Grief after a Miscarriage
After being married for 2 years, my wife and I decided to start a family. I was 33 and she was 28, and I wasn’t getting any younger. After a year of trying, we were getting worried something was wrong. But, as an answer to prayer, 2 months later we found Catherine was pregnant. Excited doesn’t come close to what we were feeling. But, in what we now see as God’s plan, we had a miscarriage at 13 weeks. The depths of loss couldn’t be plumbed that day. Then, to be told that Catherine would have to have a D&C procedure was even added heartbreak, as it is conducted in the labor and delivery ward of the hospital.
The day she found out, I was at a men’s sports event and all us guys had gone to lunch after playing tennis and football. Catherine called me and told me what she was experiencing, and I was in denial. I told her everything would be OK, nothing was wrong. She had to be mistaken. We would go see the doctor on Monday and everything would be just fine. We went, and it wasn’t. We both remember vividly the room and the ultrasound and the pictures on the screen, with no hoof beats through the speakers like the last time we were there. Our reaction was pure heartbreak. We both cried right there in that little dark room. We cried during the meeting with the doctor. We cried on the way home, we cried and cried. I could not pray, I was angry. I processed through many emotions, angry at God for hurting my wife, angry at God for hurting me, angry at God for taking my baby. There was the denial again, and then kind of a false acceptance. It was better this way, maybe there was a bad problem that would have caused horrible issues later in the pregnancy. There was also jealously. Every time we went out anywhere, to church, to eat, to the mall, we would see families and were jealous of what they had and what we wanted but did not have. It was a monster load of grief, but it was thankfully very brief.
We called family on the way home from the doctor’s office and they were quick to come visit, to hug, to cry, to let us know they were there for us. Our Sunday School class wrapped their arms around us and lined out the door with frozen dinners to heat up when we were ready. God’s plan, which had been hidden in the fog of grief, became clearer as the fog lifted. Time was a healer, but the biggest thing that helped me overcome the loss was to understand maybe a little of the why, in a weird way. I came to grips with the understanding that our loss and grief process could possibly help others in the future who may find themselves in the same circumstance. As someone who had “been there”, I could minister to a family going through the same thing, in a way that someone who had not experienced it could not. I had no clue that in 4 years, I would be ministering to my own sister as she navigated the same loss. My personal experience with loss, in her eyes, allowed me to minister to her in a way that others could not. Finally, another healing factor was that 5 months after the D&C, we became pregnant again, and that resulted in our “rainbow baby”, our oldest son Patrick.
As far as people, the most impactful visitation and counsel that I remember was when my Senior Pastor and his wife came by and shared with us their own miscarriage story, and the grief began to fade. At the time I was not on staff, nor was I a deacon or even a Sunday school teacher, just a regular run-of-the-mill church member. But the day after it happened, he and his wife were right there at our house, talking with us, and standing hand-in-hand praying with us in our kitchen. The other person that is so marked in my memory is my brother-in-law. When he heard the news, he left work and drove break-neck to get to our house. He walked in, crying, went to my wife (his sister) and hugged her for the longest time and the tightest way ever. He didn’t say a word, just stood there hugging his sister. I will really never forget that picture of how much he loves his big sister, and he showed it that day. Words were not necessary, just his presence was such a gift from God.