Coping through a Miscarriage

One of the hardest things in life is to live through a miscarriage. All of the joy, expectation, hope, attention on you and your family suddenly and dramatically turn into a nightmare that few could only dream about. Whether you are going through one, or are close to someone who is going through one, here are some tips to help you during this time.

Don’t!

Superimpose God’s Will on the situation saying something like: “God thought something wasn’t right” “God’s Timing is Perfect”

While sometimes a platitude like this might have an aspect of truth on it. It turns you into a judge and arbiter on why this tragic event happened to this couple. Also, making God the only actor is not a Christian idea. God allows free will, which allows tragic events to happen. Sometimes these can be attributed to something, sometimes they cannot. Making it God Vs. Them is not fair to them or God.

Say the Next One will be made More Precious because this one died, or that they already have kids.

This is called minimization. By doing this you take their grief and make it seem infinitesimal. They have hopes and dreams and aspirations for this child, and it cannot be supplanted by another child.

Compare

Been there, done that… War Stories might help in very small amounts, but to say you know what the person is going through without sitting with them and empathizing and allowing them to experience their own mix of emotions always comes across as disingenuous.

Offer Empty Hope

The couple will probably hear a million cliché’s each one worse than the previous and the next. Empty hope is not hope and it doesn’t do anything for the couple, even if you do feel better about yourself by being a beacon of hope. Mourn with those who Mourn.

Medicate to avoid pain

This is a painful experience, like all grief and bereavement, it cannot be medicated away. Whether through pharmaceuticals or business, activity, these emotions need to be worked through or they will come back stronger and stronger… Work through the here and now of your emotions, and allow them to run their course.

Give advice/Assign Blame

The best you can often do is sit and listen and respond to their felt needs. If they can find some strand of hope allow them to grasp it, don’t give them something they don’t want, and often can’t hear at that point in time. The more time you spend, the better off all will be. Likewise Assigning blame is also useless. It often is impossible to tell and it rarely solves problems.

DO!!!

Allow “Why” Questions

Help them and yourself develop a mindset that why questions will come up… But often, as in most tragedies their is not an answer to the “why” and learn to accept that you may never know why. It’s the hardest for our minds to wrap around, and futile to pursue the reasoning behind something… even if you did understand perfectly, it wouldn’t take the pain and loss away.

Allow Grief of both the Loss of the Child, but of all the hopes and dreams the child represented.

It is very difficult to lose a baby. There are many aspects of the loss to process, both of the child themselves, but also of all the hopes and dreams and expectations that come with having a child.

Name the child, memorialize the Child.

The loss is real, the more you can go through and process the grief, the better you will be. Having memorial and burial services may help you cope with the grief. It puts a name and a face of what you are going through and helps you deal with the reality of what is going on and helps others see the extent of your loss.

Acknowledge people want to be helpful, but are also very dumb.

Many people want to help. Many people want to say and do the right thing, yet they do not know how to help or what to say. So they will say whatever feels right. These things often will include “it wasn’t the right time,” “God has bigger plans,” “The next child you have will be more precious because of this one.” You will want to whack some people upside the head, and truth is, you might need to protect your loved one from some “caring people.” That is okay. Remember to keep the ones who love you close, but also keep healthy boundaries and attempt to see the heart behind the hurtful comments or actions.

Be there with the family.

Talk directly about the child, use the child’s given name. Allow grief. Being uncomfortable is the norm. You aren’t supposed to feel “right” about it. By being open to talk, you allow a space of healing around you and that family.

Allow Significant Time to Grieve

Everyone Grieves at their own pace.

Grieving takes longer than we think. This is one of those cases where grief will probably take longer than most other types of grief. By nature it is very complicated. Grief will happen both with the loss and after, but also during holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and milestones that the couple dreamed about during the pregnancy. *there are many to dream about*

Allow a Range of Emotions

There are no wrong emotions. Grieving couples/families will go through a range of emotions as they work through this process. It is not a linear process and may include seemingly unsightly emotions such as anger, regret, depression, sadness, relief, and so on. Allowing the expression of emotion is not necessarily condoning what is said, but allowing the space for them to exist and be expressed.

Finally, Recognize that bereavement counseling is a very strong option and does not mean you are weak or incapable of overcoming by yourself. It also doesn’t mean you don’t trust God enough. Everyone needs some extra help at different times in your life. Losing a child is one of the worst events in anyone’s life. It stands to realize that extra help may be the best alternative for you to work through everything that is happening.


4 Responses to Coping through a Miscarriage

  1. Brent Lacy says:

    Matt, I have been down this road personally in 2003, and you are right on.

    Another DO is Remember that this affects ‘dad’ too. You cannot understate this fact. Just because there is not physical effects, does not mean that there is emotional trauma here for him, too.

    Keep it up Matt!

    • mattmurphy79 says:

      THANKS BRENT!

      That is a great reminder. I’m pretty sure it was in my brainstorm… Sorry it didn’t get into the text of my blog (somehow 😉 Thanks for reading and following my blog!

  2. Eric says:

    Thanks Matt for sharing this. I wish this would have been written 4 years ago, as my wife had a miscarriage in February of 2008. It was one of the toughest things to go through. But what made it worse was that we didn’t have too much support from our church. We both felt very isolated and did not seek any professional counseling. We still feel the hurt at times.

    • mattmurphy79 says:

      Thanks for sharing Eric. Many don’t realize the amount of mourning that goes through this type of event. I know others who feel hurt, you’ll remember her birthday and do the mental math at those times she’s likely to graduate from different events, marraige, etc. So sorry for your loss, you’re in our prayers…

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