Finding Hope through Pain
There are certain chapters of life that seem to define and refine our character more swiftly than others. Unfortunately, many of those chapters are uncomfortable and painful. We are left feeling significantly more exhausted rather than refined. This was definitely the case for me when it came to the “chapter” in my life I have so unfortunately labeled “surviving miscarriage.” A chapter labeled so because it was painful, and I don’t particularly enjoy reflecting on. But since my miscarriage,
many have come to me seeking help and encouragement as they struggle down the same road. And it is for these people that I reflect on my own story.
If you are reading this now, having recently suffered a miscarriage yourself, and you are looking for anything or anyone that can tell you something to help dull that relentless aching in your chest, my prayer for you is that the Lord will wrap his arms around you and use these words as a comfort – if only for a few moments. Don’t give up Sweet Mama.
I remember when I saw those two pink lines. In a split second, my whole world shifted. A new label had been stamped upon my heart as my identity as “MOM” was born. For as long as I could remember, I had dreamed of being a mother. I was never a career driven woman. Instead, the Lord had instilled the desire to be a wife and mother deep into every part of my being. And with those two little pink lines, I felt him handing me my dreams. In that tiny little studio apartment bathroom, my whole life changed.
In the following weeks, I basically floated on clouds. Anticipating and dreaming about life as “mommy.” Oh, I could just imagine the smell of his skin and the feel of his body in my arms. But as my pregnancy progressed, my cramping progressed as well. I tried to calm myself and remember that God was in control. ‘My mother had never had a miscarriage; none of my sisters had a miscarriage. I was being anxious for nothing.’ But in the back of my mind, these worries gnawed at my mind and filled me with dread.
It was a Saturday morning when I sat down on the toilet and noticed the little spot of blood. I frantically spent the day scouring the internet, calling my midwife, talking to Kyle, talking to my sister – hoping something would put me at ease. ‘A little bit of spotting early on in pregnancy can be normal and expected,’ I told myself. ‘I could only keep an eye on it and pray that it was nothing.’
Sunday morning came heavy and stressful. The amount of anxiety I felt made my chest feel as if someone was suffocating me. The bleeding was consistent and as I sat in the back of the church, I knew what was coming. And yet I still couldn’t accept it – the bleeding would go away, and tomorrow would be back to normal. My sweet Kyle suffered with me and I so vividly remember watching him at church – bible open but not really listening. His eyes closed as I know he silently prayed for the Lord to intervene. We spent Sunday afternoon in tears, internally trying to come to terms with what was to come.
I started having contractions around 9 on Sunday night. I sat in the bathroom and felt every one of those contractions like the swift painful blows they were. Nobody ever explained to me just how bad it would hurt – physically and emotionally. Through it all, Kyle stood by my side and held me until it was over.
In that tiny little studio apartment bathroom, my whole life changed.
Sleep evaded us for the rest of the night as we laid on the couch in silence. Our Christmas lights twinkled but there was no joy in the soft glow they tossed around the room.
We buried that sweet babe of ours in a little box that once held thank you cards. On that bitter cold Monday in December, Kyle dug a hole in the frozen ground. And as we buried our little baby, I buried pieces of my heart – with all the hopes and dreams it held.
The weeks that followed were hard. I spent much of my time in an incoherent haze, putting together puzzles and attempting to stay busy, simply avoiding the truth. But let me tell you something, it was in those moments that God spoke to my heart.
I didn’t necessarily feel close to Him, as the ache in my chest clouded everything, but I knew that He was near.
Looking back now I can’t quite peg the exact time I began to “feel better.” It seemed like ages until I felt even remotely normal again. But now I recognize everything the Lord did for me during that time. The encouragement and hope I so desperately needed, He poured out in different ways. HE gave me the strength to keep going. The array of emotions I felt were many. Through each question, each doubt, each worry and every tear, God gave me what I needed. Sometimes it was with a verse or a song. Other times with a letter from a friend or a random text message – and even through a lonely flower in a department store. The Lord knew what I needed, even if I felt like I was stumbling along the way.
If you are suffering this pain right now, I hope and pray you allow the Lord to speak to your heart right now.
- This is not your fault. Miscarriage is more common than you would believe (not that it makes it any easier of course) but don’t beat yourself with guilt. I repeat – THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. That donut you ate didn’t cause the miscarriage, the jog you went on didn’t do it, your stress didn’t cause it, you and your husband having sex didn’t cause it and that small glass of wine you drank before you realized you were pregnant didn’t cause it. Miscarriage happens and the cause is almost never because of something the mother did. Nothing you did caused your miscarriage and there’s nothing you could have done. This is not your fault. Don’t beat yourself up. You weren’t a bad mother!
- God loves you. He loves your baby. Even now God is watching over your baby. It’s a comfort for me personally to imagine Jesus holding and loving on my sweet babe.
There are certain times in life that make it hard to understand why God would allow something to hurt us. But the pain of this world was not God’s original intention. Genesis speaks of God creating the world and saying it is “supremely GOOD.” Without pain and suffering! This is not the way He wanted things to be. But the beauty of God’s promise to His children is that he vows to make all things new. The pain we endure in this world will pass away and God will restore what has been taken. (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:5) When the Lord comes back he will give back what was lost. Don’t forget that God sees the whole picture – this is hard to keep in mind and dwell on when you are in pain. But like a large tapestry the Lord is sewing, you are a couple stitches – important and with purpose, yet small in the scheme of things. And yet, together each stitch plays a role. We do not see the purpose as the stitch is sewn but our designer sees and knows. And He does not make mistakes. The Lord will fill you with joy you long for – even after a miscarriage – he will make things new. Although hard times come – he will “make all things work together for good for those who love him.” Romans 8:28
Rest in the knowledge that Jesus himself is watching over your baby.
- It will stop hurting and it will get better. One day, it will stop hurting and be less overwhelming. I promise that one day, joy WILL come in the morning! Give your pain and heart to God. Tell Him of your pain, your anger, and your hurt! Matthew 7:7 says “seek and you will find.” Only God can give you the answers and peace you desire. He alone understands your heart and suffering– for He himself gave his own son to die for us. Take up your cross with him. He will give you the strength and the courage. Every day you will heal a tiny bit more. As time goes on your wound will be more bearable. Now, sweet mama, this is important – when it doesn’t hurt as bad and you start to laugh and enjoy life again, do not be ashamed or feel guilty as though feeling happy again is a disgrace to your baby’s memory. Rest in the knowledge that Jesus himself is watching over your baby. Your sweet babe has been spared from the troubles of this world and is forever in eternity with the Lord – I promise he is happy and content as ever! Give that baby to Jesus, hold his memory close to your heart, but know that it is okay to be happy again. One day you will see your sweet babe in heaven. All will be made new.
- Do not be ashamed of your pain. There is absolutely nothing wrong with mourning your lost baby. Do not let others make you feel stupid for missing something you never truly had. Because that baby WAS REAL. As real as if he was right in front of you! Trust me, mama, I know!
From the moment you knew that baby was growing inside of you, you had begun to dream of a life with him. What his face would look like, the smell of his skin, the feel of his toes on your lips and his hand around your finger. You could almost imagine how it would feel to hear him call you “mommy.” You put all your heart and hopes and dreams into that baby. You could feel your body and heart changing and making room. I know you lost part of yourself, Mama. It’s okay to be upset. No, you didn’t carry to full term and then lose the baby. No, you didn’t experience life with that child to only lose it later, etc, etc. I know these are not the things you want to hear people say – yet say these things they will. I promise they aren’t intentionally trying to rub salt in an open wound. Sweet Mama, these comments do not mean your pain is not as genuine. Perhaps one day you will see the mercy in these truths, but for now, just pray and let it be. Take the time you need to mourn. Pray and pray some more. And then pick up the broken pieces and put them in the hands of Jesus. Let him put you back together again.
- You may have moments of jealous anger. There may be times that you see other women with newborns and women “about to pop” from full-term pregnancies and you will feel jealous and upset. “Why do they have their baby and I lost mine.” Then after you think these things, you will be filled with deep regret. Of course, we do not wish this pain on anyone else and we would never wish to trade places. It’s okay Momma! You are working through the agony you feel in your heart. Place that anger and pain and guilt at Jesus’ feet. He will wrap you in His arms and cover you with his wings. (Psalm 91:4)
Pick up the broken pieces and put them in the hands of Jesus. Let him put you back together again.
- The Lord knows what you want. Psalm 37:4 says He knows the desires of our hearts. Mama, God KNOWS what you long for in your heart. Whether it’s a baby or something else! Live your life for the lord and he will bless you – perhaps not in the way you think He will, but He knows what we need before we ask. Perhaps He has plans to give you a baby through natural means, or maybe he plans to use you through adoption – blessing a sweet soul who is praying for parents just as you are praying for a baby. Perhaps He is leading you towards IVF, surrogacy or something else entirely. Whatever it may be, lay your heart before the Lord and pray for the Lord’s direction. Ask what he would have for you and where He wishes to lead you.
- The Lord will use you. After my miscarriage, a friend of mine sent me a text of encouragement and told me that one day the Lord would use this experience and pain in my life and use it for His good. He would ask me to love and minister to others who have experienced the same thing. At that time, I didn’t ponder much on this comment as I was my heart was overwhelmed. But it’s amazing how much truth was in that statement. Since we lost our little one, the number of people the Lord has brought to me in pain and looking for strength has been crazy. The Lord uses each one of us in kind, and I know that one day the Lord will use you to minister to others as well. Encourage others you know suffering as you have. Be an empathetic ear and tell them how the Lord has delivered you! Allow God to use you even when it may be hard.
- Don’t be afraid to try again. After my miscarriage, I was actually more eager to try for a baby than I was in the first place! I wanted to know that I could get pregnant again and that I could make it stick. Yet thinking about being pregnant again was seriously terrifying. It’s so easy to let fear control our lives. Don’t let it! Lay your fears at Jesus’ feet and PRAY. There really is no other way. Yes, a miscarriage could happen again. Yes, maybe some other knowledge will come to the surface that causes more roadblocks on the way to motherhood. At this point I had to ask myself, do I TRULY believe that God is who He says he is? If it came down to the fact that I couldn’t have a baby myself, (one of my biggest “what if’s”) would I still believe and trust that God IS God and that He can (and will) make good out of dust? (Linda Dillow talks about this in her book excerpt “Trusting God with my What ifs and Whys” – I recommend reading it!) When you can answer that question with an honest yes… then what do we have to fear? In my biggest worries and with my biggest fears at my doorstep, will I lean on the Lord and know that He knows best? As he leads you, towards having another baby or something else, I promise you will not regret going forward on the path He has set out for you.
Many questions and fears will plague our hearts after we lose a baby, and these reminders are good to keep in your pocket, but if you are surviving miscarriage now, I realize that at this point it’s difficult to remember anything except bad memories. For now, I would say, just pray. Pray about everything and pray constantly. The Lord will fight this battle for you. Keep holding on Mama, God is not done with you yet! It will get better and maybe one day in the coming future, you will be holding your rainbow baby – thanking Jesus for the rainbow after the storm.
VERSES FOR SURVIVING MISCARRIAGE
“I will never leave you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5
“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge.” Psalm 91:4
“God has more in store for you than you can even imagine.” Ephesians 3:20
“She holds onto hope for He is forever faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:9
“I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name.” Isaiah 49:16
“Seek and you will find.” Matthew 7:7
“And when I wake up, you are still with me.” Psalm 139:18
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Call to me and I will answer.” Jeremiah 33:3
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6
Pregnancy after Miscarriage
When I became pregnant with Lillian, fear became one of my nearly constant companions. These were the verses I kept in my heart and head the whole time. I hope they encourage you if you find yourself in a similar situation.