Grieving a Miscarriage Part 1: For the Mourner
In August of 2021, my wife and I joined the club that no one talks about and no parent desires to join. We lost a child to a miscarriage. It would have been our fourth child. We found out about her pregnancy during the summer and celebrated it as we had the other three. Her eight-week doctor visit had a different tone than the others, though. We were told of some potential complications early on and were given indicators that led us to anticipate the inevitable bad news. Megan, my bride, was 12 weeks along when it was confirmed that we had lost our child. We were hurt. We had many questions. We had very few answers. We were sad and frustrated. This was water that we hadn’t yet charted. And while we knew others had, it was a journey many seemed to keep to themselves.
Just seven months later, in February of 2022, we had a second miscarriage.
Miscarriages are complex circumstances to walk through. They have different impacts on different people. In our experience, not only do those who are walking through it often not know how to think about it, but those who walk alongside the parents who miscarried often don’t know how to comfort or console them. It’s a very isolating event for many.
Here are a few things my wife and I learned through our experience that I pray will be helpful for those who have either grieved, or maybe are in the process of grieving a loss of their child through miscarriage.
1. This is the real loss of a real life. It’s okay to mourn.
This might seem strange to those who haven’t walked down this road before. When you lose a child to a miscarriage, early in a pregnancy, there often is no closure. You just go from, “yay, we’re pregnant!” To “we’re not pregnant anymore.” There’s no delivery. There’s no funeral. You’re just left in your emotional trauma, a half-finished baby room, and your wife is left to deal with the physical repercussions of the loss. It’s hard to wrap your mind around how to think about your loss.
Four months after our second miscarriage, Roe v. Wade was overturned. It was fascinating and maddening to see the uproar of people who were upset about this. As Christians, we believe the baby in the mother’s womb is a life. No matter how far along in the pregnancy, this child, once conceived, was created by God. I remember having conversations with my wife and friends about how unthinkable it was to us that someone would willingly choose to murder their child. We would’ve done anything to keep our child(ren). To lose a child in a miscarriage is to lose a real life. As a Christian, it should feel as such and should be grieved as such.
2. Husbands and wives have different experiences.
While this is a loss for both the mom and dad, miscarriages impact the spouses differently. I remember leading worship the Sunday after we found out about our first miscarriage. We finished our first set, and I walked offstage to sit with my wife. As I looked down, I saw her opened Bible sitting in her lap in front of a very obvious, 12-week developed, pregnant, baby bump. At this point, we had already undergone a post-miscarriage procedure, so I was looking at a baby bump that no longer held a baby. I remember getting emotional thinking that every time she got out of the shower, brushed her teeth, read her Bible, looked in the mirror, tied her shoes, buttoned her pants, or took a picture (at least for a season), she would be reminded of the loss of our child. It was then when I knew our experiences would be very different. While both of us experienced the pain of our miscarriages, it was important for me to realize that our hurting was both individual and shared.
3. This is not a punishment.
Multiple times over the course of a few months following the first miscarriage, my wife would say things like, “I just wonder if I did something wrong.” “Do you think this is punishment for something?” We had to address these thoughts head-on. Our theology of suffering and the sovereignty of God was helpful. We believe God works all things for the good of those who love Him. We also believe all things pass through the counsel of His will, and we believe He does all things for His maximum glory. The enemy will try to thwart these truths and make you believe that maybe you did something wrong to deserve this. Fight these lies. We had to go to war with our thoughts and use the Word, the sword of the Spirit, to do so. This isn’t a punishment. We live in a fallen world where suffering exists and faith is necessary. God has ordained a bitter providence for His maximum glory and your ultimate good. Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him. He will make your path straight.
In the strange kindness of the Lord, we found that He actually used both miscarriages, and all the pain that came with both, to show us a new glimpse into His grace. There are some pieces of God’s grace we can’t understand without suffering. Trust the Father’s heart for His children.
4. You need community. Let people in.
It’s uncomfortable to acknowledge you need something. Especially when you don’t know exactly what you need. To even have the thought that you are not okay is uncomfortable. We like to give off the impression we are okay so that people won’t see us as weak or needy. This state of life is fake and a scheme of the enemy to isolate you in your suffering and pain. You need community and you need to let people in. After our first miscarriage, Meg and I didn’t do a great job of letting people in. We kept it close. After the second miscarriage, we knew we needed to let more people in.
God blessed us with incredible friends who wouldn’t give us the option to turn them down. Friends like our young adult director, Hunter, and his wife, Chey, who were waiting for us when we came home from the hospital after we learned of our second miscarriage. Devin, a member of our worship team, and her husband, Dylan, cooked us meals for a solid week. We never asked for it; they just kept showing up with food. I called Matt, our executive pastor and personal mentor, and he simply offered, “what do you need?” I broke down, sobbed, and confessed, “I’m not okay, man. I just need someone I trust to know this.” He listened on the other end of the phone as I cried and calmly reassured, “I’m here. Whatever you need.”
It’s these names along with many others who God used to sustain us. We are not meant to walk this life alone. Don’t rob yourself from this blessed comfort. Don’t rob others from being a part of your comfort. God will use the people around you. Let them in.
5. Depend on the Spirit and the scriptures. Everything else will fade.
In the providence of God, two months after our first miscarriage, I had a month-long sabbatical planned. One day, I had a few members of our team come over to write for our second record. The idea we decided to write about was the Word of God. The passage that inspired the song, and actually became the bridge, was Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” As we wrote, a vase holding withered flowers sat in view. These withered flowers were sent weeks after our miscarriage to comfort and encourage us. The visual picture in this whole scenario was stunning. Grass will wither and flowers will physically fade. But, also, in seasons of suffering, even the intentionality and urgency of community will fade. People will move on, and it’s okay. The Word of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit have to be what we depend on. All else will fade.
If you have experienced a miscarriage, I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief doesn’t have a timeline. In some ways, I think we’ll always have seasons of grieving these losses. I pray you are comforted by the God of all comfort, and I pray the comfort you receive from the Lord will allow for you to comfort others who experience similar bitter providences.
Brett is the Worship Pastor at The Journey Church in Lebanon, TN and the founder of Journey Worship Co. He is married to Megan and has three boys, Keaten, Griffey, and Lou.
- Abiding: Moving From Simple Belief To Walking In Communion With Christ, Trusting: Moving From Unbiblical Views To A God-Glorifying Understanding Of Suffering