This morning I sat with a friend as she wept over her miscarriage. If you’ve ever read any of my articles on miscarriage, you know I hate them. Like most people I hate death, particularly the death of children. I hate the unique kind of pain that results from a parent losing a child. I hate the death and pain of miscarriage in part because I have experienced their sting for myself. Counseling mothers through miscarriage is one of the hardest things I do. It brings back waves of memories and emotions. But for this very reason, it’s also one of my favorite things to do.
When I meet with mothers grieving a miscarried baby, it reminds me of how the gospel of Jesus intricately infiltrates and comforts our grief. I love that God’s Word deals with particular people with particular wounds. I love how Jesus leaves no pain unredeemed when offering his gospel to us. Even though the spectrum of pain experienced in miscarriage is broad and varied, I love that Jesus understands every individual’s suffering perfectly.
As I sat with this dear woman, watching her fresh grief bring well-deserved tears, there were 4 truths in which we both found great encouragement.
God understands your physical body even when you don’t.
After a miscarriage, after the labor and delivery of a baby, your body can feel like an out of control mystery. The hormones are regulating. Sometimes there’s breastmilk and lots of bleeding. You can’t know exactly what is going on inside your body, but God does. He created you. He formed you. He knit you together. And more than any doctor, nurse or friend, he knows the physiological response to pregnancies and any kind of birth. When God’s perfect creation gets introduced to the misery of the fallen world, only he can truly understand what went wrong. He knows what happened with your baby. And he knows what’s going on in your body, too.
Jesus chose to put on flesh for this very reason. Not to experience pregnancy (he didn’t), but so he could understand the weakness of the flesh. Jesus knows what it felt like to be physically exhausted and to go through unimaginable physical pain. The hormonal disturbance of miscarriage should and must point you to the grace of God, who gives you what you need during this time (Heb 4:16).
God is faithful in your grieving even when you’re not.
No one grieves perfectly, but God is still faithful when our faith fails. Following the devastation of miscarriage, some moms try to find their hope in answers from a doctor. Others by staying busy or distracted. Some moms seek hope through isolation. These roads never lead to fulfillment. I struggled with fear. Sometimes I struggled well and sometimes I failed. Any person grieving is going to be tempted towards sin. This is because we are by nature sinners (Eph 2), and because experiencing the Fall while on earth is not pleasant. When trials come, humans are tempted to sin. When we lash out, when we’re overcome by weeping and can’t care enough to read his Word, God is still faithful. His faithfulness doesn’t rely on our faithfulness. God keeps his promises even when his people don’t. This is incredible news for us when we flounder in our suffering.
Death deserves grief.
Grasping for comfort and peace and understanding, many miscarriage mourners try to rationalize death in a way that could unintentionally demean the very life they are grieving over. Grief can look really different from person to person. But grief over miscarriage is grief over a human soul. Loss of life is always worth grieving over because God is the author of life. Death is the wages of sin, the product of the Fall. To not grieve over death and it’s consequences would be wrong. Experiences of miscarriage will vary; the spectrum of short term miscarriages to a fully grown still born baby encompasses innumerable stories of tragedy and sorrow. Some stories sting deeper than others. But, death at any point during pregnancy is worth grieving over because it is a life that God intricately knit together in the mother’s womb. Because life is a miracle of God, death deserves grief regardless of the lifespan.
God overcame death through Jesus.
The best hope in our grief over miscarriage is that Jesus overcame death. The gospel admits to the Fall, the gospel admits to our desperate need for an answer to death, the gospel gives hope through the life of Jesus and the gospel displays redemption through the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus, the one who overcame death, who conquered it, now resides in heaven. This is why heaven holds our hope; Jesus is there. God gives parents what we need in order to grieve miscarriage with hope. He gives us Jesus.
No two miscarriages are the same and no parent’s grief matches another. But we do all have the same hope. The only hope there is to offer: God understands what our bodies are doing, God is faithful when we fail in our grief, God hates sin, and God will overcome death for all of eternity.