baby boy in our arms, it was easier for her to be “other.”  Mara means “bitterness.” In the book of Ruth, Naomi chose it for herself after losing her sons and husband. baby girl grief during miscarriage

On the night before my husband’s ordination, we were in the emergency room until 3 a.m., when they finally found a sac, just off my ovary.  But they couldn’t see anything more than that, so the doctor chose to monitor and wait.  It took weeks losing her, but the pregnancy resolved itself, and I slowly watched the HCG levels peak and then start to decline. . . and then she was gone.
 It took weeks losing her, but the pregnancy resolved itself, and I slowly watched the HCG levels peak and then start to decline. . . and then she was gone.
Jessica
I lost Jessica on Ash Wednesday. The urine test had said I wasn’t pregnant. I argued, so they took an HCG test. I was right. The doctor could see the sac — this time in my uterus where it belonged, but no heartbeat yet. “Maybe it’s too soon,” she said.
I’d had a little bleeding so I stayed home from church with my son.  An hour after my husband left, the contractions started and my toddler decided that was the time to be inconsolable. By the time my husband came home, they were finished and the toddler was asleep.
 boy's feet. words of comfort

Noah

Noah was different. We lost him at nineteen weeks. The midwife couldn’t find his heartbeat, but we’d heard it before, and we didn’t believe anything could be wrong until we saw the face of the ultrasound technician — who wouldn’t let us see the screen.
My doctor wanted to send me to an abortionist to get a D&E because they were expert at the procedure that most OBs never have to perform. I wouldn’t let a murderer chop up and suck out my baby.
My doctor then checked me into the hospital and induced labor. We held him in our hands, wept over him, had him cremated, and gave him a memorial service with my in-laws in attendance. God bless them.

Miscarriage in the Parish

People often refer to life as a pastor’s family as “the fishbowl,” because people are always watching.

The congregation didn’t know about the first miscarriage.  We didn’t know them well enough to tell them what was going on.  Dealing with a miscarriage in the congregation means that a lot more people know and feel the need to say something.

I cannot begin to express the pain of enduring the other two losses in the public eye — putting on a brave face while people assured me with:

  • “it was God’s will”
  • “you can always have another,”
  • or worse “at least you have one.”there's a real baby in the womb that dies in a miscarriage

As Christians, we need to learn what to say to grieving mothers — even after going through it myself, sometimes I am wary.  But the phrases above deny the reality that these children were real and their deaths were real. All that is needed is a simple “I’m so sorry.”

People have asked how I would handle being pregnant in a congregation. We’ve announced excitedly the moment we knew, and so had to announce the miscarriage.  We also waited a while before we announced the last two pregnancies.

I haven’t had to decide again, but I think I prefer the first way. It is better to have the prayers of the Body of Christ than to be in silence. It is also better to have people grieve with me, however awkwardly, than to grieve alone.

 

The Two Words that Brought Me Comfort

There were two words that brought me comfort. Words directly from the Bible…words that usually only seem to draw attention for their smallness…the shortest verse in the Bible.

“Jesus wept.”

 

Jesus wept outside of Lazarus’s tomb, knowing full well that He would be raising him from the dead in just a few moments….knowing also that he would soon conquer death.

 

Jesus wept because it was NOT His will that any of us should ever have to face death.

The Lord of Life Cries over DeathJesus wept when raising Lazarus

Jesus knew so completely the eternal horror we would face because of our sinfulness.  So often, we glibly dismiss what to him was so tragic that to rescue us from it, He Himself took on flesh and endured our punishment so that we would not be utterly consumed by it.

Whenever I encounter this text in the pericopes, I remember the comfort these words bought. For me, it is one of the richest texts in the Bible.

  • It shows Thomas’s loyalty to Our Lord, encouraging the other disciples to follow Jesus even unto death.
  • The much-maligned Martha being the first to confess belief in the resurrection of the dead when Christ returns triumphant.
  • And it shows how tragic death is, that death even brings the Lord of Life to tears.

 

It was not God’s will that my children died. I will see them again in Heaven, but to know that Christ wept with me over their deaths even though He is victorious over death brought so much more comfort than “it was God’s will.” That didn’t ring true. God never made man

That phrase does not ring true. God never made man to die — He didn’t want us to know what evil was. He wanted us to eat from the Tree of Life.

Satan and man conspired to bring to bring death and evil into the world. It was not God’s will that Adam and Eve should die, or that Lazarus should’ve died (twice), or that as we age our bodies should break down and turn on us, or that the babies that He creates to live should die before even taking a breath.

His tears proclaim it.  His own death and resurrection annunciate it through the heavens.

 

He is risen, He is risen indeed. . .

and because He rose from the dead, I know that I shall rise also. I also know with confidence that my children are safe with Him.

My heart misses them and I will always grieve that I was not allowed to hold them and know them.  We still grieve even when we know that we have the comfort of salvation.  We grieve the separation and that is a very good thing to grieve, because it never should’ve been.

We grieve the separation, and that is a very good thing to grieve, because it never should’ve been.

My children are at the feast in Heaven that I was at today when I knelt at the communion rail, and someday, these eyes shall look upon them and know them, because He is risen.

 

(this post was originally published on March 22, 2008 and has been edited)Pinterest graphic for words of comfort in miscarriage

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