Two years ago, my husband and I lost our first child to miscarriage.
We lost our baby just a few weeks after we excitedly shared the news with our friends and family.
We were devastated: The loss was the most physically and emotionally painful thing I’ve ever experienced. And it was one of the hardest things we went through as a couple.
After our loss, the days and weeks were full of grief and guilt, unplanning plans, and canceling doctor’s appointments.
Every time we had to share the news with those who knew about the baby and those who we hadn’t told yet, there was another layer of heartbreak.
It’s Ashley on the blog today, with the second and final part of our infertility and miscarriage series. If you missed the first part, please read it here Encouragement for Seasons of Infertility: 7 Things You Need To Know
One of the most surprising part of our experience was how many others had experienced the same grief but did so in silence. After I shared our sad news with friends and family, many opened up and shared their own experiences of loss with us.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 known pregnancies ends in miscarriage. That’s 25% of all known pregnancies.
That statistic does not include pregnancies that might end so early that the mother has no idea she was pregnant. (These very early losses are known as chemical pregnancies).
Miscarriage is so much more common than we realize. What that means is that we do not have to bear this burden of grief alone.
That’s why I want to pull up a virtual chair and share some of the things we learned from our miscarriage, in the hope our experience will offer some comfort and encouragement.
If you’re reading this and have never experienced a miscarriage, I hope the insights will give a glimpse into what your family or friend is going through so you can better support and pray for them.
Grief from a miscarriage is hard on its own. But it is especially hard on a marriage. So I pray this post encourages you as individuals and as a couple.
Let’s jump in
Important things we learned from our miscarriage: encouragement for couples
1. Do something special to remember your little one
It was fall when my husband and I first found out I was pregnant. To share that news with our close friends and family, I painted a small white pumpkin with the words, “Our Lil’ Pumpkin Due July 2020.”
We lost our little one so early that we didn’t have a gender or name or even an ultrasound photo. That tiny white pumpkin became the only thing we had to remember them by.
We decided then that “Lil Pumpkin” would be reserved only for this baby, and we wouldn’t use that nickname for anything else. We also tied a string to the pumpkin’s stem and made it into an ornament put it on our Christmas tree that year.
Our tree is full of family memories, and now our little one will always be there amongst them. Doing something special to remember your baby can give you a sense of closure and healing.
2. When walking through the loss of a child, let others help you through your grief
After going through a miscarriage, we learned that accepting help is challenging.
Miscarriage is a unique kind of grief in that no one got to know that little one. They didn’t get to meet them or hold them or make memories with them. Especially in these cases, people often do not know how to help you.
But they show up. And you need to let them show up during this difficult time. When they offer, don’t just tell them you are fine if you’re not.
Let them pray with you. Let them bring you food. Let them bring you coffee or tea. If you have other children, let them watch them for a little while. Let them do your laundry or your dishes.
One of the things we learned from our miscarriage? When you’re grieving, it is okay to lean on those who love you and want to serve you.
3. Get all the support you need
Both as a couple and individually, it is crucial that you have outside support. Since you’re both walking through grief, it can be challenging to be each other’s sole support.
Many marriages struggle at this point: there’s deep hurt on both sides, and you want to be there for each other. But while you’re both walking through the same loss, your grief may be very different.
It was true for myself and my husband: our grief was so different.
I was not only dealing with the emotional toll but also the physical pain of a miscarriage. Your spouse may be dealing with the emotional pain of the miscarriage, along with feelings of helplessness and anger.
We both needed support outside of our marriage. We leaned heavily on our community to hold us up after our loss.
I had women in my life to depend on, many of whom shared their own stories of loss that reminded me I wasn’t alone. He had men in his life that he could lean on to support him in his grief.
We had people love us both together and separately, which meant the world to us as we were healing.
Getting the help you need could also look like seeking professional or pastoral counseling individually and as a couple to get through your grief.
Because each of us had individual support, we were better able to comfort one another and heal together as a couple.
4. Important things we learned from our miscarriage: Cling to scriptures that comfort you
In the months and days that follow experiencing a miscarriage, the grief can overwhelm you. It can feel like your heart is an open wound that will never heal.
Familiar, powerful scriptures reminding you of God’s goodness, His love for you, and His care for your sorrow can be incredibly comforting. Some of my favorites during my time of grief were:
“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 ESV
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” -Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” -2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV
During that season, I needed to be reminded that God cared for my grief and knew my suffering. I needed the reminder that He would somehow use my experience for good, though I didn’t know how yet.
I needed to be reminded that God was still good despite this tragic thing that had happened to me. Maybe you need that reminder too, and there is no better place to find it than in God’s Word.
5. Keep communication open with God
We learned from our miscarriage that feelings of anger, resentment, betrayal, and bitterness towards God when we lose a child to miscarriage are normal.
Though my experience grew my faith immensely, I felt all of these things in the days that followed my loss. I questioned everything, and I felt angry and cheated.
Despite feeling this way, I knew I would need God to get me through. I dragged myself to church when I didn’t feel like going. I opened my mouth when I didn’t feel like praying. I sang songs of praise when all I felt was discouragement.
I don’t say that to brag on myself, but to tell you that as the fog of my grief lifted, I was so thankful that I did those things when I didn’t want to. I know now that those things are what held me together when it felt like I was falling apart.
Praising through pain may be one of the hardest things you do, but it can be incredibly healing.
Take all of that pain and frustration to God. He is strong enough to handle all of your feelings. Let him hold you as you grieve, even if all your prayers are said through tears for a time.
6. When it’s time, move forward in the way that works for you and no one else
Some couples choose to try and get pregnant again right away. Some can’t stand the idea of another pregnancy.
Some are terrified they will experience this heartache over and over again. Some may want to seek as much medical information about the loss as possible. Some do not wish to pursue trying to find the cause.
Some losses are later in gestation than others and require more time to heal physically. Some couples can try again whenever they are ready.
For my husband and me, we chose to wait for just a month or so before prayerfully moving forward with trying to grow our family.
However you choose to move forward is the right decision for you and your family.
What we learned from our miscarriage: final words of encouragement
If you’re reading this post because you are walking through this grief, here is what I want you to hear:
You are not alone.
Your baby’s life mattered.
There is no timeline for your grief.
It is okay to move forward and have hope.
If you found this post encouraging or know of someone walking through this kind of loss, please share it so that they might be encouraged too.
About Writer: Ashley Nicole Harris is a writer and Bible teacher whose mission is to see women’s lives changed by learning to know God intimately through His Word. She enjoys writing at Faithfully Planted reading while sipping a La Croix, and enjoying God’s beautiful creation with her husband of 7 years, Mark