I held the miscarried body of my 7-week-old baby in the palm of my hand. The lifeless body looked and felt like no other baby I’d known. With surprising force and certainty, love for my child swept over me. Despite how easy it could have been to discount what I saw as somehow sub-human, my heart, soul, and body knew differently. My understanding of pregnancy and motherhood was just beginning when I first felt the symptoms of miscarriage. Yet in one instant, the realization that this was my child was cemented into my identity. I was a mother.
It’s often difficult for women and families to talk about miscarriage. The experience is visceral, violent, and profoundly personal. Grieving takes time. Even after a measure of healing it remains an uncomfortable subject. When it arises unexpectedly in small talk it often leads to awkwardness. Some have no idea how to respond, and some respond in unhelpful ways.
Even so, there are several reasons it’s helpful to share with others about your loss. Here are four.
1. You need support.
Miscarriage can feel isolating, and recovery can be long. It may seem like you’re the only one who knows the suffering you’re going through.
But you are not alone.
It’s humbling to admit that you’re sad and weak. A sensitive topic like miscarriage makes it even harder. When you feel up to it, reach out to family and friends for support. God’s grace is sufficient in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), and the community of the church can help you bear this burden. In my case, sharing my loss brought unexpected comfort from people who had similar experiences.
2. The church needs your voice to help them minister well.
All of us who are in Christ are “members one of another” (Rom. 12:5). We’re here to care for each other, to weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). Sharing your need allows your brothers and sisters in Christ to exercise their gifts to care for you. Not only that, but your voice in the church can advocate for the care of other families.
One in three pregnancies end in miscarriage.
One in three pregnancies end in miscarriage. However, there are few Christian resources for families grieving miscarriage. Many churches are unaware of the extent of the need. Your experience is a window into the suffering of others. Speaking about your loss can help the church learn and grow (2 Cor. 1:3–7). It can also help someone who’s silently suffering feel less alone in their grief.
3. The church needs your voice to help them celebrate well.
Because miscarriage (and infertility) is such a personal experience, church culture tends to assume marriage always produces children, and pregnancy always yields a healthy baby. But knowing that miscarriage is common makes me approach pregnancy with humility, and adds hopeful gravity to my congratulations. The arrival of a healthy baby is made even more exciting by the knowledge that it didn’t have to be so. Life is more precious to me because I’ve experienced loss. Sharing about miscarriage can help the church celebrate and welcome new life with the joy of undeserved favor.
4. The culture needs your voice.
Christians care about the loss of babies in the womb because we care about the life of babies in the womb. Families who have experienced miscarriage have seen their children in the flesh at early stages of gestation, unobscured by technology. This gives us a unique perspective on life in the womb. Bringing the tragedy of miscarriage to light helps make sense of our sorrow over abortion, and adds consistency to our advocacy.
Almost a year after my first miscarriage, my daughter Liesl Mae was born healthy and beautiful. Her name reminds me of the faithfulness of God (Liesl, “God is my oath”), even in suffering (Mae, “bitterness”). After my second miscarriage, this beautiful reality was slippery in my grasp. It still is sometimes.
I find it difficult to talk about my miscarriages, especially when the topic comes up unexpectedly. But I think often of what John Piper has said—that “not one ounce” of a Christian’s suffering will have been wasted when we reach eternity. I believe that. Perhaps it’s not wasted here on earth, either. As we share our stories, may we do so in hope the Lord will use our suffering in ways we may not have foreseen.