The day I found out I was expecting twins was the same day I found out they had both died. Later that same year, pregnant again and nervous, the doctor said the words every mother fears: “There’s no heartbeat.”
When the doctor left the room, my husband put his arms around me and I buried my face in my hands. I remember repeating the same words over and over:
Why is this happening?
And then came my husband’s honest, broken response:
I don’t know.
What followed were weeks and months of intense loneliness and confusion, which began the moment I was handed a faded printout of “how to manage your miscarriage” and sent out the door of the doctor’s office. I remember looking at that printout – that ugly, faded, probably-not-updated-since-the-90s printout – and understanding exactly how the world viewed pregnancy loss.
It was something to manage. Something to get over.
With the doctor’s words still ringing in my ears – “don’t worry, we’ll get you pregnant and keep you pregnant!” – I went home feeling like I shouldn’t be feeling at all.
The Truth About Pregnancy Loss
For women who know they’re pregnant, about 10-15 of 100 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I knew that statistic going into each of my pregnancies, but until it actually happened to me, it carried little meaning. If I’m honest, the casual communication of this number seemed to lessen its seriousness. If it’s common, it must not be that big of a deal. Right?
But once I entered, kicking and screaming, into the world of pregnancy loss, I discovered a heartbreaking truth: I am surrounded by grieving, broken mothers.
And yet we all, at some point in our journeys, feel completely and utterly alone.
The Voices of Mothers
The loneliness is deep and haunting. It’s a feeling of emptiness matched only by the emptiness of our wombs. Questions ricochet and echo around our minds like a shout into darkness.
What could I have done differently? Is it all my fault? Will this hurt forever?
We wrestle with guilt and anger and Why. We wonder if we’re the only one who has felt the loneliness, the sadness.
If you have stepped into the world of pregnancy loss, let me assure you that you are not alone. Everything you feel is normal.
There are no easy answers to the pain you feel. But one of the best gifts I can give you (and undoubtedly the best gift I’ve received since my losses) are the stories and experiences of other mothers. Mothers who, whether you realize it or not, are walking alongside you.
Nothing can undo your loss or your pain, but you can let other women speak truth into your life right now. When we are reminded that other women have walked through this too, we can each feel less alone.
I recently reached out to mothers on social media to ask about their personal stories and experiences. Below you’ll read the questions I asked and the responses of women who have walked through a season just like you.
What would you say to another woman who is walking through loss right now?
- I am so sorry for what you’re walking through right now.
- Your baby’s life was precious and valuable. I am so sorry you won’t get to meet him or her.
- It’s ok to feel all that you feel right now.
- I’m so sorry you’re going through this. My heart breaks for you. God is with you.
- This is hard. I know you’re hurting. I’m listening if you want to talk and I’m here if you don’t.
- Your loss was not your fault.
What surprised you most about your grief process following your loss?
- I wanted to grieve alone. I was angry because I thought my body failed me.
- After I thought I was done grieving, months later I would cry and feel it all over again.
- [It was hard] to watch other women getting pregnant and having babies.
- The loneliness. Even closest family and friends didn’t seem to give the proper weight to what I lost.
- How quickly it seemed I was supposed to get over it.
- Random, uncontrollable crying.
- How quickly it will hit me out of the blue – the smallest things bring out the sadness.
- How much it hurt even though I wasn’t far along.
What are some ways you grieved and/or honored your baby after loss?
- Journaling, painting
- I got a watercolor painting depicting Jesus holding our baby
- It was right before Christmas, so we put up a little stocking
- I got a tattoo to serve as a physical reminder
- We planted a tree and donated Bibles in her memory
- Made a baby book to put her ultrasound picture in
- Created a box to put the tests in and a letter to the baby
- Got a piece of jewelry in their honor
- Listened to worship music, allowed myself to cry and think about everything we would miss out on with these babies.
What do you wish others had done to better support you?
- Left their opinions to themselves, stop asking questions
- I wish they would have just listened and supported
- Checked in more than just day one
- Given me more time to process and be upset
- Used her name, said it out loud
- Not try to offer all the possible reasons why it happened
- I wish my husband had comforted me and been more present. He was silent.
What did you really appreciate from others after your loss?
- Simple acts of kindness
- Kind gestures – praying, calling, texting, bringing meals, just being there
- Bible verses for comfort to hold onto. Shared experience, too.Saying her name. Showing up. Checking on me. People who came and sat with me or entertained my daughter while I grieved.
- Loving words, hugs, meals, taking the loss seriously
- Inviting me over for dinner
- Parents watched kids while I grieve
- Kind notes or gifts with no expectation of anything in return
- When others cried. It validated my pain.
- Just hearing others say, “I’m so sorry.”
- When others just took the initiative to do something, rather than saying, “let me know if you need anything.”
How has grief changed you?
- Grief has made me stronger and closer to Christ. Closer to my husband.
- Pregnancy and raising my kids has a deeper meaning than before.
- It’s softened my heart, made me more compassionate, clinging closer to God every day
- I grieve with [other women] now.
- It’s opened my eyes to the hurts of other women. I feel better equipped to serve and love them.
- It’s made me realize that God owes me nothing. Every life is a gift, no matter how long or short.
- It’s made me cling to the hope of my faith more tightly.
A Road Toward Healing
We are in this together. Our loss is real and heart-wrenching. We grieve because we’ve loved. The losses cannot be undone, but I promise the wounds do begin to heal. Below are a few resources you may find helpful as you grieve. If you’d like to talk with someone, don’t hesitate to make a free appointment at The Pregnancy Network today.
- Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping you Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss, by Sarah Philpott. (We would love to gift you with a free copy of this devotional book. Contact us today if you are interested.)
- Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope After Miscarriage and Loss, by Adriel Booker
- Grief Changes You – Episode from The Empowered Advocate podcast
- The Pain of Pregnancy Loss – Episode from The Empowered Advocate Podcast
- Grief is a Gift: The Pain of Pregnancy Loss