Healing After Miscarriage: How Do I Recover from This Loss?
The loss of a child due to miscarriage is a complicated journey – one that each person who experiences it must forge on their own. With the world often not celebrating life in the womb, the true loss a woman feels from the death of her baby is sometimes not fully acknowledged.
How do you journey through this loss and know you have processed it as thoroughly as you can this side of heaven? I believe that answer varies from one individual to the next and is unique to their experience in the loss.
Often today women do not disclose their pregnancy to family and friends until they reach their 12th week, when their chances of miscarrying decrease significantly. With the statistic of one in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage, this is a real possibility.
I wonder, however, if disclosing the pregnancy earlier even if there is a loss, would then give a woman potential support they could draw from, rather than suffering this loss alone. The Bible says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
Unfortunately, some people can be insensitive while trying to mean well by saying things like, “Well, at least you were able to get pregnant” or “You can try again later” or “Something must have been wrong with the baby. This is for the best.”
When I was the director of a pregnancy clinic, a pastor at our church came by for a tour. We talked about what the center provided including offering free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, parenting classes, etc.
In a back counseling room after the tour, he told me with tears in his eyes of a miscarriage he and his wife had experienced. They had already had two healthy children, but for some reason this pregnancy did not continue. He shared that the hospital offered them the option to bury their baby’s remains in a cemetery where other miscarried babies were buried. For them, this seemed a very caring offer in the midst of their healing journey. They now have a place to go to remember and grieve.
One client I had at another agency shared that because she was not in the best place financially when she got pregnant, her stepfather yelled at her. She was scared and stressed out and ended up miscarrying the baby.
She was so upset that God had allowed her to get pregnant but not to have a baby. She said she cried a lot and felt extremely alone. Sadly, she went on to have three more miscarriages. Because of the immense loss and heartache, she almost gave up on the idea of having children, but thankfully was able to conceive and carry two children.
A friend of mine who has experienced several miscarriages shared some very honest and open comments like the woman described above. Why would God allow her to become pregnant with all the hope and excitement of becoming a mother to then take the baby through miscarriage?
Why do some women get pregnant when not desiring to, when there are those who desperately want to and can’t? What if I can never have my dreams come true and have a baby? Why me? When is it MY time? She struggled seeing pregnant women, watching baby dedications, and even experiencing Mother’s Day.
This friend was able to go on and have three beautiful children, but she found it difficult to enjoy a healthy pregnancy after her miscarriages. She became hyper-focused on every twitch or pain, wondering if God was taking the baby again.
Then she felt guilty focusing on this new life within her, because she wasn’t thinking about the babies she had lost as much. They had consumed her thoughts so much that it was hard to not think of them.
What is Helpful and What is Not
My friend listed things that were not helpful after she experienced her miscarriages. She said, “Don’t tell me to ‘get over it’ or ‘move on’ or ‘snap out of it.’ Don’t tell me ‘at least it was early’ or that something must have been wrong with the baby. Don’t tell me ‘well, at least you can try for another.’ Don’t ask me what I think is wrong with me for why I miscarried. Don’t judge me for deciding that a D&C was the best option for me, my family, and my circumstances.
She said what was helpful was when people listened. Plain and simple, just listen. She appreciated hugs and people saying, “I’m sorry you’re going through this,” or when they confided that they’d had a miscarriage, too. She felt this was very important and believes that talk of miscarriages are often considered taboo.
My friend appreciated knowing she was not the only one and that there are rainbow babies after miscarriages. She found it thoughtful when people remembered her due dates, since this was very much on her mind.
She found a support group online which was very helpful. She appreciated when people asked how they could help, even if she said, “Oh, nothing.” Just knowing someone wanted to help spoke volumes to her.
My friend encouraged people to remember that women who have gone through miscarriages recently may decline invitations, especially to baby showers, and that the due dates that never where are a HUGE deal. We all experience phases of grief, and some of those phases last longer than others. My friend was angry for longer than she cares to admit.
She found it difficult to have sex again, knowing that she could get pregnant and have it all happen over again. That suggestion, “Let’s try again” for another baby was re-opening a wound that was still closing. She found her husband dealing with the loss more inwardly than she was. He was very supportive of her and struggled with seeing her angry, hurt, and sad. He said her spirit wasn’t the same. Miscarriages are life-altering events.
After everything is said and done, my friend realizes God had a plan for their family. This great and awesome plan included her three children and if she had not miscarried, she wouldn’t have these beautiful children. She sees God’s plan through it all.
She and her husband leaned on Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will make your paths straight.”
Christian Counseling for Healing after Miscarriage
If you have experienced a miscarriage, please know you are not alone. This is a significant loss. Help can be found in support groups, the church, friends, and family. Your loss is a difficult one that requires a grieving process. Remember, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 24:18).
If you feel you have not been able to process your grief or journey through your loss thoroughly, you may benefit from discussing it with a counselor in therapy. Grief needs to be expressed. It cannot be stuffed or ignored.
Sometimes people feel “stuck” in their grief and it can become what is called complicated grief. I would love to have the honor to walk with you in your grief journey. Please feel free to contact me or one of the other counselors in the counselor directory today. God can bring beauty from ashes and restore your soul.
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