Posts Tagged With: pregnancy

10 Things Not To Say To A Woman Who Has Miscarried

 

I have had miscarriages.

Five of them to be exact.

Each one of them was different. Special. Heartbreaking. Painful.

Losing the fifth one was no easier than losing the first.

I blamed myself. I had failed my babies. My body could not provide what they needed. It was my fault.

I was not able to provide another child to my husband. I had failed him.

I could not produce a brother or sister for the one child we did have. I had failed our son.

My heart was broken.

Both, the emotional and physical pain seemed unbearable.

And really, the only other person to go through this with me was my husband. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t want comfort from other people. I craved it very much. But after the first, I heard such hurtful things said by well-meaning people that I chose to not tell again. Here are a few of them:

  1. “At least your baby died now, before it was born.”  I didn’t want my baby to die at all and especially now. I wanted to feel it move in my belly. My husband wanted to lay his hand on me and feel him kick. Most of all, I wanted to hold him, to see what he looked like. Even if he had passed away after one month, I still would have gotten one month. I would know if my baby was a boy or girl. I would know what color of hair he had, how big his hands were, watch him yawn, and rock him to sleep. This comment is hurtful because I feel like this was the worst time to lose him. Some time is better than no time and I’m the only one who seems to understand that.
  2. “Something was wrong. That’s why your baby died.” What I will hear you say is “Something is wrong with you. That’s why you lost your baby.” I feel guilty enough. Please don’t compound that.
  3. “You are healthy. You can have more babies.” Here’s the problem, I don’t want another baby. I don’t even want to think about another baby. I want THIS baby. I am already in love with THIS baby.
  4. “At least it’s not a real loss.” What do you mean it’s not a “real loss”? It’s not “real” just because my baby never took a breath outside of the womb? I still don’t understand this one. There was a life there. A heart was beating and now it’s not. What is not “real” about that?
  5. “You can try again soon.” This is not the same as #3. The last thing I want to do right now is rush into another pregnancy. I need time to morn this loss and for my body to recover.
  6. “You’ve already got one.” Believe me, this is not comforting. My baby was an individual. It’s not about numbers anyhow. It’s about life.
  7. “It’s just a miscarriage.” No, it’s not. You’re not the one involved so you can be detached. I have known about my baby for some time and have already come to love it. I cannot just shrug it off and go on.
  8. “Don’t talk to So-and-So. She is newly pregnant.” What? Miscarriages are not contagious. Hearing about another woman’s miscarriage is not going to induce your own. But talking about it can open up space for women to discuss their fears. And, if anything were to happen, she would know she was not alone. There is another person out there who understands and is going through it too.
  9. “Be happy for others who are pregnant.” Someone very close to me was pregnant at the same time when I lost my first baby. A few different people reminded me to “Just be happy for them.” It felt very dismissive of my pain. I was incredibly happy for them. I took comfort knowing that in a few months I would still get to smell that new baby smell and count little baby toes.
  10. “So-and-So’s miscarriage was worse than yours.” I don’t remember entering a contest. But miscarriages are terrible. Period. End of story. I need to be able to grieve as I see fit and not worry about how it stacks up against the experience of others.

So what should you say or do?

While it is true that there is nothing you can say to make it better, just knowing you care is comforting. Give her a hug. Cry with her. Pray with her. Send her a card just to let her know that you support her. Be a friend.

The farthest I got with any of my miscarriages was 16 weeks. Other than my husband, my sister was the only other person who knew. When I suspected something was wrong, she drove me to the doctor’s office. She held my hand during the ultrasound. She cried with me when they confirmed there was no heartbeat. She sat on the bed with me and just held me as we sobbed together. There was nothing to say, nothing to do. But knowing that she was with me, supporting me, and loving me was exactly what I needed. I will NEVER forget the tenderness and gentleness she showed me on such a painful day.

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Categories: miscarriage | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Because She Needed To Know

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Because Christmas is in a few days and I spent last week discussing the miracles surrounding John the Baptist and his purpose in life, I want to take time to share some thoughts on another important figure surrounding the anticipated Messiah, Mary. This is the longest post I’ve ever made, but please, stay with me. I do think it’ll be worth your time.

Luke begins his gospel record with the story of two conception miracles…two women who by all human standards could never have children. The first story is about Elizabeth. Because I spent all of my last post discussing Zacharias, Elizabeth, and the miracle of John the Baptist, I am going to assume you have already read it. But if not, you can read it HERE. The second narrative is about a girl, Mary, a virgin, 13 years of age or so who became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of God creating life in her womb without a man involved at all.

They had both been chosen by God to be human instruments for the birth of two very, very unusual men…John the Baptist the greatest prophet who ever lived up until his time, and Jesus Christ, Son of Man, Son of God, Savior of the world.

We read the angel, Gabriel’s, announcement to Mary in Luke 1:26-33 and Mary’s response in verses 34-38. If you are not familiar with this story please take time to read it. This is the high point of redemptive history.

I am going to spend the remainder of this post in Luke 1:39-45.

“Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country to a city of Judah and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed be among women are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how has it happened to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what has been spoken to her by the Lord.'”

Elizabeth lived in the hill country of Judah, which would be around Jerusalem in southern Israel. Mary lived in Nazareth, a small town in Galilee, which is in northern Israel. They are separated by 75 or 80 miles. It would take her about three or four days to get there. Does it seem strange to you that an angel of the Lord brings such an announcement to Mary and the first thing she does is go visit Elizabeth? Why would she do that? 75 or 80 miles is a long way to travel. So I draw the conclusion that she definitely went with a purpose.

I, personally, think Mary went to see Elizabeth because she knew only Elizabeth would believe her. I mean, let’s try to put it in a normal context. Your 13-year-old daughter comes in and says, “I’m pregnant.” And you say, “What?” And she says, “An angel came to me and told me that I have been impregnated by God and I’m going to be the mother of the Savior of the world.”

Really?

It almost sounds like some kind of wild story that a teenager would make up. Frankly, there was only one woman on the earth who would believe Mary’s story. And it was Elizabeth. Only one place she could go and tell this tale. The text doesn’t say anything about what she may or may not have said to her family or to Joseph or anybody else. It just says she left to visit Elizabeth, the only person who would have any rational reason to believe that what she was saying was in fact true. Telling Elizabeth first made sense.

Then Elizabeth could be support for her when she told everybody else. Because Elizabeth was living, personal confirmation that God was doing conception miracles. You tell anybody else and they’re going to think Mary’s made up this preposterous story about Gabriel and being the mother of the Son of God. Nobody would believe that. But Elizabeth would believe it. And the parallels surrounding these two women’s conceptions were undeniable.

So, Mary and Elizabeth come together to provide support for Mary. But I believe there is also another reason, personal confirmation for Mary. It must have been a great moment for her when she was confirmed by the personal encounter with Elizabeth, that in fact God can do conception miracles. And what Gabriel said to Elizabeth came true, therefore what Gabriel said to Mary could be trusted. A tremendous confirmation.

She went in and a typical traditional greeting began to take place which would be hours of conversation. And my, they had a lot to talk about…an awful lot to talk about.

Then she told the wonderful story about the sequence of the conversation with Gabriel and went through the whole account as it had been recorded by Luke. The parallels would have been very wonderful for them to recount. And that was important to God so that there would be so many parallels it would be crystal clear that everything Mary heard sounded just like what Zacharias and Elizabeth heard. And since that which was promised to Elizabeth had come to pass, that which was promised to Mary would also come to pass. The patterns were identical.

Just seeing Elizabeth and understanding her condition as an old woman past child-bearing capacity, married to an old man in the same predicament would be the reality of the fact that God had done a miracle. And when you throw Gabriel into the mix and the conversation is almost identical, it’s a great confirmation.

So Mary goes to see Elizabeth for support and personal confirmation, but she also receives a physical confirmation. What was it?  Elizabeth tells us in verse 44, “As soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.”

Now the movement of an unborn baby is not uncommon. Any woman who has ever been pregnant understands that as the child grows in your womb, you feel the movements stronger and stronger. In fact, this is one of the great pleasures of child bearing. It’s an exhilarating and wonderful thing because it’s the prospect of life that’s indicated by that.

But I don’t think that’s coincidental here. After all, that little fetus is a prophet… not only is he a prophet, but he’s the greatest prophet that ever lived. Not only that, that little prophet is John the Baptist and his responsibility is to prepare the way for whom? THE MESSIAH! I believe this is his first announcement. It’s a silent but physical prophecy.

After all, why would God’s Holy Spirit fill that tiny unborn baby unless God’s Holy Spirit wanted to achieve something supernatural through him?  That little fetus in the womb was filled with the Holy Spirit because it was going to do something important for the purposes of God in a supernatural way.

Now John the Baptist was really a true prophet. If he couldn’t speak, he leaped. And that’s all he could do. But he jumped with divinely inspired delight. His mother had to speak under the inspiration of God to interpret it. That was not just the normal course of things, that was a word from God through the physical realm.

God literally gave physical confirmation to Mary through the movement of that child interpreted by Elizabeth.

Mary needs to know. Now she has personal confirmation that God does conception miracles and that what Gabriel says is true, that through the testimony of Elizabeth. Now she has physical confirmation that God can work in the womb because she sees a reaction in the womb that is interpreted to her as the movement of God’s Holy Spirit upon that fetus to produce the delight that produces the movement.

You know, Mary is a wonderful example for us. She was blessed not just because she was chosen to bear the Messiah. She was blessed not just because of what God did to her but because of how she responded. She was blessed because she believed. I see Mary as someone who is a model of faith. She believed there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord. And because she believed that, she pursued that, she went to see Elizabeth and she got all that confirmation.

Mary sets an example for us though, she shows us how believers should respond…when God speaks, you listen, you believe, you obey, then you burst forth, starting in verse 46, in worship. She’s a model believer. She heard, she believed, she obeyed, she worshiped. What else can we say? And blessed is anybody, whoever she be, or he be, who does that. She is a wonderful example. She heard the truth from God, she believed it, she obeyed it and she worshiped in response.

 

 

 

 

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