Monday, June 11, 2007

A Universal Need

I had the opportunity this weekend to talk to several dear friends who have experienced miscarriage - one has suffered six miscarriages, one lost a child at 16 weeks, all sorts of experiences. There were several common threads among these Christian ladies: All were tremendously comforted by the hope of heaven - they knew they would see their babies again. All were still moved by thinking about it, even if it happened years ago, tears filled their eyes as they talked about it. All were hurt by those who felt they should just get over it.

I think that grieving alone is extraordinarily hard. Why do we have visitation the night before the funeral when a loved one died? Of course, it is ostensibly an opportunity for everyone else to say goodbye, but I really think the family benefits by knowing others are grieving with them and sorrowing and praying for them. I remember when my mother in law was widowed. She said that she wished it was still the fashion to go into mourning clothes, to wear black for a year. She craved some public statement that she was grieving; some immediate identification that she was hurting. I understand now.

Have you ever just told someone you thought would be interested that you had a miscarriage and had them look at you like "Oh no! Why are you telling me this?" It really, really hurts. It is sad that miscarriage comes with no predetermined cultural rituals that declare our pain. Instead, it is up to those of us who've been through it to support and sorrow with our friends when they suffer. I wish I hadn't had to go through this to understand it, but let us comfort others; let our pain be blessed by the Lord to transform us; to make us instruments of His grace!


Bonnie said...

This definitely needs to be confronted...thanks, Melanie. Even an early miscarriage is painful and there needs to be a grieving process. I lost a baby at 11 weeks and ended up having a D&E. For the rest of the world, "it" was over--for me, my grief had just begun. I was blessed to have a very supportive network of friends and family. The ladies at my church brought over a meal just like they would have done for a funeral or the birth of a baby. Several friends who had never shared before told me that they had had miscarriages and it helped to know that they understood. One friend told me, "Don't let anyone tell you any different--you have to allow yourself to grieve over this. It is OK to feel a real loss here even though you never held that baby. It was *your* baby." That advice helped more than anything.

My prayers are with you, dear one.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Bonnie and Melanie. I know I'm joining this thread a bit late, but I've just miscarried my first baby (first pregnancy). One of the hardest things has been how quickly everyone else has moved on. I bled for 2 weeks before passing my baby, 1.5 after the (11 week) ultrasound showing that the baby had died. So the shock and condolences had already worn off by the time I experienced this huge loss. I have an incredibly supportive husband, family and friends, yet somehow even their support rarely feels like enough because their lives are inevitably moving on (meanwhile I continue to bleed and grieve). This blog has provided much comfort (at 4 in the morning:). Thank you so much!