I never realized how strong my wife was until December 28, 2010. We are a blessed couple, and have seen God work in amazing ways, but as a minister once told us, he often works his biggest miracles through other people. Each Christmas since 2010 I have looked at the holidays through a different lens, and try to appreciate all that I have been given in the midst of a blur of presents and a joyous yet hectic schedule.
On December 28, 2010, my wife and I had a miscarriage after almost 20 weeks of pregnancy. It was completely surprising, scary, and life changing. It’s something we’re told many couples go through, and each deals with it differently. If you are facing a loss of this sort, I want you to know God is with you, and he will see you through this challenging time [Psalm 37:5 and Ephesians 6:10]. At the time, we didn’t know what to expect, how to react, and felt disappointed and alone. In that trying time, God placed individuals in our life to help us put one foot in front of the other.
Before I go on, my wife has shared part of her thoughts from that day in hopes of removing uncertainty about the experience for those who are currently facing a miscarriage. Us not knowing what to expect was a difficult part of the loss, so we share these details in hopes that the truth of that painful day will help someone realize they are not alone:
As a husband, seeing your wife endure such a loss is confusing. If you see yourself as a problem solver, realizing time is part of God’s true healing power is humbling and frustrating at the same time. I have co workers who have gone through this sort of loss in stride, so I felt strangely embarrassed to be so upset. I was irritated that I couldn’t make my wife feel better, and wondered how this would impact our relationship. I also worried about explaining things to our kids, who by this time were anxiously awaiting their baby brother’s arrival. I didn’t want them to feel our pain, and yet knew it was something that couldn’t simply be glossed over. The fact that this wasn’t our first pregnancy made us have an even heavier heart for those who can’t have kids or were going through a loss while hoping to have their first child. That also made us feel less justified in our mourning, since we had so much to be thankful for in our present family, but for those families going through this with kids, please know that your loss is not any less significant.
I learned a few things that helped during this time, which we hope may help you as well:
1) Talk about it. This will not only help you realize others care, it empowers those around you to be able to help. If they are afraid to talk to you, letting them know it’s ok, helps you break free from the isolation you’re facing.
2) Don’t be afraid of your emotions, and what other’s think. You may be embarrassed for being upset, but know losing an unborn baby is a real loss, so you need to let the emotion out. You also will be on an emotional roller coaster, so don’t feel like you have to hold onto the pain, or hold back tears…your feelings are uniquely yours, so don’t let others tell you how to feel.
3) God cares about our emotional well being at all times. Regardless of what we’re going through, the creator of the universe cares about our feelings and will reach out to us if we will be still enough to see him at our side.
4) Make note of the blessings that bring you glimmers of hope during this dark time. We noticed God trying to lift us up during each minute of this trying time. From the humor of running into Jen’s former dr, to the people who were there at just the right time to support us, we were amazed at the little things that helped us through.
As I mentioned earlier, God worked through many people to help us out of this dark time. We were blessed to be surrounded by our loving family, which always helps us to look for joy in our daily lives. He brought a chaplain into our lives who had experienced a miscarriage earlier that year, and had amazing words to help us know that God cares. He also brought amazing drs and nurses into our life to be confident during the medical procedures. The entire staff at our doctor’s office reached out to us, showed us it was OK to be sad about losing our little Collin, and reassured us that things were going to be OK. Jen’s same dr and medical staff was with us to experience the eventual joy of pregnancy and delivery of our baby girl. One of the surprising things that has helped me grow as a father and a Christian, is our story has helped us to empathize and give hope to those around us who are going through similar times. God doesn’t wish things like this for our lives, but he does offer hope that “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” [Romans 8:28].
My wife set aside the following verses after the miscarriage, which we both meditated on, and I hope will bring you strength as you face life’s challenges:
Depend on the Lord. Trust him, and he will take care of you. [Psalm 37:5]
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his great power. [Ephesians 6:10]
Praise the Lord! thank the Lord because he is good. His love continues forever. [Psalm 106:1]
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength. [Deuteronomy 6:5]
Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy. [Philippians 4:4]
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. [Ephesians 4:2]