Miscarriage is not something I have personally experienced, but I watched my daughter as she lost her third pregnancy to miscarriage. Although she was not far along, she experienced a huge loss emotionally and physically. In our ministries with women, we need to be sensitive to the hurts associated with miscarriage and find effective ways to help women through this painful situation.
Issues to consider:
1. Pain she is feeling, physically and emotionally.
2. Guilt she may be experiencing thinking something she did or didn’t do caused the miscarriage.
3. Feeling of inadequacy to carry a child to term.
4. Fear of losing her husband if she can’t have a successful pregnancy. (Definitely not normally the case, but a fear she might have anyway).
5. Disappointment associated with this loss.
What to do:
1. Allow her to grieve. Whether she can have other children or not, whether she has other children already or not, this is a loss. Let her walk through the grieving process in her own way, but help her find a healthy way to grieve.
2. Focus on truth: God loves her and has a plan.
3. Start a support group. Allow women who have walked this journey to help someone who has just begun. One thing my daughter told me that helped her the most (and many said some really thoughtless things-see “what not to say below”) was a mom who had also experienced miscarriage. She knew just what to say to comfort my daughter.
4. Provide practical help: pick other children up from school, provide meals, wash clothes, run errands, accompany her to her doctor’s appointments.
What to say: (Adapted from ParentLife Magazine, April 2001)
· How can I pray for you?
· I am so sorry you lost your baby.
What not to say: (Adapted from ParentLife Magazine, April 2001)
· Everything will be fine. One day you will have a baby.
· At least you already have another child. My daughter had 2 other children, but the loss of this one was no less painful because of that.
· There must have been something wrong with this baby.
· You’ll get over it.
One mom said in seeking God through multiple miscarriages, that she clung to the thought that God would somehow use it for good…that there was purpose in her pain. She eventually began ministering to moms in prison by finding adoptive parents for babies they could not keep. It takes time to move from pain to ministry because of the painful experience, but God promises not to waste any of it! Let’s help women move through the journey with our love and hope in His loving purpose.
What are you doing to minister to women who have experienced miscarriage? Share your thoughts in the comments box.
See the recent live web cast on the topic of infertility, miscarriage and adoption: scroll down to June 8.
Check out these other helpful resources:
I Will Carry You, Angie Smith
I’ll Hold You in Heaven, Jack Hayford