WT 063: How Do I Get Through Losing a Pregnancy or Child?
On today's episode of Wire Talk, we're sharing a topic that we've never touched on before: loss of a pregnancy or child. This is a tough topic, but it's so important. Even if you've never walked down this road with your own pregnancy, you probably have a dear friend who has. Karen has invited her sister, Ricki, to join the conversation and they talk about everything from grieving a miscarriage, how to support and love on your friends in that season, infertility and even losing a child after they've been born.
Question 1: I've been listening to your podcast and was wondering if you could touch on this topic at some point...loss of a pregnancy or a child. I am a mom to three adopted children. Although I love how God has brought our family together through adoption, I recently lost my first pregnancy to miscarriage. I am struggling with dealing with this loss and knowing how to properly grieve over this especially in the business of life as a mom. Karen’s Answer: You should grieve the loss. Just because this baby comes in at number 4 doesn't make the loss any easier. A mother loves all of her children the same, and you should mourn that child. Give yourself time to be sad, and only you can decide how much time you need. I know you have three children and are busy with that responsibility, but you’re allowed to grieve.
Riki’s answer: I experienced losing a baby before kids and after having kids.
When losing a baby before kids, I remember wanting to meet with anyone who had lost a baby in my same stage of pregnancy. Chip and I were finally able to meet with a pastor and his wife who had lost a baby late in pregnancy. I remember him saying to me at the end of the meal, "Jesus is the only one who can heal your broken heart."
To be honest, I didn’t like his answer.
I had waited several weeks to be encouraged and this was what he had to say? After I had time to process what he said, I realized that I had a choice to make. I could be bitter and mad at God for what had happened or I could choose to trust God and lean on Him in spite of things not turning out the way I had hoped. So, I chose the latter option and asked the Lord to heal my broken heart.
When you have children and lose a baby, there is not a lot of time to grieve; but, it's still important to grieve so you can move forward. I mourned the loss of that baby during the quietness of naptime and bedtime.
The most helpful thing I did was pray and read my Bible. I started getting on my hands and knees before God to talk about all of it. I gave thanks even though I didn’t understand why we lost our baby. While reading, I found Psalms to be very comforting. My pastor was correct that Jesus is the only one who could heal my broken heart. Writing in my journal or writing a letter to the baby I lost helped as well.
Question 2: Karen, I've had friends who have lost children: stillbirths, cancer, and more. How do we support ourselves and other moms who are going through this grief?
Karen’s Answer: Love on them. Just be there for them. Sometimes we don’t know what to say, but our mere presence is enough. Don’t ignore them! The isolation will make it worse. Ask God to give you ideas on how to love your friend grieving the loss of a child.
Riki’s answer: I remember Karen coming to visit after we lost our baby and that was extremely helpful. Karen got me out of the house which kept my mind preoccupied, and we went to the mall. She helped me write some thank you notes for dinners and flowers that I had received. She reminded me that I would see my baby again in Heaven one day, and emphasized how short this life is but Heaven is an eternity. At the time, it felt like each day was a 100 years to me. I needed to hear and be encouraged by that truth!
Question 3: Karen, I have a grown daughter who is struggling with infertility. I want to ask her about it often and be the support she needs, but I also want to let her have her space. How do I support her in this season? What words of encouragement can I give or prayers I can pray for her?
Karen’s Answer: I asked a dear friend of mine who struggled with infertility and here is what she said:
Lauren said she had to almost educate people around her how to grieve with her. She was the chief bearer of the weight of grief. Lauren said these things helped her:
For key people in her life to pay attention to special dates, like doctor’s appointments, and send words of encouragement.
The present of presence. Just being present with her meant a lot.
Being treated during this time: going to a movie, a trip to Starbucks, a small gift, etc.
Offering your support: “I am here for you, whatever you need.”
Lauren’s mom had to realize she couldn’t fix the problem. There wasn’t a pretty bow at the end; it was messy. Lauren said she experienced a new perspective of God; it was hard and painful. She had to face the death of a dream; she would never give birth to a child. She wrote a letter to her unborn child. Question 4: Karen, I lost a child 5 years ago. I grieved, but I struggle with feeling guilty moving on with normal life. Do you have any scripture you can share with me?
Karen’s Answer: Remember, you may have lost your child on this earth, but you have not lost them forever! One day you will be reunited with them in heaven, so keep that in the back of your mind. Life goes on. It doesn’t mean your love for the lost child fades away. You must move on in life.
Riki’s answers: Karen visited while I was pregnant with my daughter Caroline and she took me to go see a counselor. I was around 10-12 weeks pregnant, and I was depressed. I was so thankful to be pregnant, but I was still mourning the loss of our first baby.
I felt guilty to be happy. I felt it minimized our first baby. And I was still scared of losing this baby too! The counselor suggested I write down 5 verses that meant something to me that addressed fear. I wrote those verses down and carried those verses with me everywhere I went. When the fear crept in, I pulled out that sheet of paper and recited the verses aloud. I was so anxious and I couldn’t memorize scripture, so that really helped to calm my fears. Eventually, I recited the verses by memory. Find scripture to cling to!
Another thing that helped me to move on with my mourning was a sermon I heard while driving home one day. The pastor said to enjoy the gift that you have been given. I realized I needed to move forward for the baby I was currently carrying and to be joyful and thankful. When I lost two more babies after we had kids, I had to apply this same principle. I had to be thankful for my living children and not focus on what I lost.
A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Jerry Sittser
Thank you for your real, honest questions, Moms. Your questions are what make this podcast work. If you have a question, we want to hear it.
Thank you, moms. Have a great day!