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Grieving our Losses 9- Grieving Pregnancy Loss

Grieving Our Losses
Day 9- Grieving Pregnancy Loss
Ruth P. McDonald

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26, ESV)
“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces.” (Isaiah 25:8a, ESV)

From my dear friend Lauren:

“No one is prepared for the grief of pregnancy loss. It typically occurs unexpectedly with little time for processing. One day you are planning for the future of your unborn child, and the next you are told that there is no heartbeat or the pregnancy is not viable. It is mourning the person you never got to meet, or the little body you only held for a day. It is always wondering who that person could have been, or what he could have done.

Grief after pregnancy loss is also a very lonely place. Often, it is struggling quietly, as others may not have known about the pregnancy or had the opportunity to develop the same attachment. As the years go by, it’s often remembering every birthdate, due date, and Mother’s Day alone. It takes what is supposed to be one of the most joyous occasions and turns it into deep heartache.”

Pregnancy loss is alarmingly common, whether through miscarriage early on or further along in the pregnancy due to birth defects or complications. But common doesn’t mean easy. I, too, know the grief of losing pregnancy after pregnancy. It’s a very sad and lonely place to be. I often catch myself wondering about my babies: What did they look like? Who would they have become? In the months that followed each loss, my world was shaken and my dream to have our own children became shrouded in doubt and uncertainty.

Social situations can become uncomfortable and unwelcome. Seeing the joy surrounding the healthy births that are being celebrated by your friends and family is oddly painful. It’s hard to feel celebratory while navigating your own feelings of grief and maybe even resentment. It’s not that you want others to experience the deep aching loss that is your reality but that you want their story to be your own. A close friend or family member may try to whisper words of encouragement in your discomfort, but grief is weird. At times you may appreciate those sentiments, and at other times you loathe the attention given to the obvious absence of your own growing belly.

Pregnancy loss is a heartache that remains. It grows less painful, but at any moment sadness or tears may unexpectedly appear. Healing doesn’t mean that heartache disappears but that we learn to accept what’s happened and trust that God will work it out for good, even if we never see the good of it here. For the believer, the presence of our heavenly Father is our greatest comfort. When we are faced with seasons of sadness and grief, He is truly the strength of our heart. He compassionately draws close, wanting to be that hope and peace we desperately crave.

Our response to pregnancy loss will take many twists and turns throughout the grieving process, but ultimately we will make one of two choices: come to peace with our loss and ask that God will use it for good, or turn bitter and even angry with God for allowing it. We cannot know all the reasons why God’s plan for us often looks different than we hoped, but we can learn to trust Him despite circumstances that shake us and deeply wound us. This will require faith—faith that God is good even when we face really challenging losses. We may be quicker to make peace with pregnancy loss when God gives us another baby that we give birth to safely and with much joy. But there will be great reward for those who, though never knowing the joy of giving birth to a healthy child of their own, still live a life characterized by faithfulness and love for their Savior.

May we be sensitive to the needs of those who may be mourning and grieving pregnancy loss. They need compassion and understanding. They need friends who will be there for them. Sometimes they need someone to listen, and other times they may just need space. While adoption may be a plan that will develop in time for them, allow them this season to mourn the child they longed for. Pray for them and even with them, showing them your love and care by being the hands and feet of Jesus.

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