Before my miscarriage, I had a hard time understanding what other people who had miscarried or experienced loss were going through. I had some friends and family who had experienced miscarriages and I somehow lacked the compassion. I never spent longer than a couple minutes pondering the little life that was lost or the sadness and grief that the family must be going through. I thought to myself, “That’s sad” and then would proceed with my life without a second thought or prayer for them. I was selfish. I wasn’t loving. I never walked through that trial with them or attempted to know how they were feeling. I was also guilty of being that person that said insensitive things in hopes of trying to brighten this very dark and difficult journey.
Although I’d never for a minute wish that this miscarriage happened to me, it has given me new insight into how to grieve with other people going through a loss like this, also. I’ve experienced an overwhelming sense of love and encouragement from family and friends and have been given a fair share of encouragement, prayers, bible verses and books lately and while it’s all been so helpful, I’ve also had things said to me that have not helped my healing process. After going through a loss ourselves, I thought it would be helpful to write about things NOT to say to those grieving a loss.
- “At Least You Can Get Pregnant.” As I write this first one, I embarrassingly chuckle to myself as I am guilty of saying this very thing to a close friend of mine when she experienced an ectopic pregnancy. I know she had struggled with conceiving for quite sometime before her ectopic, so after she told me about everything that had happened, I wanted to try and stay positive and I thought it was encouraging to know that she, in fact, could get pregnant and that there wasn’t anything wrong. Pregnancy was achievable for them! I never knew how insensitive it was at the time. I don’t even think she ever told me it was insensitive but from my experience, I’ve realized just how insensitive and unhelpful it was to say. I was encouraged when I first found out I was pregnant because I did realize that there wasn’t anything wrong with either of us and that pregnancy was possible after all! However, after my miscarriage, this phrase became so redundant and so aggravating because after a year and a half of trying to get pregnant…..I was back at square one, having to start all the way over to achieve a pregnancy. Yes, I know I can get pregnant, but no, it doesn’t encourage me hearing this because I know the anxiety, stress, sadness, frustration and anger that comes with “trying” to conceive and here I am, doing it all over again.
- “Rejoice in your sufferings.” As a chronic worrier and a constantly anxious person, I’ve memorized scripture that has had to do with this very thing since I struggle with it so much. James 1:2-3 and Matthew 6:25-34 are among some of the common verses I’ve memorized as a way to remember the biblical truth and not what my emotions and anxiety cause me to believe. The very day I miscarried, I trusted in God’s plans, even though it meant that I was losing my baby. I know that through this trial, He is refining me, strengthening me, molding me and is going to use this to glorify Him in the future. I know I should count it as a joy when God puts trials in my life because that will make my faith and reliance on Him even greater but that doesn’t make this any less painful or any less difficult. While I know this phrase to be biblical truth, it hasn’t been helpful to hear it over and over again. This comment has almost made me feel like the things that I’m feeling are not adequate and that if I’m not rejoicing in my pain, then I’m doing it wrong. I’m learning that is okay to mourn, it is okay to be sad, it’s okay to admit that this trial absolutely sucks and I think allowing ourselves to do those things will help us grieve and allow us to come to know Jesus a little better because of it. He mourns with me and He still loves me despite how I feel amidst these circumstances.
- “It’s In God’s Timing; It’ll happen when it’s meant to happen.” I’ve been guilty of saying this very thing to friends who have been in a chapter of “waiting.” Regardless of what it was that my friends were waiting for, I’m always the first to chime in by saying, “It’s in God’s timing, it will work out according to His will.” It’s always easier to say it when you’re a third party person not immediately involved in the trial of “waiting.” Now I, by no means, am trying to minimize the truth and value of this comment but, as in the previous comments, it becomes redundant and almost expected for someone to say this to me. I believe without a doubt that I will become pregnant again and it will be in His timing. I also believe my last pregnancy was in God’s timing, but friends, that doesn’t make it any easier or any less difficult to wait. I’ve been holding on to this reminder for as long as I’ve desired to be a mom. My constant prayer has been, “Not my will God, but yours. I pray that my desires become your desires and that our children will be according to your plans.” His timing is better than anything I could ever imagine, but the pain of waiting is sometimes unbearable. I think this phrase is almost something that someone says to be done with the conversation because those that have never been in this position never know what else to say. I always think that this is something that is said to make the person mourning feel better, which, in a way, it does because God is the one who has control of my life and His timing is best, but I also feel like it is used as a way to minimize the heartache and pain that comes along with waiting.
- “You’ll be a great mother someday.” I know this comment is meant as a compliment and to a certain extent, that’s how I take it, but it also implies that the loss I experienced doesn’t make me a mother. However, regardless of how far along any woman is in her pregnancy, the moment she sees that positive pregnancy test, she becomes a mother and that loves blossoms into something you could never imagine. Within a week of me knowing that I was pregnant, I was praying for my baby’s salvation and future life. I was so in love with this baby. More in love then I ever thought possible and I hadn’t even seen that baby face to face yet! Although I’m not quite sure what it is like to parent a newborn, or a toddler, or an adolescent, or a teenager, I do know what it is like to have a love so deep for that baby that the only thing I could compare it to is the Father’s love for us! I became a mother the day I found out I was pregnant and I will be forever changed because of it. It just might not look like most people who have healthy children.
So, I say these things, not to criticize those who have said these things (because, despite whatever has been said to me throughout this trial, I have truly appreciated every bit of encouragement I’ve received) but to just bring a little more insight to understanding how to come along side someone grieving a loss. You may be asking, “So what should I say to you or someone going through a similar trial?” That’s a great question as many people have asked me this very question. After Zach and I have discussed this quite a bit, I think the most encouraging and loving things that we’ve experienced is just having people mourn with us, love us and pray for us. I have learned that prayer is the best medicine as sometimes, I, myself, don’t even know what to do or say or ask for, but asking God to reveal those things is all we can do. To all of those people that took time out of their lives to pray with us, to send us a text encouraging us and to just mourn with us through all of this….all I can say is, thank you!