Unless you have lost a child, you can never really sympathize with a woman who has suffered a miscarriage. It is a different kind of pain that a parent carries with them on a daily basis until they are able to reach some sort of acceptance or peace about it. Or perhaps we want to believe that they have either accepted the loss or gained peace because we do not want to ‘deal’ with that person. I do not believe that we do it out of selfishness- the reason is more complicated than that. How do you co-mourn when you did not ever meet the child? How do you offer up empty words of comfort when you know that the parent will not want to hear them? Who wants to hear: “Don’t worry, it’s all in GOD’S hands”, or “You will have another one, just have faith”, or even “Pray and ask GOD for strength”.
It has been nearly 34 years since the death of my brother, and I know that my mother has never truly fully healed from that. Jonathan was her first child and she carried him to term, but when he was taken out of her womb, he was stillborn. He may not have been a miscarriage, but he was still a life that was taken away before he got the chance to live. However many months you have carried that child in your womb, that connection is there. Whether you wanted that baby or not, that connection remains. So when you lose that child, a part of you seems to die with that child. Yes, you continue on with your life- you return to work, you eventually have more children (in some cases) and you raise them with all the love that you can give. However, you are not going to forget about that lost child. Every now and then, you wonder about the child, what they could have become, what their personality would have been like, who they would have resembled more. You dream of what could have been and, in some way, you even blame yourself for their death.
A mother’s womb is meant to be a place of security, but instead of producing life, it became a place of death. Perhaps you feel that you have failed as a woman, a wife, and a mother. The emotions that you go through are deep and painful, far deeper than we can ever imagine. Your thoughts are a place of darkness and woe. What can we, as the outsiders, really say to bring comfort?
As Believers, we are meant to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn. The truth is, we have become so wrapped up in our own worlds that we struggle to find the words to say, or just how to be around a parent who has just suffered a miscarriage. Many of us feel uncomfortable and awkward- do we pat your back in an effort to offer some physical comfort without ‘overstepping’? Do we quote scripture in an effort to explain away the tragedy and possibly downplay the pain that you are going through? Should we bring ready-made meals to lessen your worries? The question is, do these actions and words show you that we are really mourning with you? Some people will pretend that it didn’t happen, others will avoid you like the plague, worried that you are going to break down in front of them and embarrass them in public (it’s true). Others simply cannot handle seeing that amount of pain in others and will run, while others are simply insensitive and will offer up the same old useless words.
What can we do? What should we say? Can we hug you and let you lean on us when you’re weak? Can we cry with you, for your baby, the little being that we did not get to meet? Can we sit with you and listen as you tell us of your pain, your anger, and possibly the guilt that you feel? Will you provide us with your child’s name so that we may acknowledge his/her individuality? Can we sit with you in your silence, offering our presence as comfort? When ‘sorry’ will just not do, what can we say? We could never profess to understand your pain, it would be an injustice to pretend as though that life didn’t exist, and it would be insensitive to assume that you can ever replace your lost child with another one.
To every parent that has miscarried: at times we outsiders find it difficult to express our sadness for your loss. I personally mourn for every child lost, whether through miscarriage, abortion or other causes. While I cannot understand your pain because I have not experienced such a tragedy, there are many of us who want to truly mourn with you, to offer the comfort that only a person who is close with our LORD can offer. We would gladly take on some of your burdens to give you a moment’s rest from your deep pain. I speak to both the mothers and fathers- find a brother or sister in Christ and share that burden with them. Let them take on that burden in spirit so that you may find rest and eventually open yourself up to receive the comfort that Jesus wants to give you. Woman of GOD, you have suffered through a miscarriage, but that burden that you carry is not yours alone.